Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review; Mythological Creatures: A Classical Bestiary by Lynn Curlee

Mythological Creatures: A Classical Bestiary
by Lynn Curlee
Picture Book, Mythology
published: 2008
For: Once Upon a Time Challenge
3 of 5 stars


A guide or encyclopedia for the mythological creatures from ancient Greek mythology. Each spread has one page of illustration and one fairy length block of text. There are descriptions of the creatures and a story (or the story) in which that creature is involved.


I was struggling to fulfill the mythology category in my Once Upon a Time Challenge, having already checked 2 different books out of the library and not reading them. I discovered that while I was interested in Norse myths, that interest wasn't enough to keep me awake in the evenings while I tried to understand the cosmos according to Vikings. So while back in the myth section at the library I seized upon this picture book. Surely I could handle a picture book!

It also gave me the opportunity to show pictures of these creatures to my kids. Why? Well, they have been exposed to many of them through Fablehaven, Disney's Hercules, The Lightning Thief, and even the Narnia movie. I thought they would appreciate a better visual and little a history.

They did. At least the older ones did. The younger ones would start to squirm as we read through each wordy page. I had not realized it would contain some of the myths. I thought it would be more, "Here's this creature, ain't it ugly!" But the book actually contained quite of few details. It was fun interesting to read it out loud.

Here's my warning - it contains some of the mythology. Yes. I've said that uber times already. I'll now remind you that those myths are full of murder, man-eating things, adultery, jealousy, and married siblings. I don't normally blink at an eye at this, Greek mythology is what is it. But I saw it all from a different perspective while reading it cold out loud. Gack.

Thank heavens I can read quickly. We got through most of it with very few questions. The three-headed and half-man creatures detracted from the husband protecting his lover and the wife contracting out murder. Definitely for those older kids.

The pictures were simplistic and functional. They gave a clear depiction of each creature in all its weirdness. Not perhaps my favorite style, but "educational" nonetheless.


  1. I'm getting a book today at the library that I put on hold called Gods Behaving Badly that will fulfill the mythology category for me. Here's hoping I like it!

  2. It's a no go on my mythology book! I read two pages and decided it was giving me very bad vibes. So never mind on that idea! I'm back to my original plan and will read some Percy Jackson.

  3. Dang it! It sounded fun and I was looking forward to a review. Can you describe at all what the 'bad vibe' was from?