Goddess Girls: Athena the Wise

Common Sense Media says

Greek goddesses go to high school in clever classic update.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Will certainly introduce readers to names like Zeus, Athena, Heracles, and more -- as well as some Greek myth. Readers already familiar with some of the habits of the gods will get more out of jokes, like the yambrosia stew the students eat at Mount Olympus Academy.

Positive messages

Athena thinks a lot about revenge and forgiveness in this book -- including how she should act when only her pride is wounded.

Positive role models

Not only has straight-A goddess girl Athena invented weaving and the olive, she is also a thoughtful girl who really tries to do what's right. Though she doesn't always control her own temper, she is able to convince hotheaded Heracles to take more creative/ less violent measures -- and ultimately finds herself able to forgive him for wounding her pride. 

Violence

Heracles is never without his club. He uses it to knock the heads of a Hydra (causing it to sprout more), may have used to it to kill a few "death-dealing birds of prey" -- and later threatens Hades with it. He also wears the cape of a lion he killed. Athena feels insulted by a mortal weaver and turns her into a spider.

Sex

Heracles tries to kiss Athena (and later she thinks she might ask Aphrodite for some pointers). They also hold hands.

Language

One instance of "butthead."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this fifth installment of the Goddess Girls series stars Athena, a teenage goddess at the Mount Olympus Academy. This book will certainly introduce readers to names like Zeus, Athena, Heracles, and more -- as well as some Greek myth. Readers already familiar with some of the habits of the gods will get more out of jokes, like the yambrosia stew the students eat -- or the name of their one-eyed Hero-ology teacher: Mr. Cyclops. There is a bit of low-level fantasy violence; Heracles is never without his club. He uses it to knock the heads of a Hydra (causing it to sprout more), may have used to it to kill a few "death-dealing birds of prey" -- and later threatens Hades with it. And there is a bit of flirting between the gods and goddesses -- Heracles even tries to kiss Athena. But Athena is a good role model who thinks a lot about revenge and forgiveness in this book -- including how she should act when only her pride is wounded. 

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

When Heracles transfers to Mouth Olympus Academy, Principal Zeus asks his straight-A daughter Athena to befriend the "hotheaded" mortal during a trial period at the school. But then Athena learns Heracles needs to complete 12 tasks in order to get a permanent place at the school -- and Athena soon finds herself helping him fight a many-headed hydra and clean out King Augeas's poop-filled stable. How much will Athena risk for the new heartthrob student -- especially when she has her own problems to deal with, including a rude mortal who challenges her to a weaving contest.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This book will resonate best with readers already somewhat familiar with the Greek gods and some of their myths. Knowing something about Athena, Heracles, and the 12 labors will make the story easier to follow -- and will make it easier to get some of the book's jokes (the students at Mount Olympus Academy eat yambrosia stew and have a one-eyed Hero-ology teacher named Mr. Cyclops, for example). Even so, even readers new to Greek mythology will get quite an education in this clever update -- though they may get a bit bored as Heracles works through his many tasks. Kids will find a spirited, strong heroine in Athena -- and a surprisingly thoughtful message as she struggles with revenge and forgiveness. In the end, this series has a clever premise and provides a good mix of educational and entertaining elements.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Greek myths. How much did you know about Zeus, Athena, or Heracles before you read this book? Parents may want to encourage their kids to check out D'Aulaires' Book Of Greek Myths and compare it to the stories here. Why have these characters and stories endured?

  • This is the fifth installment in a series about the gods and goddesses at Mount Olympus Academy. What's fun about reading a series? Why would authors want to write a series -- or publishers want to publish one?

Book details

Author:Joan Holub
Genre:Folklore
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Aladdin
Publication date:April 5, 2011
Number of pages:256
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12
Read aloud:8
Read alone:10

This review of Goddess Girls: Athena the Wise was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written byLawyermom May 4, 2012
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Normalizes bad behavior among peers

My daughter is addicted to this series and I thought, it can't be too bad for her to love books and learn about Greek mythology. After finding her in bed up late reading with a nightlight, I took the book and began reading it myself. It is disappointing in how caddy, manipulative, backstabbing, gossipy, and stereotyped (particularly for the girls) it is. They are very mean to each other and wield their power to reek havoc on others carelessly. I realize that is how the Greek Gods were depicted in any case from a historic perspective, but to see that behavior played out in a high school, very relateable setting, is disturbing. It smacks of bullying and harassment in a way that I would like to help my children learn is OK, not entertainment.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Kid, 12 years old September 11, 2011
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

A very fun book involving Greek mythology!

This book is not the best example of literature, but is a very fun story. Book 5 in the goddess girls series, this story deals with heavier concepts than the earlier books. Athena considers revenge a lot when a mortal insults her and her friends say that she should have punished that mortal. Instead Athena competes with that girl to prove who is the better weaver. Also, Athena deals with love and relationships when she is asked to help Heracles, and ends up "liking" him. Athena is a smart girl who is a good role model, as she knows she can forgive the many insults and injuries (some to her pride) that she receives, instead of just having to thoughtlessly punish everyone who gives her the tiniest insult. This book is a good introduction to some Greek myths, even if they aren't always perfectly accurate.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old February 11, 2013
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

I love this series!

I thought that this book was interesting in a fun, learning way. It tells the back story of many Greek legends in a way that is not too scary, but instead positive. I would highly recommend this book and series.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

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