A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know Percy Jackson's Greek Gods is a hefty gift-size volume that profiles the 12 major Greek gods, as narrated by Percy Jackson from the bestselling series. It helps a little to read the Percy Jackson books first. Then readers will instantly connect with the narrator. They'll know why Percy prefers some gods over others and will get his sometimes sardonic, sometimes goofy sense of humor. Percy's wit helps smooth things over when the content gets more mature. Gods can behave very badly; they swallow their own children (who pop out eventually as fully formed gods), tear mortals and other gods apart (such as when Zeus gets his tendons ripped out), torture those who wrong them with outrageous eternal punishments (for starters, poor Prometheus is chained to a rock while an eagle pecks at his liver every day), get mortals to go crazy and kill their own families, and stalk mortals they want to romance (there's one mention of a sexual assault). They also cheat on their godly spouses a lot. Percy covers their exploits with phrases such as "get cuddly with" and "extremely naughty." With the chapter on Bacchus, the wine god, comes a humorous disclaimer about how kids should wait until they're 40 before they drink -- they won't like the hangovers. Besides providing a thorough study of the Greek myths, there are plenty of educational tidbits sprinkled throughout about word origins, why ancient Greeks and Romans wore laurel wreaths on their heads, and much more.
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What's the story?
After exploring how the Greeks thought the world began in a chapter entitled "The Beginning and Stuff," the Titans appear, followed by the Olympians, who rage a battle royale for dominance. Then each of the 12 major Greek gods gets his or her own chapter. Percy refuses to start with Zeus, claiming he has a big enough ego already, so he goes with the order in which the gods were born. Each chapter includes full-color illustrations and Percy's take on each god's origins, what they're most known for, and stories of them interacting with mortals, looking for love, and smiting those who wronged them.
Is it any good?
PERCY JACKSON'S GREEK GODS is thorough, easy to read, and high on entertainment value. Readers get to enjoy Percy's sardonic and somewhat goofy voice, and, as with all Percy books, the humor in the chapter titles alone draws you in. "Hermes Goes to Juvie" and "Ares, the Manly Man's Manly Man" are two greats.
The illustrations by John Rocco also are fabulous, especially the full-page ones in the gift-book size. This is not a book you get on iTunes or in paperback; spring for the hardcover.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what they learned and what they knew before, either by reading the Percy Jackson series or other books.
Big fans of the Percy books may even remember where they heard certain myths before. In which Percy book does Arachne show up? What about Nyx? The Fates?
What do you think about Percy Jackson as a narrator? How does he give some stories a modern twist? Is the book easier to read that way?
- Author: Rick Riordan
- Illustrator: John Rocco
- Genre: Folklore
- Topics: Fairy Tales, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Ocean Creatures
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
- Publication date: August 19, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 336
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 4, 2020
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