Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ancient World (Greek Myths): Mythical Monsters Picture Book and Activities

Any study of Greek literature or mythology, needs a little background in mythical monsters.  Anne Rockwell’s The One-Eyed Giant and Other Monsters from Greek Myths introduces several monsters you will likely encounter in your study.   Some are from myths of the gods—Typhon, the Empusae, and Argos.  Others are from Homer’s The Odyssey—the Cyclops, the Sirens, Charybdis, and Scylla.   Still others are from stories of Greek heroes like Perseus who encounters the Graiae and Medusa, Theseus who defeats the Minotaur, and Hercules who battles Hydra and comes across Centaurs.   Each monster is depicted in a colorful, cartoon illustration along with a brief biography (1-2 pages of text) and connections to the heroes and divinities of Greek mythology. 

Evaluation:
The One-Eyed Giant and Other Monsters from Greek Myths could be used as a reference as a new mythical monster is encountered in a reading.   I read a couple biographies each day with my children to expose them to all the creatures before delving into the myths.  The simple, concise text makes this book accessible to students as young as 6 years old.  The book focuses primarily on connecting the monsters to the literature and myths that highlight them, but it also offers some additional information about their origins, descriptions, and/or personalities.  The back page provides a pronunciation guide which is a wonderful asset! 

Activities for The One-Eyed Giant and Other Monsters from Greek Myths:
Monster Handout —an overview of each monster biography
Who am I? —use as a quiz, activity, or oral review

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