Athena: Goddess of Wisdom and War

Amulet. (Tales of Great Goddesses). Jun. 2021. 96p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781419748592.
Gr 3-5–Skipping the parts that may be less appropriate for younger audiences, the Greenberg sisters retell seven myths in which Athena played a significant role—beginning with Hephaestus smashing Zeus’s head with a hammer to let her out, ending with select adventures from the Odyssey. In between, readers see her taking time off to raise foundling demigod Erichthonius, raging after losing a weaving competition with Arachne, helpfully counseling Perseus against Medusa, and serving as a clever advocate for Odysseus. The all-caps narrative is written in informal language (“Oh wow. What an honor!” stammers “cowardly” Paris when tasked with awarding the golden apple) and inserted between or within large, stylized single scenes or grouped panels depicting modishly posed, sharp-featured figures in tunics or ankle-length shifts. Athena is tan-skinned, and the other gods and goddesses are portrayed with various hues. Though George O’Connor’s Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess presents her more forcefully and offers a more complete tally of her exploits, younger readers may find this uncomplicated version more consistently appealing, as she comes off as a strong-minded sort who makes mistakes but learns from them and stands forthrightly at the end in a goddess power trio with sister Aphrodite and proud stepmother Hera.
VERDICT A lighthearted, if sanitized, character portrait that will draw elementary grade fans of Marcia Williams’s ventures into classical history and mythology.

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