This month’s children’s book comes recommended by Maureen Palacios, owner of Once Upon a Time Bookstore in Montrose:
Young Zeus, by G. Brian Karas (Scholastic Press, Feb. 2010).
Greek myths are all the rage these days, what with the success of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians adventure series (and new movie) for kids ages 9 and up. And now even the younger picture-book set can snap out Greek gods and goddesses’s names with flair after reading G. Brian Karas’ retelling of the Zeus myth, Young Zeus. An oversize tale brought down to manageable size, this story of Zeus’s early childhood is accessible, relatable and told with gentle humor and a downplayed yuck factor (remember: his dad, Cronus, ate his children). Zeus is tired of playing solitary games on Crete and yearns for his brothers and sisters, fellow gods and goddesses Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades and Poseidon. His quest takes him into lands sprinkled with powerful forces eager to rid themselves of this young god. However, with the help of his mother, Rhea, weird but familiar monsters and some mighty powerful lightening bolts, he no longer is lonely and becomes ruler of heaven and earth. Through smartly stylized illustrations using pencil and gouache drawings, Karas enhances the scenes and storytelling — even with distorted perspectives. Visually engaging, this tale is good for inquisitive children ages 6 and older.