Review: Mythologica

BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations

Title: Mythologica: An Encyclopedia of Gods, Monsters and Mortals from Ancient Greece (available here)

Author: Dr Stephen Kershaw

Illustrator: Victoria Topping

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Publication Date: September 2019


Ancient Greece is one of the most popular topics in primary classrooms and with a wealth of accompanying information books covering every imaginable angle, it is hard to imagine that there could be anything original to add to the classroom library.

Yet, the blurb of Mythologica promises ‘An illustrated encyclopedia of Greek mythology like no other’ and pleasingly it fully delivers on its claims. Impressive from the outset, this large-format, boldly-stylized hardback book is a visual feast exploring the details of 50 Greek gods, goddesses, mortals and monsters.

Each spread shows a new character, with poster-like images depicting the classical characters in a new light; vibrant, modern representations in an energetically layered collage style. Classics scholar Dr Stephen Kershaw provides a written description of each of the 50 characters, bringing out key characteristics, roles and relationships as well as a summary of the associated myths.

This is a show-stopping book that readers will enjoy dipping in and out of, whether to find information or to simply soak in the spectacular visuals. The text is most suitable for older pupils (with mentions of nakedness, illegitimate children and murder being peppered into the descriptions but never being too explicit) and some teachers of younger classes may also wish to use the book by selecting limited sections to present.

I shared this book with a group of teachers recently and the response was the same as my own, with the initial ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ that draw readers straight in giving way to an intrigued desire to keep turning the pages and fully absorb the mystery, passion and drama of Greek mythology that is uncovered in this fresh and energetic new volume.

Also features on:

Ancient Greek Topic Booklist


You can order Mythologica online or from your local bookshop or library.

Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book.

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