Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The BEAUTIFUL STORIES OF LIFE by Cynthia Rylant

I pretty much buy anything new that Cynthia Rylant writes. She is one of my all-time favorite authors and she rarely, if ever, lets me down with her books. I had somehow missed THE BEAUTIFUL STORIE OF LIFE: SIX GREEK MYTHS, RETOLD by Rylant when it came out last year, but my friend, Jennifer, shared it with me. Maybe I did see it last year, but hadn't paid much attention to it. But this year, with so many kids reading the Percy Jackson series and wanting more to read connected to Greek Mythology, I was thrilled to see something on mythology by Rylant. I was also surprised--mythology didn't seem like something Rylant would take on. But the inside flap of the book says this:

The ancient Greek Myths
are among the oldest stories
in the world.

These are tales of love and loss,
pride and forgiveness,
courage and cowardice,
and hope.

They are the beautiful
stories of life.

Of course this type of book makes sense for Rylant. Her work is all about the beautiful stories of life.

I loved the Disney CINDERELLA that Rylant recently rewrote. Her language and view of the world makes her version my very favorite ever. She seem to do the same with the six Greek Myths that she retells in this new book.

The book is a small one and only 70 pages long. Each of the six stories is about 10-12 short pages long. These pages include great black and white illustrations by Carson Ellis. As we expect from Rylant, these stories are each retold in a way that only Rylant can do. Her great use of language and her deep understanding of the mythology and life in general, make for great storytelling.

These six myths--Pandora, Persephone, Orpheus, Pygmalion, Narcissus and Psyche would make great read alouds for middle school kids. And I can see many fans of Greek Mythology reading this book on his/her own. Each story is short enough to be read in one sitting. So much in each story. This is a great introduction to Greek Mythology and also a great way to stretch those kids who have become interested in mythology because of Percy Jackson.

1 comment:

  1. Uhoh, I think I'm heading to Amazon as soon as I've finished writing this comment! I too love Cynthia Rylant, although she's not terribly well known here in the UK - I only found out about her after a comment left on my blog. I can't wait to read this one for myself. Thankyou for highlighting it!

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