After you have hooked your students into The Lightening Thief and Shadow Thieves series (both by Percy Williams), they are sure to want to know even more about the Greek and Roman gods. Fortunately, lon-time veteran Latin teacher Rose Williams also believes that the Greek and Roman dieties were anything but dull. Fans of her previous books Once Upon the Tiber and The Lighter Side of the Dark Ages will be thrilled to know that Rose's latest book, Gods and Other Odd Creatures, is now available.
Rose begins her book by asserting that "classical mythology should not be approached with . . . deadly seriousness." The Greeks and the Romans were not afraid to make a little fun of their dieities—and neither is Rose. Her scintillating wit and clever parlance enliven this survey of classical gods, temples, and festivals, Rose's wry observations convey the "amused and toleranmt attitude" that the ancients maintained toward their gods. At the same time, this book is jam-packed wiht information. Like Rose's other books, Gods and Other Odd Creatures is quite enjoyable to read, while covering some heavy-duty subject matter that could be deadly dull in less capable hands. This book can definitely be read for pleasure, but will also serve as a handy, introductory reference to the Greek and Roman divinities, religious life, and customs.
A unique feature of Gods and Other Odd Creatures is how Rose has organized it, so that students can compare the Greeks' twelve Olympians with the twelve Roman Di Consentes. Too often, perhaps, middle and high school students have the impression that the Greek and the Roman gods are exactly alike but called by different names. Rose carefully compares and contrasts them, never losing sight of the fact that these are the mythologies of two different cultures which appear identical at first glance, but need to be understood in the context of their own societies. Rose also follows this format in the subsequent sections dealing with temples and relligious festivals."
The Classical Outlook
Volume 85, Number 2 Winter 2008