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A Pocket Dictionary of Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses

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A Pocket Dictionary of Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses
By Richard Woff. (Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum: 2003. 48 Pages, 55 color illustrations.) ISBN: 0-89236-706-7.

Reviewed by Herbert White - December 23, 2003

Ancient Greek and Roman mythology has enthralled readers for years. For young readers, however, it can get confusing trying to discern which gods and goddesses are Greek, and which are Roman. As well as whether or not a given deity is the same as its Greek or Roman counterpart, only with a different name. For example, Athena and Minerva are basically the same deities, with Athena being her Greek name, and Minerva her Roman name.

A Pocket Dictionary of Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses, by Richard Woff introduces young readers to the various Greek and Roman deities, and their various names. The entries in this petite, 48-page book are divided among six thematic sections: One page is devoted to each entry. The entries are headed by the name of the deity or creature being discussed, and when the deity in question has more than one name, the Greek name is given first followed by its Roman name. Most of the entries deal with only one entity. A few however, such as the one on the Fates, offers a concise, general description on the Fates, rather than treating each Fate individually.

Each entry provides a brief description of the entity, as well as additional details on such topics as their exploits or their role in the Greek or Roman pantheon. Each entry is decorated with annotated pictures of ancient artwork that depicts the entity being discussed.

This dictionary was written for young readers age 12 and up. The entries are not listed alphabetically. However, the text is prefaced by an alphabetical list of all the entities treated in this book. This is a superb book that serves as a fine introduction to Greek and Roman mythology for young readers. It will also prove useful as a reference guide for young readers who have recently started to study Greek and Roman mythology.

Related Reviews:

Greece! Rome! Monsters!, by John Harris and Illustrated by Calef Brown.
An energetic romp through Ancient Greek and Roman mythology written for young readers.

A Pocket Dictionary of Roman Emperors, by Paul Roberts.
A collection 27 brief, biographical sketches of a cross-section of Rome's Emperors. Written for children ages twelve and up.

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