October 13, 2014

Book Review: Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by Rick Riordan and Illustrations by John Rocco

Title: Percy Jackson's Greek Gods
Author: Rick Riordan
Illustrator: John Rocco

'A publisher in New York asked me to write down what I know about the Greek gods, and I was like, Can we do this anonymously? Because I don't need the Olympians mad at me again. But if it helps you to know your Greek gods, and survive an encounter with them if they ever show up in your face, then I guess writing all this down will be my good deed for the week.' So begins Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, in which the son of Poseidon adds his own magic--and sarcastic asides--to the classics. He explains how the world was created, then gives readers his personal take on a who's who of ancients, from Apollo to Zeus. Percy does not hold back. 'If you like horror shows, blood baths, lying, stealing, backstabbing, and cannibalism, then read on, because it definitely was a Golden Age for all that.' Dramatic full-color illustrations throughout by Caldecott Honoree John Rocco make this volume--a must for home, library, and classroom shelves--as stunning as it is entertaining.

I was thrilled when Disney Publishing offered me a copy of this book for review! Percy Jackson is huge at my house.  Not only is it my "go to" series to recommend to middle schoolers, it's LOVED by my 15 year old daughter.  She loves the series so much that the day the new Heroes of Olympus book came out, she made me take her to the store to get it.  So to have a chance to look at this book was fantastic!  As soon as it arrived - said daughter pretty much hugged it.  Then she disappeared with it.  I finally had to make her give it back, so I could write this review!

And what did I think?? Absolutely loved it! Great great book covering the stories of some the Greek gods and goddesses.  The best part - told in the voice of Percy!  Having him tell these stories give them a fresh fun feel that I don't remember being there any other time I've read or taught them.  And what's great is the real meat of the stories are still there. It isn't like they are drastically changed just to fit having Percy tell them. Actually they are quite long stories, so they weren't shortened or cheapened just to make them "fun". They really kept the stories but just with Percy making comments throughout.   When I go back into the classroom I WILL use these versions for times when I want to introduce the stories.  It will hook the students much easier than the boring ones in our textbook.  How could they not with titles like "Hestia Chooses Bachelor Number Zero" or "Ares, The Manly Man's Manly Man"? Super fun!!!

Now about those illustrations...They are gorgeous.  They add so much to each of the stories allowing the reader to really get an idea of how this all might have looked.  My daughter (after talking about how Percy's way of the telling the stories made her giggle), went on about the pictures.  What I really liked is that kept the more classical feel of the stories.  They could have gone the other way and followed Percy's goofy and casual tone, but they didn't.  They really look like they are part of a classical book of mythology, and I think that was the way to go.  I could see them really capturing students, general readers, adults....anyone!  Very well done.

Over-all it's a wonderful book that any Percy Jackson fan will want to add to their collection.  But I also see it as a great addition to teaching mythology in the classroom.


  1. Sounds like a great book and a fantastic one for teachers. I have to get back to this series.

  2. I love the Percy Jackson books. They are full of adventure and so much more. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of this! :D

  3. Sounds wonderful, I love how they seem to capture just what children want in these.

  4. I also got a review copy of this book that my grandson now owns. You covered this perfectly. I couldn't agree more. It should be widely read. It's just so much fun.