Cover image for A first book of myths : myths and legends for the very young from around the world
A first book of myths : myths and legends for the very young from around the world
Hoffman, Mary, 1945-
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : DK Pub., 1999.
Physical Description:
48 pages : color illustrations ; 25 cm
Simplified retellings of Greek and Roman myths, including those about Icarus, the boy whose father made him wings, and King Midas, who had the golden touch.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.6 1.0 65282.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL725 .H63 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BL725 .H63 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Written by the author of the children's bestseller Amazing Grace, this collection of 14 well-known myths and legends from around the world is retold in a simple, lyrical style that is ideal for reading aloud. Amazing worlds full of gods and monsters, people transformed, kingdoms above the Earth and below the sea, and magical animals are brought to life with delightful pictures. Color illustrations.

Author Notes

Children's author and reviewer Mary Hoffman was born in 1945. She attended Newnham College to study English literature and University College London to study linguistics. She started writing in 1970 and has written about eighty children's books including the picture book Amazing Grace, the Stravaganza series, and the anti-war anthology Lines in the Sand. She is also the editor of the children's book review magazine Armadillo, which comes out four times a year.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2 An eclectic collection of 14 retellings with an introduction that describes the difference between myth and legend and gives a short explanation of why these ancient tales are relevant today. Classic Greek and Roman mythology are represented by the stories of Daedalus and Icarus, King Midas, Andromeda, and Romulus and Remus. A Coyote tale, an Aztec myth, and the story of the first corn come from the Americas. Also included are a Norse myth and stories from Australia, India, Egypt, Japan, and Africa. In some cases, the narratives are so brief that the message is not clearly stated. "The Fall of Icarus" ends with, "Then he realized the wings had failed and Icarus had fallen into the sea," without making clear the connection between his death and his failure to heed his father's warning. In most of the stories, the dialogue is appropriate to the tale, but when Remus says, "Hey, Romulus! It's going to be really easy to invade your city! So much for your defenses!," the modern tone is jarring. The familiar DK format of several small illustrations placed on a white background is less striking here in watercolor than in other titles where clear, color photographs are used. Since most similar collections aimed at the same audience include stories from only one culture, as in Aliki's The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus (HarperCollins, 1994), this inclusive volume may be a worthwhile addition. Ginny Gustin, Santa Monica Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.