Unusual journeys await young explorers in an introduction to select ancient Greek myths, legends, monsters, and sites that have been mapped onto a series of mazes.
Working on large folio spreads, Bajtlik concocts massive tangles of routes and passageways for viewers to tackle: There’s the Minotaur’s labyrinth, of course, but also intricate visual plotlines for the “Twelve Labors of Heracles,” the voyage of the Argo, the Trojan War, Odysseus’ journey home, and how Oedipus came to marry his mother. There are fanciful scenes too, such as a cross-section of fiery Mount Etna showing the forge of Hephaestus and a sea battle between Achaeans and Trojans. Mazes are present but peripheral in other scenes, such as an aerial view of the Acropolis, a “Bestiary” of 35 mythical creatures, and an overview of the ancient Olympics with 14 events identified. Tiny figures, nearly all light skinned and mostly in armor or filmy dress but occasionally naked, pose dramatically as if drawn directly from old murals and ceramics. Most bear identifying names or labels. Readers in search of less arduous versions can turn to the back, past a partial family tree of gods and heroes, to sanitized prose summaries and descriptions that (unlike the sometimes-graphic mazes) downplay the sex and violence. These summaries mention no sources but do include relevant expressions still in use, such as “Achilles’ heel” and “siren song.”
Tangled tales and knotty challenges for veteran maze runners. (Novelty. 7-10)