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A Classical Bestiary

by Lynn Curlee & illustrated by Lynn Curlee

Pub Date: March 4th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4169-1453-2
Publisher: Atheneum

This is not so much a “bestiary” as a diverse gallery of figures from Greek mythology that are particularly suited to Curlee’s distinctive, neoclassical style of illustration. He chooses 16 subjects, ranging from gryphons and centaurs to Pan, Argus (depicted weirdly as a man with eyes all over his body), Poseidon’s fish-tailed son Triton and Talus, the bronze giant that guarded Crete. Aside from several notable exceptions like the gaping, gory head of Medusa, which stares stonily up from the page and will likely give many viewers the willies, all are posed in heroic profile and strongly, solidly modeled. The text facing each full-page portrait supplies physical descriptions, as well as abbreviated but clear versions of relevant myths. Curlee wraps the contents in a context-setting Prologue and Epilogue, so the entire volume not only provides an engrossing visual experience, but serves up a coherent early introduction to the range and purposes of these ancient tales. (Folklore. 8-10)