A children’s introduction to the great Macedonian heroes Philip and Alexander.
A long time ago in a far-away place, the Persians ruled the world, but the mighty state of Macedonia was well-regarded globally for their organizational skills, music and intricate styles of dancing, called oros. Life was told through these dances, and it’s through the oros that the reader meets Philip, the state’s young king (history knows him as Philip II). Later, the reader meets his son and successor, Alexander (known as Alexander the Great). There are four stories about each hero, with Philip’s section describing both the organization and triumph of his army (“The Power of the Oro”) and his sage wisdom (“The Mind Reigns”). Alexander’s tales pick up where his father’s leave off, demonstrating his growth into a wise general (“The First Battle”) and even wiser king (“Love Conquers All”). A love letter to his native country, Mitrev’s debut work is a beautiful vision of an ancient world. His regard for his birthplace is evident from his opening statement of the work until the last page. The reader can feel the author’s love for his country and his desire to bring the stories of his homeland to a new audience. The translation is well-done; the book’s original language is Macedonian, and the prose doesn’t have the choppy awkwardness that other works sometimes have when translated into English. The stories are simple enough for children to understand, with universal themes of empathy and strength, but they also offer a depth and sophistication that make them attractive to the grown-ups turning the pages. Beautifully detailed illustrations add gorgeous contrast and interest to the writing on the page, but color would have improved them further.
A thoughtful, notable introduction to Macedonian lore for both adults and children.