By George O’Connor
Paperback: 80 pages
Age Range: 9 and Up
Publisher: First Second, An Imprint of Roaring Book Press (January 2014)
What to expect: Greek Mythology, Vivid Illustrations, Powerful Emotions, Humorous Narrative
Graphic novels have taken the stacks by storm and have risen to become one of the most widely circulated categories of the children’s genres in libraries across the US. Over the last decade, librarians have been working hard to educate themselves on this relatively new genre and build up inventory in order to meet high demand. Even with all this fanfare, there is some resistance amongst the reading community about the place and value of graphic novels in mainstream children’s literacy. What these critics may have overlooked are the quality graphic novels available to readers, such as George O’Connor’s brilliant Olympians series.
The Olympians is a series based on Greek mythology that is captivating, and, more importantly for mythology fans, historically accurate. O’Connor tackles each god in succession in his series, which starts with, of course, Zeus, Athena, Hera, Hades and Poseidon. The newest addition to O’Connor’s Olympians series is Aphrodite: Goddess of Love.
Aphrodite: Goddess of Love begins with a dramatic retelling of Aphrodite’s creation from the love and power of Eros’ swirling froth in the sea. After her arrival, Zeus realizes that competition over the attention of formidable and beautiful Aphrodite could start another war among gods. Zeus quickly welcomes Aphrodite as his daughter and betroths her to his most unlikely son, Hephaistos. Unsatisfied and bored with her lonely life with Hephaistos, Aphrodite uses her power of love and attraction to stir up emotions in those around her and for herself as well. The drama that surrounds Aphrodite culminates with the birth of a son, whom she names Eros, and with a beauty competition, judged by Paris, Prince of Troy. The book ends with Paris choosing the clever and cunning Aphrodite (over Athena and Hera) as the most beautiful one, which undoubtedly leaves both gods and mortals disgruntled and choosing sides. In the end, the great Trojan War is foreshadowed for future installments of the series.
In Aphrodite: Goddess of Love, O’Connor has created an engaging format that facilitates learning about mythology. The masterful illustrations and humorous narrative are modern without comprising the adaption of the story. The frames are vivid in color and varied in size, inviting readers in and creating an easy flowing format. Aware that readers are most likely Greek mythology fans, O’Connor has also included several reference pages, including a very helpful and interesting Olympians family tree. Fans will read this book multiple times and will revel in the illustrations, historical details, and notes.
Aphrodite: Goddess of Love is a fantastic graphic novel that can be used as a fun and helpful resource in learning about mythology, for both voracious and reluctant readers.
If you enjoyed this book, you many also enjoy the previous books in O’Connor’s Olympians series:
Add this book to your collection: Olympians: Aphrodite: Goddess of Love, by George O’Connor