Title of the work
Country of the First Edition
Country/countries of popularity
First Edition Date
First Edition Details
Elena Paige, Taki and Toula Time Travelers Book 2: Athena Finds her Confidence, Angelos Publishing 2018, 33 pp.
Children (5-10 (primary school age))
We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.
Author of the Entry:
Ayelet Peer, Bar-Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Lisa Maurice, Bar-Ilan University, email@example.com
Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Josef Hill (Illustrator)
Elena Paige (Author)
From her website: “Elena Paige is a children's and teen author with a background in counselling psychology.” She has written numerous series for children; among them Taki and Toula Time Travelers, The Magicians, Evie Everyday Witch and more.
Official website (accessed: September 24, 2019)
Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar- Ilan University, email@example.com
In this time-traveling series first installment, two modern day Greek children from Crete, Toula (8 yr old girl) and Taki (6 yr old boy) find strange traditional Greek shoes called tsarouhia in their mother’s chest. They find out that wearing these shoes enable them to time-travel to ancient Greece (see here). In this book, they arrive at the time of the competition between Athena and Poseidon for the founding of a new city. They help Athena find her courage and win the competition against Poseidon through her gift of olives. At the end of the book there is brief information about the mythological contest between Athena and Poseidon.
In various time-traveling stories we encounter children from various countries who are transported back to ancient Greece (for example, in Stella Tarakson’s Hopeless Heroes series, reviewed in this survey). In this series, the author specifically chose two Greek children for this voyage. The time-traveling tool, the traditional shoe, also emphasizes the unique Greek setting. The story focuses on the adventures the children share in ancient Greece and there is no reference to their everyday lives or how they are changed by this experience.
In this story, the children find themselves in the midst of the competition for the naming of a new city, judged by King Cecrops. Poseidon is described as haughty and unpleasant while Athena is, rather uncharacteristically, described as scared and weak. The children help Athena believe in herself and her ability and even encourage her to use olives as her gift to the city. This is a very unusual description of one of the most powerful and intelligent goddesses of the Greek Pantheon. In this story, she appears completely lacking self-confidence and even cries a lot, despite the fact that there is no story in Greek mythology in which Athena actually cries.
The focus of the story is to empower the children who are helping the goddess and saving the day. However, the presentation of the male Poseidon as confident and arrogant and the female Athena as weak also raises questions. The author has a background in psychology and therefore she focuses on teamwork and building confidence, yet this dichotomy (which perhaps was not intended) between the strong male god and the seemingly weaker female goddess cast a poorer light on the Greek goddesses of mythology, as if they were not able to stand on their own.
As part of her the children- empowerment theme, the author deliberately changes the common conventions about Greek mythological heroes (Hercules, Athena) in order to put the focus on the children and emphasize the point that anyone can be a hero if they find their inner courage.
In the previous installment in the series the children helped Hercules, and there is clearly no tendency to make them help only female characters. However, making Athena as a weeping woman, in one of the most iconic stories about her, is an intriguing choice.