Title of the work
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Stella Caldwell (as Selene Nicolaides), Gods, Heroes and Monsters: Discover the Wonders of the Ancient Greek Myths. London: Carlton Books Limited, 2016, 80 pp.
Instructional and educational work
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Author of the Entry:
Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Miriam Riverlea, University of New England, email@example.com
Lisa Maurice, Bar-Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Stella Caldwell [Selene Nicolaides] (Author)
Stella Caldwell is an editor of children’s books. She studied English literature at Edinburgh University, and taught English in the Czech Republic before returning to the UK. She project-managed Carlton Books’ children’s list, and has produced a range of children’s non-fiction titles exploring myth, fantasy, and adventure.
Profile at goodreads.com (accessed: February 18, 2019)
Bio prepared by Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, email@example.com
Sequels, Prequels and Spin-offs
A 2017 edition is published under the authorship of Stella Caldwell, and the word "Heroes" is removed from the title. Its cover features Poseidon.
Stella Caldwell, Gods and Monsters The Myths and Legends of the Ancient Worlds. London: Carlton Kids, 2017.
This book explains the core Greek myths. Its cover features a sepia-toned image of the Minotaur and Theseus. It has a frame narrative, in which "Selene Nicolaides," the daughter of a museum director, explains that she found a mysterious box belonging to her father, one which held objects of value from the Ancient Greeks, objects that had been smuggled out of Ancient Greece. Knowing they must be returned, she arranged for them to be sent to the Athens Museum; they appear in the pages of this book.
The contents of the book focus on different aspects of Ancient Greek’s mythology: Land of Gods and Heroes, provides a 6 page overview of the Greeks’ origins, history, warfare, golden age, religion and mythology, and a Map of Mythical Greece. In the Beginning, gives an overview of the creation myth, the war of the Gods and Titans, Typhon, the Birth of Mankind, and Pandora’s Box. The Mighty Gods, presents information about Zeus, Poseidon, Hades (including the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice), Gods of Love and War (i.e. Aphrodite and Ares), Apollo and Artemis, Harvest and Home (Demeter, Hestia, Hermes) Ancient Crafts (in which ancient pottery and jewellery show images of the gods), Nymphs and Spirits (including Pan, Circe, the Furies).
Monsters and Mythical Creatures, presents on one page the Centaurs, the Sphinx, Harpies and Sirens (grouped as "Half Man Half Beast") The Chimera and Pegasus share a page, as do Scylla and Charybdis. Dragons and Serpents includes the Hydra, and the Ismenian Dragon.
Heroes and Demigods opens with the 12 Labours of Hercules, then moves on to Theseus and The Minotaur. A double page spread is given to images of Weapons of War. Perseus and Medusa follow, then Jason and the Golden Fleece, then The War against Troy, which includes information about Helen, Achilles, and the Trojan Horse. The final story is that of the Adventures of Odysseus, which features the blinding of Polyphemus, the enchanted island of Circe, and the return home to Penelope.
This book gives a brisk overview of the major stories and myths of the Ancient Greeks, and is distinctive for its magnificent artwork, which combines splendid CGI imagery of different mythological figures—a giant Poseidon, commanding the waves; a brooding Minotaur, an airy Pegasus. Many beautifully photographed images of Greek artefacts and art give an authority to the book and place the myths in an historical context, emphasizing a hyper-realism supported by the CGI images and artwork. Line drawings of many of the gods appear on double-page spreads, surrounded by short texts summarising particular myths.
The framing story in which "Selene Nicolaides" writes about her father, "George Nicolaides," the museum curator, provides an interesting angle on the book—the return home of Greek artefacts makes a political point, explainable by the book’s production during the height of discussion in Britain about the possible return of the Elgin Marbles (housed in the British Museum), to Greece. It also masks the composite aspects of the book, which was project-managed by Stella Caldwell, and includes a team of art designers, researchers, and more.