Monday, September 15, 2014

Mini Myths: Play Nice, Hercules! and Be Patient, Pandora! by Joan Holub and Leslie Patricelli

A very Happy Book Birthday to these two adorable board books: Mini Myths: Be Patient, Pandora! and Mini Myths: Play Nice, Hercules! by Joan Holub and Leslie Patricelli! I have been waiting for what has seemed like forever to share these books with my readers.

First- a confession. At first, I was a little reluctant to review these books because I could not imagine how anyone could make Greek Mythology age-appropriate for a toddler. I was pleasantly surprised. My two-year-old has fallen head over heals in love with these books, so much so she has been sleeping with them at night.

The Mini Myths Board Books




Summary of the Book: 

Pandora knows she should listen to her mother. She knows she shouldn't touch the package sitting right there within her reach. But, she just cannot help herself. She isn't going to open it. Oh no! She is only going to do everything BUT open the package. Unfortunately, her impatience leads her to destroy the delectable cup cakes her mom has brought home. Pandora quickly learns the importance of patience, and more importantly, she is shown forgiveness by her mother.

 Summary of the Book:

Hercules has been warned by his dad to play nice. But, Hercules doesn't play nice. No, he is big and strong. He fights monsters and bad guys. He knocks down castles. Only catch is that the castle was actually built by his little sister, and now she is crying. Hercules learns to apologize to his sister and fix his mistake, a lesson that the Hercules from Greek Mythology also had to learn.


Our Review:

These two board books are absolutely captivating reads for toddlers. The brilliant balance between sparse words, dialogue, and colorful illustrations makes both of these books inviting and friendly, while at the same time teaching important lessons. It is obvious that the author and illustrator worked closely together to bring out each others' strengths. The pages alternate between concisely worded  text playing off of the illustration to pages with only illustrations. Because of this, the books beg for the reader to act out the naughty behavior of each character or the reactions of the other characters involved.

The end of each Mini Myth story contains a brief background of the Greek Myth.
Most likely thinking of how much fun it would be to knock down a block castle.
Each book also has a summary of the actual Greek Myth character from which the stories are based at the end of the book. I found this really useful because I hadn't read any Greek Mythology since elementary school, which was a long time ago. I especially liked how the blocks in Play Nice, Hercules! had images of each of the labors that Hercules had to face. Knocking those blocks over in the book was not only funny to my daughter but also symbolic.

These books make great lessons on manners and would be excellent in a preschool classroom. Children will be able to easily relate to the temptations of both Hercules and Pandora, which will make understanding the importance of being kind to your family and having patience interesting and straightforward.
Reading to her dog.
My 2 year old likes the Play Nice, Hercules! the best, while my seven year old informed me that Be Patient, Pandora! is better. This makes complete sense since my youngest is always knocking over blocks and other things and my oldest may need to work on her patience. I am looking forward to reading these with Little J as she grows to see how well she actually understands the lessons being taught. Since receiving these books from Ms. Joan Holub a couple months ago, we have read them more times than I can count. They have been read to the dog, stuff animals, and little doll house figurines. I can usually find them in bed with Little J because she carries them up there during nap time. She shouts, "Oh! No" every time Hercules knocks down the castle or Pandora makes the cup cakes go flying. These facts, so much more than the words I use in my review, prove that these books are great.
A rare picture of me reading to my youngest.
* I was given this book free-of-charge by the author in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.

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    1. Omigosh, these look adorable! I read the D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths with my 8-year-old some this summer, which is difficult enough. I wish I would have had these when my girls were younger!

      1. They are definitely a cute read for the youngest of fingers. I remember learning about Greek Myths around second grade and being just fascinated. Did she get into it?

    2. Oh those sound cute and hilarious!
      It sounds so funny to distill the stories down to such simple little morals, and yet, there's definitely the idea there within the stories. Presumably children exposed to mythology this way will also grow curious later and read a variety of other versions later.

      1. I hope it promotes them to get curious about mythology later on! I hadn't thought of that. I know the illustrations are perfectly suited for my ornery 2 year old.


    I would love to hear your thoughts.

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