Graphic Novel Review: Athena: Goddess of Wisdom and War by Imogen and Isabel Greenberg

Athena: Goddess of Wisdom and War by Imogen and Isabel Greenberg. Amulet, 2021. 9781419748592. 91pp.

After opening with a short guide to the gods and goddesses appearing in the book, the story of Athena’s birth from Zeus’s head, with help from her brother Hephaestus’s hammer, is followed by her competition with Poseidon to see which god will sponsor the city that eventually becomes Athens. (Poseidon is a bit of a jerk.) There are just a few stories in the book, including Arachne; Paris, Helen, and the Trojan War; and the Odyssey. My favorite bit is probably in the retelling of Perseus and Medusa, when Perseus is pursued by the headless gorgon. It sounds more gruesome than it is — Isabel Greenberg’s illustrations work well with the brief, straightforward retellings to create a deadpan tone throughout. And the gods and goddesses always seem to be smirking! It’s fun.

Graphic Novelist extraordinaire Isabel Greenberg (The One Hundred Nights of Hero, The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, Glass Town) has teamed up with her sister Imogen Greenberg before on kids books about ancient civilizations. I’m ordering a few of those from the library while I wait for their next book about another great goddess.


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