A Gift from Zeus by Jeanne Steig

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Synopsis

Here are myths from Greeks and Romans,
With chimeras, curses, omens,
Strange seductions, gold abounding,
Transformations most astounding,
Sorceresses, swans, and mazes,
Goddesses with lethal gazes,
Flying horses-goodness gracious!
Snaky heads and bulls salacious,
Minotaurs and monsters strangled,
Passions kinkily entangled--
All herein--A Gift From Zeus
(which, by the way can cook your goose).

 

About Jeanne Steig

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Jeanne Steig is the author of several books of light verse and prose, including Alpha Beta Chowder; A Handful of Beans, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; and A Gift from Zeus: Sixteen Favorite Myths, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and a New York Times Notable Book. Ms. Steig is also a self-taught visual artist, working almost exclusively in street finds and other discarded materials. She lives with her husband, William Steig, in Boston, Massachusetts. William Steig was born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 14, 1907, and spent his childhood in the Bronx. Steig found an outlet for his talent by creating cartoons for the high school newspaper. After high school graduation, Steig spent two years at City College, three years at the National Academy, and five days at the Yale School of Fine Arts before dropping out. During his early days as a free-lance artist, he supplemented his income with work in advertising, although he intensely disliked it. He illustrated for the The New Yorker, beginning in 1930. During the 1940s, Steig's creativity found a more agreeable outlet when he began carving figurines in wood; his sculptures are on display as part of the collection in the historic home of Franklin D. Roosevelt in Hyde Park, New York, and in several museums in New England. In 1967, Bob Kraus, a fellow cartoonist at The New Yorker, was in the process of organizing Windmill Books, an imprint for Harper & Row. Kraus suggested that Steig try writing and illustrating a book for a young audience. The result was Steig's letter-puzzle book entitled C D B!, published in 1968. Roland the Minstrel Pig, was published the same year. With his very next title, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, he won the Caldecott Medal. The Amazing Bone was also a Caldecott Honor Book.In 1972, Steig published his first children's novel, Dominic, which won the Christopher Award. Abel's Island followed and was a Newberry Honor Book. William Steig died in October 3, 2003 in Boston Massachusettes.
 
Published June 1, 2001 by HarperCollins. 176 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Children's Books. Fiction

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With the illustrator adding an occasional spiky sketch featuring scantily clad nymphs or narrow-shouldered heroes, the author massages the classical plots with casually phrased dialogue and occasional light verse, such as this from the ravening Chimæra: “A tender maid for breakfast, / A toothsome...

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Publishers Weekly

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Kudos to the Steigs (A Handful of Beans), who employ colloquial prose, agile rhymes and art brut imagery to retell Greco-Roman myths.

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