The Labyrinth

Selected Greek Myths for Reading and Remaking

Children - Educational
61 Pages
Reviewed on 05/03/2016
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Author Biography

Ada Masquen is a child psychologist, a university professor and a psychotherapist. This is her story of how and why she wrote The Labyrinth:

“The initial idea for writing this book occurred to me at the top of a hill right next to the Acropolis in Athens. As my six-year-old son and I were slowly walking up the hill I was telling him parts of the mythological stories related to Athens. When we finally reached the top, marveling at the view of the adjacent Acropolis, I decided it was the right moment to tell him the story of how the city of Athens got its name. (You will find the story in this book, but in short, the goddess Athena won this honor over Poseidon by giving the people of the city a gift that was more useful).

Having heard about the gifts the gods presented, my son, sitting on a rock and finally resting his tired little feet, exclaimed: ‘Had they asked me, I would have given them a cable car!’

This was when I realized that mythology could be more than a valuable source of knowledge about our cultural heritage: it can be told in a way that relates to the child’s own experience. I wrote The Labyrinth believing that such a book would give children an exciting, participatory reading experience, enhancing imagination as well as problem-solving skills."

    Book Review

Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite

The Labyrinth: Selected Greek Myths for Reading and Remaking by Ada Masquen comprises twenty of the most familiar mythological stories, such as The Trojan Horse intriguingly re-titled The Ominous Gift, but they are only half told. The book is targeted at children between the ages of eight and twelve, who are less likely to know the ancient tales than their parents or teachers. The young readers are invited to end the stories, or “close the gap,” using their imaginations to decide what might have happened. They can then compare their ideas to the originals provided in part two of the book. As a child psychologist, university professor, and psychotherapist, Ms Masquen is highly qualified to write a book intended to stimulate children’s minds.

Ada Masquen has chosen many of my own favourites from the Greek myths that I remember being taught, and it was a delight to study them. I wish my teachers had had copies of The Labyrinth: Selected Greek Myths for Reading and Remaking; it had never occurred to me to wonder if they might have ended in a different way. Ms Masquen has gone much further than encouraging children to think how a story may have ended, or an object be achieved; she suggests illustrating stories, and even includes tips to impress parents! There’s a lovely one for a child on holiday in Greece taken to swim in the Aegean, with a warning to be sure that it isn’t the Ionian Sea. Achilles’ Heel is told in full, but this time children are invited to think why Achilles, who was strong, and brutal, had one weak point: his heel. None of the suggested exercises could be done quickly, and might well initiate class discussion: a clever educational book, ideal for use in schools.