Young Zeus by G. Brian Karas- Appositives and Picture Books

Last week while planning my lesson on appositives, I knew I wanted to use a picture book to show my students how often writers use appositives.  And because I have  practicum teacher who would be teaching the lesson in one class I wanted to make sure the lesson was fairly straight forward.  I looked through a bunch of picture books and was thrilled when I saw that Young Zeus by G. Brian Karas was chockfull of appositives!  Even better?  My students are currently obsessed with Greek mythology, thanks to Rick Riordan’s books.  Young Zeus seemed like the perfect match for the lesson.

The back of the book says:

This is the story of how young Zeus, with a little help from six monsters, five Greek gods, an enchanted she-goat, and his mother, became god of gods, master of lightning and thunder, and ruler over all. in doing so, he learned a lot about family. Who knew that having relatives could be so complicated, even for a god?

Zeus is a young god in the story, being raised by the she-goat Amalthea.  When he learns the truth about his father, Cronus, he is determined to rescue his brothers and sisters.  That way, he will have someone to play with.  What child (or god) doesn’t long for the perfect playmate? A fantastic introduction to Greek mythology, kids will love this one.  Teachers will love it even more for it’s well-written prose.  The artwork is also gorgeous.

Plus, it uses tons of appositives!  A great way to show students the many ways appositives are used by “real” authors.  By the middle of the book, students were raising their hands to point out appositives as we read.  They also drafted their own sentences about the gods and goddesses, using appositives, after we finished reading the story.

*Review copy courtesy of the publisher

Oh. My. Gods by Tera Lynn Childs

Our current class read-aloud is Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1). Always a big hit because of the adventure and “regular kid” protagonist, I am constantly on the lookout for similar books. And this year, my class has taken a special liking to Greek mythology and has been seeking it out on their own. When I read a recent blog review of Tera Lynn Childs’ Oh. My. Gods. I added to my next book order. The synopsis sounded like it might be a match for some of my girls who are enjoying Riordan’s work but also looking for something with a little more romance and girl power involved.  Tera Lynn Childs’ series fits the bill!

When Phoebe’s mother comes home from a vacation and announces that she is engaged to a Greek man and that they will be moving to Greece, Phoebe’s world is turned upside-down.  Before that moment, her entire life was planned out- she would earn a track scholarship to USC and attend with her two best friends.  Just like they have been planning since junior high.  Instead, Phoebe is suddenly whisked away to an island off the coast of Greece where she will be forced to exist for the next nine months.  Starting a new school in her senior year might just be the worst thing to ever happen to her.  Except for the fact that she is also stuck on a random Greek island, halfway across the world from everyone and everything normal in her life.

Stranded on some secret island in the middle Aegean Sea, she is forced to attend the super-exclusive (aka super-snobby) Academy, where her new stepfather is the headmaster.  Oh, and the kids who go to the school are a little different than her classmates back in southern California.  They just happen to be the descendants of the Greek gods. Yeah, those Greek gods.   Suddenly, her rock-solid plan of maintaining a B average, continuing her running/training, and getting the heck off this island in 9 months seems almost impossible.  Not to mention the fact that she now has to contend with an evil stepsister, who has superpowers, and the Grecian god she has a crush on, who just might be the biggest jerk in school.  

I loved this book and can’t wait to read the sequel, Goddess Boot Camp (Oh.My. Gods). The Greek mythology that is incorporated into the story includes minor gods and goddesses and not just the twelve Olympians that are focused on in Riordan’s series. I loved the mentions of Plato, Aristotle, and other famous ancient Greeks, too. My students are going to love the unrequited love story and the hunky guy Phoebe develops a crush on. This will make a great beach read for a lot of them this summer and I look forward to passing it on to them!