Last year, at our school, we had the wonderful illustrator and writer Mordicai Gerstein come in and work with kids around creating picture books. While he was here, he donated a few books for the library, and then the librarian in turn passed one of them along to me. It is called I Am Arachne, and Gerstein is the illustrator (and the writer is Elizabeth Spires). As part of my March Book Madness, I thought I would share some impressions of this collection of short stories inspired by Greek and Roman myths.
Told entirely in first person narrative, the stories here are a retelling of very famous myths and some not-so-famous myths. I did like that Spires began with the story of Arachne and Athena, and then used her very poetic touches to have Arachne begin to spin the stories for us. Spires must have some background as a poet because there are lovely sentences and passages here that really capture the characters in these tales. Long after you read the stories, you might still hear the voices of the narrators.
The 15 stories are short, but move along at a brisk pace, and this book would be a nice companion for a unit around Greek or Roman mythology (which is why the librarian passed it along to me.). Gerstein’s sketch illustrations are a nice complement to the stories, too. They are by nature, whimsical, and capture the mood of the stories.
Peace (in the myths),