Review: Groovy Greeks by Terry Deary

  • Title: Groovy Greeks
  • Author: Terry Deary
  • Illustrator: Martin Brown
  • Genre: Non-Fiction, History, Children’s Books, Humour
  • First Published in 1995
  • Year of Publication of this Edition: 2011
  • Publisher: Scholastic Non-Fiction
  • Collection: Horrible Histories
  • Rating: 4/5 stars

Initially, I had another book review planned for today, but after watching the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea, an idea popped into my mind, so I choose Groovy Greeks instead.  If the title sounds familiar to some of you, it’s because I’ve mentioned it in my January Wrap-Up.

After finishing the amazing novel entitled The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, I longed for more ancient Greek-related books; therefore, I picked up Groovy Greeks by Terry Deary. As any Horrible Historie book written by this witty British author, Groovy Greeks comprises of an introduction, a timeline stretching from the Myceneans to the Roman Invasion and the ban of the Olympic Games, facts about gods, war, theatre and epic poems, Greek life in Athens and Sparta, superstitions, Greek inventions, Olympic Games, food, a surprising epilogue and other interesting information to learn about those smart chaps.

“There were two types of play. Serious ones where lots of people died miserably –they were called ‘tragedies’. Funny ones full of groovy jokes and rude bits –they were called ‘comedies’.” (Loc 195)

If you grew up reading Greek Myths or if you have been watching the Horrible Histories TV show, you may already know some of the facts about this fascinating civilisation, but for me, it was still a pleasant read, due to the author’s humour, the funny illustrations and the way they blend it with the information and stories from the book. For example, I didn’t know that Aristotle invented “the ‘camera obscura’ – a sort of pinhole camera and the idea behind today’s film and television –now that really was groovy!” (Loc 50) If you remember from school, history is full of wars, tyranny, violence treason, injustice, greed, revenge and you will find some examples in this book as well, from the sneaky way the Greeks manage to enter into Troy, to Socrates’ death.

[ Conclusion ]:

In short, Groovy Greeks is an informative and funny book I highly recommend to kids and adults alike.

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