________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number . . . .February 17, 2017


Hard as Nails in Myths and Legends. (Hard as Nails in History Series).

Tracey Turner. Illustrated by Jamie Lenman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2015.
64 pp., pbk. & hc., $12.95 (pbk.), $23.96 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-1524-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-1520-7 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
Folklore-Biography-Juvenile literature.
Myth-Juvenile literature.
Superheroes-Juvenile literature.
Gods-Juvenile literature.
Mythology-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

**** /4



Beowulf, the nephew of the king of Sweden, lived in a time when monsters plagued the land and sea, causing death and destruction. While he was still a child, Beowulf battled sea monsters for five days and nights, and survived. So when he heard about a particularly vicious monster called Grendel that was bothering the king of Denmark, he volunteered to go fight it.

Grendel was part human, part animal, and part bird. He had a nasty habit of carrying off and eating a sleeping guest from the king’s hall every night.


Unlike Hard as Nails-Wars and Battles, the earlier book in the “Hard as Nails in History” series I reviewed, Hard as Nails in Myths and Legends is a book filled with characters children will recognize, including Heracles, Anansi, Thor, Robin Hood, and monsters from Greek mythology, such as the Cyclops. Each character is depicted as a cartoon character and rated on a scale of one to ten on various personality traits (i.e. courage, ruthlessness). Some of the drawings show monsters with sharp teeth and people holding weapons, but the drawings are not scary. They are slightly silly, and this matches the tone of the narration because the writing is humourous at times. Each section is two pages in length, and the biography of the person or monster reads like a dramatic story. “To slow down her father, who was in hot pursuit, she killed her little brother and dropped pieces of him over the side of the ship, so that her father would stop to pick up his body.” Men and women are shown, and the myths are global. There is Clever Coyote from Native American myths, Thugine (a rainbow serpent) from Australia, and Hua Mulan, a Chinese warrior. The back of this book doesn’t include a quiz like Hard as Nails in Wars and Battles did, but it does have a glossary, an index, and a small bibliography of books and websites. Near the beginning of the book, there is an activity children can do. They can look up the animal they were born under in Chinese years and read about their personality according to the animals in the Chinese Zodiac. I would suggest this book to readers who like the Rick Riordan series, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians”, “Heroes of Olympus”, or the “Kane Chronicles”.

Highly Recommended.

Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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