Christina Balit

LONGLIST REVIEW: Treasury of Norse Mythology

This book contains the tales of the Norse Gods and Goddesses, their lives, their loves and the world they lived in. From Creation through to Destruction, it brings their stories vividly to life. Alongside the stories are fact boxes which offer additional information about the historical or cultural context. 

The book is lavishly illustrated and puts the myths into their geographical setting. Each story is beautifully re-told, echoing the language of the original sagas and the afterword explains the inconsistencies the author came across when researching the myths and how she dealt with them.

For anyone about to teach about the Vikings, this book is an absolute gem. I am often asked what text could be used to support learning in this area and this would be one which I would recommend. There is so much work that could be based on these re-tellings, right across the curriculum. The fact boxes pick up on things in the stories which relate to things in the everyday life of the people and so could be used to start research in these areas. The story of 'Thor the Greedy', for example, links to 'The Norse Diet'.

Links to stories from other cultures can also be made- Loki, the Viking trickster, could be compared to characters like Brer Rabbit or Anansi. 

There are a wealth of writing opportunities which could come from looking at this lovely book or it could simply be used to introduce a new generation to Norse mythology.

Treasury of Norse Mythology: Stories of Intrigue, Trickery, Love and Revenge

by Donna Jo Napoli, illustrated by Christina Balit

National Geographic     ISBN: 978-1426320989


Adventures in Illustration! Part 3

Leaving Kings Cross, I made my way to Covent Garden where one of my favourite (non-book!) shops: The Moomin Shop!

Having spent a very pleasant (if hot!) time buying more things I don't really need, I made my way to Charing Cross Road. On the way, I found a few more of the BFG's Dream Jars.

Once at Foyles, I went to level 5 to see the Christina Balit exhibition which is inspired by mythological worlds.

Using a mix of watercolour, gouache, pencil and gold ink, Christina Balit has illustrated over 20 children’s books by hand. From Atlantis to Egypt, the Zodiac to Pompeii, her work brings life and colour to myths and legends from around the world.

The exhibition focused on twelve of her books and the original artwork from these. Each picture was beautiful and captured the scene perfectly. 

I love her paintings and was delighted to have the opportunity to admire each picture in the exhibition. Once home, I had to get out and re-read some of the books she has illustrated!

Having visited a few bookshops and tracked down a few more Dream Jars, I made my way home, having enjoyed my adventures in illustration!