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Book Puts Children in the Midst of 'Mythology'

The book features a "sample" of the Golden Fleece.
The book features a "sample" of the Golden Fleece.

If you have school-age children, chances are you've heard of the "Ology" books: Dragonology, Pirateology, Wizardology and Egyptology.

Designed to look like ancient tomes that have been discovered in dusty bookstores, the large books are full of illustrations and interactive elements, such as textured materials and pockets filled with letters and small "relics." Gems and other decorative items often adorn their covers.

Writer Dugald Steer and designer and paper engineer Nghiem Ta are the series' creators. Their latest collaboration is Mythology, which explores the myths, monsters and heroes of ancient Greece.

The book's many special features include a sample of the mythological Golden Fleece, a pop-up version of Pandora's Box and a quill pen and stationery for children's to write their friends "letters about their own adventures," Steer and Ta say.

The "Ology" series provides an old-fashioned, tactile experience in an Internet-oriented age.

"Of course, a child with access to a computer can obviously find plenty of information about the Greek myths on the Internet. We wanted to present it in a fun and interactive way," Steer says.

"They feel that they've got a facsimile of an old book, so they may be touching a piece of the Golden Fleece; they're feeling like Pandora did when Zeus told her not to open that box on any account. They know that they have not been able to resist opening that envelope, so why should they blame poor Pandora?" he says.

In conceptualizing the interactive elements of the book, Ta says her job is twofold: looking back to her own childhood, as well as being aware of children's interests today and what's already on the market for them. She keeps an eye out while shopping and often visits toy departments.

"It's great fun," Ta says.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.