Mythology for Kids: D’Aulaires and The National Mythology Exam

Best Mythology Books for Kids

I am reposting on The National Mythology Exam because the Mom Friend who told me about this last year, also mentioned that NOW is the time to sign up if you are interested. DEADLINE IS TODAY!!  If your child wants to take the exam, you pay for shipping and handling ($15ish) and $3 per student and they send you a packet. My oldest wants to take the exam without studying for it, just for fun.  She really loves mythology and likes to quiz her younger sister on the gods and goddesses, so we will be sending away.  If you don’t pass the exam, it’s not a big deal.  If you do, you get a certificate. My daughter used Edith Hamilton’s books to learn about the Greek gods.

A Mom Friend told me about D’aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths.  Her oldest son went through a Greek Mythology phase so intense that it included creating an after-school class at a friends’ house to study for the National Mythology Exam.

My Mom Friend was lucky to find the D’aulaires books at a library sale and scooped them all up.  It provided the basis for their study.   I wasn’t familiar with D’aulaires’ so I’m grateful to my Mom Friend who actually checked the book out of our school library and had her daughter get the book home to me via a series of backpack transfers.  It’s a great series.  It is chock full of illustrations but also has detailed accounts of each story.  This is perfect for grades 3rd through 7th.

I told my oldest about this exam, and she’s excited to try to pass it.  The Mom Friend warned me that the exam is difficult and not all the kids passed the exam.  No matter!  It sounded like the kids all enjoyed having a common goal.

To buy any of the books listed, please click on image of book

Here’s information about The National Mythology Exam:

The most prominent undertaking of Excellence Through Classics is the National Mythology Exam. Since 1989, the exam has been offered to students in elementary, intermediate, and middle school grades three through nine. By far the majority of students taking the exam are middle school students.   The format of the exam is multiple choice and includes a thirty-question section on Greek and Roman mythology which is required for all students in grades five through nine.   Students in grade six through nine are also required to answer ten questions from at least one literary subtest. Their subtest choices are: the Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid, African Myths, Native American Myths, or Norse Myths.  The questions for each subtest based on an epic focus upon only one book of the epic each year.

Here’s a Sample Exam:

General Mythology Example Questions — (30 question general section
required for all students)


The Greek and Roman names which do NOT belong together are
a. Juno and Artemis **
b. Minerva and Athena
c. Vesta and Hestia
d. Mercury and Hermes

The item associated with Hades is
a.  a cap of invisibility **
b.  a trident
c.  an anvil
d.  a magic wand

Aphrodite is to Venus as Poseidon is to
a.  Vulcan
b.  Neptune **
c.  Pluto
d.  Jupiter

Arachne and Athena competed in a
a.  tug of war
b.  foot race
c.  weaving contest **
d.  beauty pageant

The god who ruled the Underworld was called
a.  Hades
b.  Pluto
c.  Both A and B **
d.  None of the above

One of the following statements is true.
a.  Uranus was Father Earth.
b.  Amaltheia cared for baby Hermes.
c.  There were twelve Titans. **
d.  Gaea was the wife of Cronus.

The ROMAN god who protected travelers and thieves was
a.  Ceres
b.  Mars
c.  Mercury **
d.  Vulcan

Poseidon was the Greek god of
a.  hunting
b.  the sea **
c.  merchants
d.  the hearth

Ares was an unpopular god because he
a.  caused tidal waves
b.  guided people down to Hades
c.  made the seasons change from summer to winter
d.  was vain and cruel **

Hephaestus was a skilled
a.  jeweler
b.  blacksmith
c.  weapon maker
d.  all of the above **

Sample questions for the second section, Myth Exam Theme (Atalanta)


Atalanta was raised in the wilderness by a
a.  hunter and his wife
b.  she-wolf
c.  shepherdess
d.  she-bear **

Atalanta and Melanion were transformed into lions because they
a.  cheated in the footrace
b.  refused to return the golden apples
c.  did not show the proper respect to Zeus **
d.  all of the above

Sample questions for the subtests #41-90.


The Iliad, Book XXI:  The following questions refer to the quote below.

“Do you not see what a man I am, how huge, how splendid and born of a great
father and the mother who bore me immortal?” (XXI: 108-109)

The speaker is
a.  Hektor
b.  Achilleus**
c.  Patroklos
d.  Lykaon

The “mother” referred to is
a.  Venus
b.  Hekabe
c.  Thetis **
d.  Pasithea

The Odyssey, Book XXIV

A Greek whom the suitors did NOT meet in the Underworld was
a.  Akhilleus
b.  Laertes **
c.  Agamemnon
d.  Patroklos

When Odysseus first saw his father in the orchard,
a.  he ran forward and kissed him
b.  he sent his companion ahead with a gift of gold
c.  he decided to interrogate him **
d.  he immediately began to tell him of his adventures

The Aeneid, Book XI:  The following question refers to the quote below.

“Was it you, poor boy, that Fortune
Would not let me keep when she came smiling?”  (XI: 56-57)

Aeneas was speaking about
a.  Turnus
b.  Evander
c.  Pallas **
d.  Iulus

On her shoulder Camilla carried
a.  a golden bow, Diana’s weapon **
b.  an owl, Minerva’s wisdom
c.  a cape, Mercury’s deceit
d.  a bronze ax, Vulcan’s strength

Native American Myths


In The Woman and the Giant, Kinak is exceedingly
a.  kind **
b.  honest
c.  patient
d.  handsome

At the end of Hare and Otter, Hare
a.  learns his lesson
b.  decides eels were not worth the work
c.  defeats Otter and keeps his eels **
d.  all of the above

African Myths


In The Invisible God, Motsesa woke in her new home and discovered that
a.  all of the gifts for Bulane had vanished
b.  food appeared whenever she was hungry **
c.  she was covered in dust
d.  calabashes full of water surrounded her

In The Bride and the Monster, the Moselantja’s most surprising feature was
a.  crab claws where hands and feet should have been
b.  a long tail with a mouth at the end **
c.  a pumpkin vine that grew from his belly
d.  a pair of beautiful blue eyes

To buy any of the books listed, please click on image of book

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. I have my D’Aulaire book that I got as a gift when I was six or seven years old. 40+ years later, it still looks gorgeous and isn’t falling apart either. I don’t think we’ll be able to say the same for the books we purchase today. I was happy to share my D’Aulaire book with my own kids–those myths don’t get old, as we see with the huge popularity of the Percy Jackson series now.

    • To Fourth Musketeer,
      I didn’t realize that D’Aulaire Mythology books were that old…it’s amazing but still so relevant today! My daughter loves them and I wish I had a copy to give to her from my childhood. I was an Edith Hamilton girl! I am so glad to see the next generation loving mythology too! It keeps it alive!

  2. Ticia

    There’s a national mythology test! Wow, that’s cool.
    Ticia recently posted…How to not break your budget at a homeschool conventionMy Profile

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge