Loukas and the Game of Chance by Anthony L. Manna Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A flute player who finds good fortune from a dancing snake finds his greek overpowering him, and must trek on a journey to find his good fortune after losing everything in author Anthony L. Manna’s “Loukas and the Game of Chance”.

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The Synopsis

While Loukas is playing his flute at the seawall one day, he befriends a mysterious talking, dancing snake that rewards him with fortune and favor. Some years later, tempted by greed and pride, Loukas loses all his riches and his family. He must now set off on a treacherous journey through a frightening forest filled with suspense and strange creatures to find Destiny, her son Ilion, the Sun, and her daughter Luna, the Moon. These celestial guardians will surely allow him to reverse his misfortune, restore his honor, and win back all that he loves and treasures, won’t they? A reimagined Greek folktale, Loukas and the Game of Chance is illuminated with dramatic and evocative pen and ink drawings that provide an ideal backdrop for the dark intrigue that fills this haunting story of human struggle, courage, and resilience. 

The Review

This was a profound and captivating reimagining of Greek folklore. The author does an amazing job of writing in a way that vividly paints an image of the story to life through engaging imagery and a fantastical atmosphere. The adventurous and hero’s journey elements of the narrative immediately jump off the page, and the mythical tone of the author’s writing brings readers into the magical frame of mind.

The beautiful story that the author tells early on between Loukas and the snake when combined with the themes of love, loss, and the power of kindness over greed made this a truly thrilling story to behold. The way the author is able to relate this story to young readers and still maintain the magic and wonder that has resonated with all readers throughout the time that other fables and folktales have done time and time again was amazing to see come to fruition.

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, entertaining, and mesmerizing, author Anthony L. Manna’s “Loukas and the Game of Chance” is a must-read folktale and children’s Greek and Roman Myth story. The wonder and atmosphere the author infuses into this narrative and the rich character development made this a short yet powerful read that young and older readers alike won’t be able to put down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

ANTHONY L. MANNA, Ph.D., is a retired professor from the Department of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies and the English Department at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, where he taught Children’s Literature, Young Adult Literature, Writing, and Educational Drama and served as one of the co-directors of Kent State’s National Writing Project (sponsored by UC/Berkeley).

A New Jersey native, he received his doctorate from the University of Iowa, Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University (high honors), and his B. A. from Seton Hall University (with honors). He has taught on nearly every grade level, from preschool to graduate school, and has held positions at the American College in Istanbul, Turkey, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, the University of Maine (Farmington), and the Center for Literature and Medicine (Hiram College/Northeast Ohio College of Medicine), where he received a fellowship to research the intersection of the arts and the practice of medicine and healing.

He is the recipient of Kent State University’s Distinguished Teaching Award, Kent State’s Student Choice Award, and the Arbuthnot Award from the International Reading Association for outstanding university teaching.

Manna is a former member of the executive board of the Children’s Literature Association, former Director of Publications for the Association, and former editor of various columns in the Children’s Literature Association Quarterly.

He is co-author of Children’s Literature for Health Awareness and co-editor of Many Faces, Many Voices: Multicultural Literary Experiences for Youth and Art and Story: The Role of Illustration in Multicultural Literature for Youth. He has published numerous articles, book reviews, and book chapters on literature, drama, and teaching both in the U.S.A. and abroad.

The children’s picture book he co-authored with Soula Mitakidou, Mr. Semolina-Semolinus: A Greek Folktale (Simon & Schuster, 1997; Aladdin Paperbacks, 2015) was selected a 1998 Notable Children’s Book of the Year by the American Library Association was listed among the one hundred best books of the year by the New York Public Library, and was the recipient of the 1997 Marion Vannett Ridgway Award for first-time authors and illustrators.

In 2002, he co-authored a collection of twenty stories titled Folktales from Greece: A Treasury of Delights (Greenwood Press World Folklore Series). His most recent picture book, The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece (Schwartz & Wade/Random House 2011) was selected a Bank Street College of Education Best Book of 2012.

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