Shirley Glubok, both individually and in her joint works with husband Alfred Tamarin, is noted for her consistent ability to distill intellectual rigor and scholarly authority into an appealing and easily understood text for young people. Always readable, clear, and lively, her books do not oversimplify their subject matter or employ faddish gimmicks in their presentation of information. These qualities have earned for her books numerous awards and citations as well as inclusion on prestigious professional bibliographies such as the American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults.
Like Glubok’s many other works of nonfiction, Olympic Games in Ancient Greece shows how art reflects the history and values of its culture. Unlike her books about art history, such as the series beginning with The Art of Ancient Egypt (1962), it emphasizes a particular ritual of a society and uses art exclusively as illustrative material rather than as a focus of the text itself. Unique to this work, too, is the device of presenting information in a dramatized form.
Olympic Games in Ancient Greece is an extensive account of the ancient games for young readers. Before its publication, no other treatment of this topic had attempted its comprehensive approach to the artistic, historical, and cultural context of the ancient sports. In years when the Olympics are held, demand for this title typically increases, according to the publishers. With the timeless appeal of sports as its focus and the added impetus of the interest created by modern-day Olympiads, Olympic Games in Ancient Greece is likely to remain a widely read classic of nonfiction for children and young adults.