Led by Ganymede, cupbearer to the gods, the inhabitants of Mount Olympus have their poetic say in this unusual collection of verses by author Kate Hovey (Arachne Speaks
). After telling his own poignant story of being kidnapped by Zeus (in the form of an eagle) to serve the immortals, Ganymede speaks in several other poems throughout the book, interspersed with verse stories narrated by other figures in Greek and Roman mythology. Ancient Voices
is divided into four sections: Mount Olympus, The Sea, The Underworld, and The Forest. Each "ancient voice" is accompanied by compelling, sometimes weird, and often humorous illustrations by Murray Kimber. Ares, nasty god of war, is portrayed on a flame-and smoke-spewing motorcycle, while, in one of Hovey's wittiest poems, "Aphrodite Talks About the Venus de Milo
Behind Her Back," a haughty and busty Aphrodite in a hot pink sundress checks out the "marble girl" supposed to represent her.
This compilation, with its clever and unique perspectives, will be especially enjoyable to those already familiar with ancient mythology. However, the appendices describing each character in more prosaic--though brief--detail will fill in the blanks for less informed readers. (Ages 10 and older) --Emilie Coulter
From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8--Similar in concept and tone to Hovey's Arachne Speaks
(McElderry, 2001), this slim compendium follows an ambitious scheme. Ganymede, young cupbearer to Zeus, leads other voices in poetic accounts of their lives on Mount Olympus, under the sea, in the underworld, and in the forest. Each region is introduced with a brief quote from classical literature. Ganymede speaks three of the poems set on Olympus and then just once in each of the other settings, his melancholy comments lamenting his entrapment in immortality. Hovey uses variable rhyme patterns as different mythical characters reflect on their experience in the Olympian pantheon. She imagines well their points of view, but most readers will need to consult the helpful glossary to understand the identities and references of the speakers. Kimber's handsome, sometimes hard-edged mixed-media paintings have elements of cubism and surrealism and aptly suggest the larger-than-life and less-than-pleasant nature of the characters. Some of the artist's choices convey a modern, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, interpretation. The nine muses of Olympus are robed as an African-American gospel choir, Ares roars along on a mammoth motorcycle, Aphrodite is a mean-looking disco babe, and Hades is quite Dickensian. Elusive and evocative, this title will interest readers who have studied and enjoyed Greek mythology.--Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
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