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Atalanta and the Arcadian Beast (Young Heroes) Hardcover – March 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
  • Series: Young Heroes
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006029454X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060294540
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,793,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6-A horrible beast has killed Atalanta's father, and now Atalanta, 12, is completely alone in her woodland home. One day, the bear cub that she was raised with appears, fully grown. They travel together until village hunters catch the animal in a trap. Atalanta's bravery and quick wits as a hunter save both of them, and she joins the village hunters on a search for the beast. When they reach the king's palace, and an official hunt begins, the truth of the creature's origins-and Atalanta's-is made clear. Yolen and Harris have provided another exciting installment in the series with this little-known Greek myth. Atalanta is a strong female hero, and her adventures will thrill readers. The Greek names may be hard for reluctant readers, but the fast-paced story will engage their imaginations. Recommend this book to fans of the series; guide avid readers who want even more of the Atalanta tale to Stephanie Spinner's Quiver (Knopf, 2002), which takes the story to its end.
Angela J. Reynolds, Washington County Cooperative Library Services, Hillsboro, OR
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-6. The third volume in the Young Heroes series sends 12-year-old Atalanta in pursuit of a giant winged lion after it kills the hunter who raised her. Having spent nearly her entire life in the woods, Atalanta is a strong hunter and a nearly feral child; she is far more comfortable with her huge bear companion than with the glory-seeking humans who join her on the trail. The tale sweeps along at a good clip toward a rousing climax, and the authors have buttressed the action with many details and characters from classical mythology--mighty Orion, a vain, but capable, hunter whose rivalry with Atalanta gradually turns into mutual respect; a petulant Artemis; and mischievous, powerful Pan. Although Atalanta turns out to be a child of royal parents, she elects to return to her old, independent life in the end--at least for the present. Children intrigued by the often sketchy tales surrounding Atalanta will enjoy both this fleshed out version of her youthful adventures and the somewhat different take Stephanie Spinner offers in Quiver [BKL Ja 1 & 15 03]; for other books of interest, see the Read-alike, "Grrrls of the Ancient World," also in the January 03 issue. John Peters
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Born and raised in New York City, Jane Yolen now lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts. She attended Smith College and received her master's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts. The distinguished author of more than 170 books, Jane Yolen is a person of many talents. When she is not writing, Yolen composes songs, is a professional storyteller on the stage, and is the busy wife of a university professor, the mother of three grown children, and a grandmother. Active in several organizations, Yolen has been on the Board of Directors of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, was president of the Science Fiction Writers of America from 1986 to 1988, is on the editorial board of several magazines, and was a founding member of the Western New England Storytellers Guild, the Western Massachusetts Illustrators Guild, and the Bay State Writers Guild. For twenty years, she ran a monthly writer's workshop for new children's book authors. In 1980, when Yolen was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree by Our Lady of the Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts, the citation recognized that "throughout her writing career she has remained true to her primary source of inspiration--folk culture." Folklore is the "perfect second skin," writes Yolen. "From under its hide, we can see all the shimmering, shadowy uncertainties of the world." Folklore, she believes, is the universal human language, a language that children instinctively feel in their hearts. All of Yolen's stories and poems are somehow rooted in her sense of family and self. The Emperor and the Kite, which was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1983 for its intricate papercut illustrations by Ed Young, was based on Yolen's relationship with her late father, who was an international kite-flying champion. Owl Moon, winner of the 1988 Caldecott Medal for John Schoenherr's exquisite watercolors, was inspired by her husband's interest in birding. Yolen's graceful rhythms and outrageous rhymes have been gathered in numerous collections. She has earned many awards over the years: the Regina Medal, the Kerlan Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Society of Children's Book Writers Award, the Mythopoetic Society's Aslan Award, the Christopher Medal, the Boy's Club Jr. Book Award, the Garden State Children's Book Award, the Daedalus Award, a number of Parents' Choice Magazine Awards, and many more. Her books and stories have been translated into Japanese, French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Afrikaans, !Xhosa, Portuguese, and Braille. With a versatility that has led her to be called "America's Hans Christian Andersen," Yolen, the child of two writers, is a gifted and natural storyteller. Perhaps the best explanation for her outstanding accomplishments comes from Jane Yolen herself: "I don't care whether the story is real or fantastical. I tell the story that needs to be told."

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
After the stellar "Odysseus" and mediocre "Hippolyta," Jane Yolen shows her exceptional storytelling skills once more in "Atalanta and the Arcadian Beast." The legendary huntress and runner is given an unusual and suspenseful adventure, that very few could pull off well.
Atalanta was abandoned in the forest as a baby, and raised until the age of four by a bear. Then her bear-mother was killed, and the feral child was taken in and raised by a childless couple, until her mother died. One day an enormous creature attacks the cottage, killing Atalanta's father. Before he dies, he gives her a ring that is the only clue to where she might come from. But Atalanta doesn't particularly want to be with humans, as she informs the nature-god Pan.
She teams up with an old playmate (a bear) whom she calls Urso. She rescues Urso from a village of hunters, and spends time near other humans -- until the hunters come upon a monstrous winged lion. She teams up with Urso and the legendary hunter Orion to hunt down the winged lion.
As with the previous two books, this one has plenty of action, lots of trivia about Greek mythology, legend and everyday life, and the gods and heroes bob in and out of it. Artemis (kind of petulant) and Pan (likably weird and quirky) both make appearances, as does the skilled but rather boastful Orion (who was immortalized as a constellation -- Orion the Hunter, and Orion's Belt).
Atalanta is a good heroine -- she craves freedom, has a strong sense of herself, and defnitely grows and changes over the course of the story. Orion is as he should be, proud but pretty likable. Urso is proof that you don't need dialogue to be a good character -- he's a bear, but he has more likability to him than most fictional characters who DO talk. And I liked Pan, of course.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amy Aldrich on December 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is my third experience with this author and with this series (Young Heroes), having thoroughly enjoyed Odysseus and the Serpent Maze & Hippoltya and the Curse of the Amazons, I had high hopes for Atalanta and the Arcadian Beast...I'm happy to report that I was not disappointed in the least. In this volume of the Young Heroes series, we are introduced to a young Atalanta who has seen much loss in her life, but who has also been well loved despite being left to die in the wilds...by both her adoptive bear mother and her human family who rescued her after the death of her bear mother.

As we join the story, Atlanta is out hunting with her adoptive father when something large and out of place starts stalking them. On the run and desperate to get back to their cottage, her father is injured by this large, unknown beast. Arriving home, Atalanta manages to wound the animal, driving it off...but it's too late for her father, he's mortally wounded. He does manage to hand off a ring with a ring and tells her that it is her only clue as to her origins. From there Atalanta packs up and goes out to the woods with Urso, her bear brother. At first tracking the beast, but then when that proves to be fruitless, she becomes enmeshed in returning to a more wild life, living with Urso and being alone in the woods and even meeting the god Pan who gives her clues to what lies ahead in her young life. Her wild and free life comes crashing to a halt when she is captured by a group of hunters while trying to protect Urso inaugurating her return to life with humans.
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Format: Hardcover
I teach High School English for a living, by which I knew what traits I wanted in a book for my daughter as she learned to read. We were both thrilled. The strength of the young heroine and the intense action of the plot captured my daughter as a reader. The classical references and the variety and difficulty level of the vocabulary endeared the novel to me as a teacher. We have since purchased all of the Jane Yolen novels I could find, and she is reading me her third. She loves them all, but this is still her favorite. It does include some violence and suspense over life and death for those of you who are sensitive to such content. The difficulty level is around fourth or fifth grade, but don't be afraid to offer it to younger readers who are progressing well, or to older readers to read for pure enjoyment. My daughter read it to me at age six, and loved it so much she has re-read it twice on her own.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book. if you like adventures read thhis book. Also read the other books in the series.
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