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Persephone Hardcover – January 15, 2009


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 and up
  • Grade Level: 2 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 610L (What's this?)
  • Series: AWARDS: Black-Eyed Susan Book Awards - Picture Books 2012
  • Hardcover: 28 pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (January 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802853498
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802853493
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 9.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3–6—Lyrical language and vivid details make for a strong retelling of this Greek myth, as Persephone is "plucked" from a flower-filled field, carried off to the Underworld by Hades, and sought out and mourned for by her distraught mother, Demeter. The story follows a traditional path, and Clayton makes connections to day-to-day life and the harvest cycle in the narrative and in her interesting afterword. Demeter welcomes her daughter home with a feast of "fresh bread, white cheese, dark olives, and cool glasses of barley water" and her seasonal comings and goings are marked by changes to the environment ("Ice melts and the ground grows soft. Earth bears fruit….Spring has come again"). Lee's mixed-media paintings, showing stylized classical-looking figures, effectively use color and tone to convey the characters' emotions: Persephone is aglow with happiness in a spring-hued scenario or wrapped in deep despair in Hades's dark kingdom. Cutaways simultaneously depict above- and belowground scenes (for example, Demeter rests in a sunlit pool while Persephone sits on a lonely Underworld throne) to underscore the story's themes. Add this fine picture book to mythology sections.—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In this familiar Greek myth, Persephone is abducted by Hades, who takes her into the Underworld and sets her upon a throne as his queen. Above ground, the goddess Demeter searches for her missing daughter and, when she learns of Persephone’s fate, takes revenge on the earth itself by making winter last all year. After Zeus intervenes, Hades lets Persephone return home, but not before tempting her with pomegranate seeds. When she eats three, she ensures that every year she must return to him and, during that time, winter returns to Earth. Approaching the Greek myth of Persephone with the respect that a good storyteller holds for a great story, Clayton retells the tale with drama and grace. The mixed-media artwork creates a series of scenes defined by sweeping lines, broad views, and restrained use of color. Reflecting the generally somber tone of the narrative, the illustrations are impressive in their stately beauty. Strange and memorable, the many cross-sections showing the earth’s surface and the Underworld are particularly impressive. This lovely picture book was first published in England, but its appeal, like that of the myth, is universal. Grades 2-4. --Carolyn Phelan

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Customer Reviews

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His favorite part was when Persephone gets tricked into staying in the Underworld.
Pepper Fusco
Featuring sweeping and beautiful color illustrations, Persephone is a picutrebook retelling of the classic myth of Persephone, daughter of the harvest goddess Demeter.
Midwest Book Review
Sally Pomme Clayton retells the myth with particular skill, chosing to gradually dish out information at interesting points in the story.
R. M. Fisher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Marco Antonio Abarca VINE VOICE on September 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The original purpose of the Persephone story was to explain in a mythological context the continous cycle of birth, death and rebirth. This explanation may have worked well in a pre-modern agrarian society but today even my six year old daughter has a basic scientific understanding of the seasons and the role they play in agriculture. So why should we bother to read this story today? First, the story of Persephone gives us a glimpse back into time. We see how the ancients understood and explained natural phenomona. More importantly, it is important to give young children the opportunity to see the world through a mythological perspective. Yes, we live in a physical world that can be explained scientifically. Nevertheless, we also live in a world that can be understood in a philosophical and spiritual way. Sally Pomme Clayton's "Persephone" does a great job of retelling this ancient story and her wonderful illustrations add an additional level of enjoyment to the book. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pepper Fusco on November 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm really happy with this book. The illustrations are wonderful. The story is very well told. A perfect introduction for children. I like the way Hades comes across. Not horribly evil or dark. My 6 year old really loved the book and my 11 year old sat and listened as well. His favorite part was when Persephone gets tricked into staying in the Underworld.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andriy Palamarchuk on January 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The artwork beautifully shows contrast between and unity of light and darkness, surface and underworld, life and death, happiness and grief.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The illustrations alone give the book 5 stars. They're beautiful and detailed, lush and filled with color. Heck, the pictures were more interesting than the story... though with the sparseness of the story, just almost any artist could have told a better story with illustrations.

The story itself is lacking, which brings the rating down to a 3. Many parts of the myth have been cut out, and the characters are portrayed as very simplistic. I know this is supposed to be a children's book, but there was no feeling to the words. The story was much better illustrated in the artwork, but the postscript/trivia at the back of the book made for a nice touch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Fisher TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The story of Persephone and Hades is perhaps one of the most famous of all the Greek myths, one which not only extolls the power of the bond between mother and daughter, but also provides an explanation for the turn of the seasons from winter to summer and back again.

Persephone is the daughter of Demeter, the goddess of the earth and fertility, who is picking flowers in a meadow when the great god Hades emerges from beneath the ground in his chariot. Spying the beautiful maiden, the King of the Underworld snatches her up and spurs his horses back down into his kingdom, intending to make her his Queen. Devastated by her daughter's disappearance, Demeter neglects her duties to the world in her search for Persephone, leaving the world barren and frozen in her wake: the first winter.

Finally the god Zeus intervenes, sending the messenger Hermes down into the Underworld to demand the release of Persephone so that the world might grow bountiful again. But Persephone, tired and heart-sick in the dark realms of the Underworld, cannot help but eat three pomegranate seeds in a bid to sate her hunger, an action that seals her fate.

Sally Pomme Clayton retells the myth with particular skill, chosing to gradually dish out information at interesting points in the story. For example, it's several pages *after* Persephone's kidnapping that we learn who her mother is, and not until the end of the book that we realize the cost of Persephone eating the pomegranate seeds (as opposed to telling us early on and having the tension mount over Persephone's growing hunger). Also of interest is her depiction of Hades.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Featuring sweeping and beautiful color illustrations, Persephone is a picutrebook retelling of the classic myth of Persephone, daughter of the harvest goddess Demeter. When Hades, King of the Underworld, crossed paths with Persephone, he found her so beautiful that he kidnaped her and took her to his Underworld kingdom. Demeter grieved over the loss of her daughter, and the earth turned ice cold and barren of food. To save Demeter's breaking heart and stop famine from destroying the land, Hermes traveled to Hades and persuaded him to let Persephone go - but not before she had eaten three pomegranate seeds. Thus, Persephone must return to the Underworld for three months each year; during this time, Demeter grieves, the snows come, and food grows scarce. A two-page postscript about the story remarks on how the pomegranate is perceived as connected to both death and life in Greek culture today. An excellent and enthusiastically recommended rendition, highly recommended especially for public library children's collections.
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