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
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*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