on October 12, 2012
As a boy this was one of my very favorite books. I remember crawling into the nice warm space between the pot bellied stove and the wall on cold wintry Michigan days. I'd escape into a wonderful world of heroes, giants and angry Gods who all vied with each other in epic struggle. What a great tale! Men who cleverly outwitted foes of great strength and supernatural powers to accomplish their ultimate wish...to return home with honor. I seldom spoke to others of this tale, because I was so self conscious that I probably did not know how to pronounce so many of the names. Now along comes a version that has such great illustrations that one wonders how it can be offered at this price. Many "Art" books costing multiples of Amazon's price are not nearly so nice. My wife (who is a graphic artist in her own right) saw the first copy I bought and urged me to buy more copies for all the grand kids, which I did. I expected it to be nice and was really surprised at how much it exceeded my expectations!
Highly recommended to folks who love a great adventure that has endured through centuries and especially to those who love great illustration.
Award Winning author Gillian Cross delivers a compelling story about Odysseus on his journey in a magical, mystical adventure. If you enjoy fantasy, magic, and folk tales, then this powerfully moving story will grab your attention. Odysseus faces many challenges, including a brutal storm, shipwreck, and much more. As he sets out on a mission, he must face the mysterious sea, Cyclops, and other disturbing surprises along the way. What is Poseidon up to, and what happens when Odysseus must deal with deadly sirens? As Odysseus struggles to make it home, while fighting his own battles, Penelope must challenge an invasion of her palace. What do the greedy men want, and will she be forced into choosing a new husband? Will Odysseus be able to rescue his wife, and who will survive? Who told Penelope that her husband is dead, and does she believe it? This fun-filled story is exciting, and fascinating from beginning to end. Highly Recommended to young readers, ages 8 and up. The author paints mystical-magic throughout, the illustrations are stunning, and fans of mythology will enjoy as this book entertains from beginning to end!
on January 14, 2013
I actually found this book at my local public library. I Love the Odyssey and wanted to share it with my kids (6 & 8 years) in a format that is suitable for younger readers. We've been reading this book every night. They beg me not to stop reading. They are loving it. The author retells the story in a way that enraptures my sons' imaginations. Even my husband wants to sit in the room and listen. It's great to have a young readers' version of this book that sparks their curiosity and attention. Someday, when this story is assigned to them in high school and beyond, they will have an understanding of the plot and characters. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves Greek classics and wants to expose a child to this epic story.
on December 12, 2012
As a Classics professor, I can assure you this is a marvelous re-telling of Homer's ODYSSEY for young readers, elegantly illustrated--we're giving these to all 5 grandchildren for Christmas, and I'm sure they'll love the story!
on August 19, 2013
I had never read the Odyssey before and always felt left out when I heard references to it, so I got this for a grandsons' visit so we could all learn. It fascinated the boys aged 6, 7, and 11. Their attention flagged just a bit on pages with no illustrations, but with a few prompts ("Do you think the men are going to obey his orders?") they got back into the story. They LOVED the illustrations, though some verged on too scary. Text was full of action and gruesome details, but none of the men who got eaten by monsters were given names, and the kids seemed fine with that. I'm happy that the boys will now know what it means to be "between Scylla and Charybdis," or why a siren song means a temptation to resist. I'll be watching for opportunities to remind them what they learned. My brother who's a classicist says that the Odyssey stays current because the basic issues in life never change, and it's comforting to think, "Odysseus faced this same problem." You can't get that from Batman.
on April 1, 2015
I was choosing between this book and Rosemary Sutcliffe's and Mary Pope Osborne's versions of The Odyssey for our homeschool study of the Greeks. I am so glad I got this version! The use of language is first-rate and the fantastic pacing makes it a wonderful read-aloud for my 6-year old. We do our read-alouds here with a lot of drama and suspense, and the way the book is written lends itself well to that. My son also enjoys the illustrations. Last night, as we read the book together, he was quite literally on the edge of his seat! Overall, a fantastic book for introducing The Odyssey to the younger set.
on August 11, 2015
As a primary teacher and a homeschooling mom, I am a true lover of books. I saw this in a local Barnes and Noble and KNEW I had to add it to our collection. We are studying Ancients this year in home school, and I'm so happy to add this beautiful book to our collection.
on January 2, 2013
This story has been wonderfully illustrated and retold. It is the perfect format for reading to my young sons, with both enough pictures to keep them interested, and enough content to capture the essence of the story. The pacing of the story allows the tension to build and release at a rate where kids can keep the characters and events clear in their memory. Looking forward to more books by this author/illustrator pair.
Anyone who has ever taken a literature course knows Homer's two epics The Iliad and The Odyssey. There have been countless translations of them and ways to make them more accessible to current generations and younger audiences. Candlewick Press has recently published these works of Homer aimed at children ages 8-12. They are both written by Gillian Cross and illustrated by Neil Packer, and I am going to tell you about them.
The Iliad begins with the story of Paris and the golden apple. Three goddesses (Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite) presented him with a golden apple and told him to give it to the most beautiful. Paris was not bright enough to realize that no matter who he picked, two others would be upset with him. They all offered him bribes to try and be picked, but Aphrodite offered him the most beautiful woman in the world (Helen) as his wife if he gave Aphrodite the golden apple. This was the most appealing bribe to him, and from this small apple the Trojan War soon followed.
Within this story is a lot of bloodshed and capturing of women. Paris took Helen from King Menelaus. Agamemnon took a woman named Chryseis who was the daughter of a priest. Briseis was taken from Achilles by Agamemnon, because Agamemnon had to give back Chryseis. For a while Achilles refused to help Agamemnon and the Greeks, until his cousin Patroclus was killed by Hector. This led to Achilles finally going to war with the Trojans, killing Hector, and Paris killing Achilles. This did not end the war, though. Odysseus created what became known as the Trojan Horse, and was able to sneak all the Greek soldiers into Troy to destroy the city and everyone in it. With the war over, Odysseus was ready to go home.
This leads us to the story The Odyssey. The Odyssey takes place after the Trojan War and Odysseus' journey back home takes ten years itself. That means that in total, he was gone from his home for twenty years. On this long trek, he is held captive for seven years on Calypso's island. They were captured by a Cyclops and had to blind him to escape. They narrowly avoided the Sirens who tried to steer their boats into the rocks and drown them. There are many marvelous tales in this epic, but I always like the end and the cleverness of Odysseus' wife Penelope. She was clever and stalled her many suitors for years in the hopes that her husband would return. She also arranges an archery contest that she knows only her husband could win and when he does win, she tests him one time further just so she can be 100% sure. This is truly a marvelous tale.
So what makes Gillian Cross and Neil Packer's versions great for kids? It's the way they are told. The story is simplified, but not dumbed down. All the elements, plot lines, gods, goddesses, etc. are present and accounted for. And the pictures are absolutely perfect in form and style. There are some images that are a bit off-putting and grotesque, which I appreciate, because not all characters in these stories are meant to be beautiful. At the end of the books is the Greek alphabet and context on both Homer and the Trojan War. These serve to further educate young minds and adds to the beauty of these books. These books are proof that you don't need to be an adult to enjoy the Classics and that if you start your children early, they too will love good literature. Highly recommended!
on March 1, 2016
Well-written and uniquely illustrated. I couldn't be happier with the quality of these hardcover books. My six-year old son paid close attention to the story details and enjoyed the illustrations also. He's a big fan of Odysseus! A great follow up to D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths.