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The Trojan Horse: How the Greeks Won the War (Step into Reading) Paperback – November 8, 1988

32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-4 This basic vocabulary treatment presents the Trojan War on a scale that is less than epic. The plodding present-tense voice and pedestrian style are almost definitive in the way in which they bland the story out. "The chariots race around the battlefield. The Greeks chase the Trojans. The Trojans chase the Greeks." Little's fall of Troy has all of the excitement (and none of the tension) of being stuck in traffic for two hours. A much better treatment of the destruction of Troy, both in text and illustration, is James Reeves' The Trojan Horse (Watts, 1968; o.p.). Reeves maintains the Homeric narrative in a less edited form: including, for example, the death of Laacoon, which Little omits. Reeves' first-person voice creates the vivid, immediate, and dramatic effects so suitable, even necessary, to the epicand so glaringly absent from Little's bleached, textbook prose. The illustrations are representational but bland, done primarily in shades of brown, buff, and gold with touches of blue and red. The bare bones of Homer's epic is here, but it is not presented in a style that will inspire young readers. Ann Welton, Lake Dollof Elementary School, Auburn, Wash.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Inside Flap

Illus. in full color. "An ancient history lesson emerges from this account of the way the Greeks tricked the Trojans and rescued Helen of Troy. The book is well tailored to younger readers with careful explanations and short sentences; a pronunciation guide is appended. Drawings portray the story's main events. A nice supplement to units on ancient Greece or mythology."--Booklist.  
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 450L (What's this?)
  • Series: Step into Reading
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (November 8, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394896742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394896748
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Heather Martin on September 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I read several 'Trojan War' books while trying to decide which to use for my 7-year-olds. I liked this one the best. It had nice illustrations and the story flowed fairly well. The author cut out A LOT, but I felt it appropriate for this age group. No blood and guts here!

This is not the definitive story of the Iliad. But it works as a gentle introduction for 1st through 3rd graders. Even my 3-year-old listened in. I found them re-enacting the story for days afterward and it was a constant topic at dinner.

The next time around (5th grade) I'll use Rosemary Sutcliff's Black Ships Before Troy and The Wanderings of Odysseus. I think they're fantastic retellings of the story, just a bit much for my little ones right now.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By S. Sayers on April 10, 2000
Format: School & Library Binding
This step into reading book is geared for 2-4 grades. The chapters are short and fully illustrated. The sentences are kept short but the story still remains interesting. There is a pronunciation guide at the back of the book for those unusual names like Menelaus. Great reading for a unit study on Ancient Greece.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gen on April 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book was good enough, or at least better than nothing, but considering the excitement of the topic it could have been written in a MUCH more engaging manner. The sentences are short and choppy and the whole narrative is just a bit blah. It didn't even mention that Helen was "the face that launched a thousand ships." How can you tell the story of the Trojan war without mentioning that?

Overall, though, it was a good way to tell the story to my first grader. I'll still keep my eyes open for a more exciting version.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John Neeleman on February 15, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very competent introduction to The Iliad and The Aeneid for children (the story really conflates elements of the two epics, e.g., there is no Trojan Horse in the Iliad). The book presents a plausible political back drop for the conflict (that does not appear in either epic but makes sense), as well as Helen's betrothal to Paris, as the catalysts for the conflict. There are battle scenes. The construction of the horse, Sinon's deception, and the ultimate fall of Troy are well dramatized in language easily undertood by children. There are maps to orient the reader to the locations of Greece, Asia Minor, and the Aegean and Black Seas. No, it's not eloquent but it's written in language easily understood by my seven year old boy and even enthralling to my near four year old boy (in combination with the pictures). That's quite an achievement given the relative complexity of the story that's told, I'd say. My boys love it, and nearly have it memorized. They are already enthralled by a seminal element of Western literature and for that I am in debt to this little book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Always Learning on May 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
Although it is written in a more no-nonsense, simplistic,and factual style than many other books on the topic, my kids (ages 6-12) were enthralled. They talked about it constantly for many days after.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My parents bought me this book when I was very young and I've happily bought copies first for my nephew and now for my daughter. It's a simple, spare account of the Trojan War focusing on the causes of the war and the end of the war itself.

The Trojan Horse introduces a handful of the Iliad's cast--Odysseus, Menelaus, Helen, Priam--but omits stories like that of Achilles and Hector. It also includes a lot of archaeological information, making this a hybrid of archaeology and Homer. The final chapter briefly describes the rediscovery of Troy by the 19th century archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, a chapter that excited me as a child about the reality of history and the fact that much of it still out there somewhere, waiting for us beneath the dust.

Perhaps my favorite part of the book is the illustrations. These excited me even before I could handle reading the story on my own. They're detailed, dynamic, and powerfully evocative of the world created by the story.

With names like Agamemnon floating through the story, The Trojan Horse may be best suited as a transitional text for kids learning to read with a parent's help. With such good illustrations, it also works as a picture book you can read to a preliterate child. I recommend it heartily for anyone with a child showing an early love for history and myth.

Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased these books (most of the titles in the Step 4 and 5 series) some time ago, and my daughter who is in first grade loves them.

The tragic tale of the doom of Troy is ageless, and well-told here. Accompanied by many color illustrations, the tale is written in a condensed form that will appeal to young readers, with a pronunciation guide for the Greek names. The author manages to keep the descriptions interesting, especially in retelling the story of how the Greeks tricked the people of Troy with the Trojan horse, which sealed the fate of Troy forever. The primary source for the story of the Trojan Horse is the Aeneid of Virgil and is also referred to in the Odyssey.

The Step 5 readers are described as "ready for chapters, grades 2-4", though children who are younger and are at an advanced reading level will find these books interesting and suitably challenging as well.
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The Trojan Horse: How the Greeks Won the War (Step into Reading)
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