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Corydon and the Island of Monsters (Corydon Trilogy) Hardcover – February 28, 2006

3.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Corydon Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-9–Not to be confused with Virgils or Gides, this shepherd boy is a goat-leg misfit, a scapegoat, and an outcast rejected by his mother. He finds an unlikely surrogate in Medusa when he rescues her (immune to her glance) from a freak show. With her newborn baby and two immortal (and bizarre) Gorgon sisters, they form an odd family, underscoring the theme of maternal love and acceptance. A hero needs a quest, so Corydon and a handful of monsters (Sphinx, Minotaur, Lamia, et al) are pitted against Perseus and a ragtag loser-army. Its difficult to work up alarm, since Medusa can petrify unlimited numbers, but Perseus gets help from Zeus (a despicable character here) and beheads her. The best scenes are those in the underworld: pace and imagination pick up in these Dante-esque episodes. Otherwise, the occasional glances at social satire, the number of two-dimensional characters, some obscure poetic references, difficult diction (bonhomiously), and lack of focus work against this first novel.–Patricia D. Lothrop, St. Georges School, Newport, RI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 8-11. Corydon, a young boy with one goat leg, meets the Gorgon Medusa when he is cast out from his village and captured by men running a traveling freak show. He quickly realizes that the Medusa and the other "monsters" he meets aren't evil, and together they escape to an island, where they live happily until Perseus, the cowardly son of Zeus, convinces an army of heroes that all monsters should be killed. It isn't long before Corydon finds himself leading the monsters against the gods. Although Druitt (the pseudonym of a mother-and-son team) offers an intriguing twist on Greek mythology--vilifying the heroes and portraying the monsters with sympathy--some of the pieces of Corydon's quest to assume his prophesied role refuse to connect, and a few sections are written with a sarcastic flippancy far different from the high-fantasy language of the rest of the story. Corydon's simple goodness is appealing, though, and the monsters are fascinating, well-rounded characters^B that help make this tale, the first in a trilogy, a treat for readers who enjoy viewing old stories from new vantage points. Krista Hutley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 760L (What's this?)
  • Series: Corydon Trilogy
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; 1st Ed. edition (February 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037583382X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375833823
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,943,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Corydon, the lead character begins this tale as a humble goat herder run out of his native village (the mob included his own mother) as a Pharmakos due to a deformity (one leg is "goat footed"). Corydon finds peace as a simple goat herder on a largely deserted part of the island, that is until a group of pirates show up and captures him, adding him into their traveling "freak" show. Here Corydon finds himself imprisoned with the likes of the Sphinx, Medusa, The Minotaur and many others. During his brief imprisonment, Corydon finds an unlikely friendship with the gorgon, Medusa and he finds there is a surprising humanity to her and all the monsters...each is tender and much more human than the humans in this story in their own monstrous way. Lucking into being nearest the fearful and mysterious staff that the pirates use to keep the monsters prisoner, he manages to snare it and free himself and Medusa. Later, with the help of the other two Gorgons on the island, they are able to free the remaining monsters who eventually all find happy homes on the island.

They might have remained happily ensconced on the island for many years to some, however, in a surprising twist, the surviving pirate escapes and goes to King Polydectes spinning a tale of treachery and murder on the part of the monsters. The King naturally assigns Perseus to take care of the monsters...however he (Perseus) is unable to raise a band of heroes in the traditional manner so he resorts to a bit of trickery (promising riches that don't exist) and begs the aid of his father Zeus (who here is a selfish, absent minded pig of a man) to accomplish the task. The story continues as Corydon and his monster friends make plans to defend themselves from the invading would be heroes.
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Format: Hardcover
When I am handed a brand new bright and beautiful book for children or teens for me to review, I shut myself into a personal sensory deprivation tank (of sorts). I refuse to read reviews of the book, hear opinions from other people, or even scan the bookflap attached to the novel. I want to walk into a book knowing absolutely nothing about it except the name of the author (and if I could get away from that detail you can bet I would). Often this method of denying myself extraneous info is silly and wouldn't affect my opinion of the novel one way or another. In the case of "Corydon and the Island of the Monsters", however, it was a godsend. Had I read the Author Note at the beginning of the book, my read would have been tainted by two items. Item Number One: The fact that the book was written by a mother/son team. Item Number Two: It is the first in a trilogy. If I had known about the whole mother/son mutual writing experience you could not have peeled the sneer off of my face with all the battery acid in the world. If I had known it was the first in a trilogy I would have read it with an additional moue of distaste that comes with finding yet ANOTHER first book in a series (are there no single volumes of books anymore?). Instead, I came into "Corydon" without any taint of expectation and found it to be a delightful and truly engrossing read. It's been a while since I've read a child or teen novel that made me so simultaneously fearful and enraptured by a tale's plot. This is a book with a steady and satisfying emotional core, not to mention a great grasp on mythology to boot.

Corydon lives alone as a shepherd on a hillside far from his island's villages.
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Format: Hardcover
I like this book alot, because it showed a different way to looking at greek mytholgy.You look at Medusa in a different way you look at her as a mother to a baby a woman trying to make her way in the cruel world that does not accept her. Also a boy that was used as a scape-goat to rid the town of its "sins" this child shunned by is own mother finds his way to be a sheperd boy and gets mixed up in with some trouble.I cant tell you any more but all I have to say is that I did not want this book to end.

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Format: Hardcover
Corydon is a pharmakos, a scapegoat and an outcast from his ancient Greek village. After years of being on the outskirts of village society, the deformed boy (whose leg looks like a goat's) is chased out of town by an angry mob (including his own mother), threatening him and calling him mormoluke --- demon. For years, Corydon lives alone, tending the sheep and goats he steals from the villagers.

Then, one day, Corydon is captured by a band of marauders, who take him away as part of their sideshow of monsters and freaks. The Minotaur, the Hydra, even the pregnant Gorgon Medusa are all enslaved, put on display for the delight and horror of ordinary citizens. That is, until Corydon obtains a mysterious magical staff and uses it to free his fellow prisoners. Soon enough, the island where they have been entrapped becomes their own, where they are free to live in peace and form their own families, of sorts.

Soon enough, though, hero wannabe Perseus gets wind of the Island of Monsters. He's determined to make a name for himself, to finally get his father Zeus to remember his name in particular over the chief god's dozens of other sons. Using marketing strategies worthy of any Fortune 500 company, Perseus recruits a band of other B-List heroes to join him; he rejects Odysseus ("Full of cunning...Too fond of his wife and family") and Achilles ("Get his mother to stop spoiling him"). Backed with the powers of the Olympian gods, the heroes set off to earn their fame and fortune.

Meanwhile, Corydon, Medusa and two other Gorgons, aware that an army is on the move, work to awaken the gods of the earth. These less renowned gods, who make their home in the earth or below it, include figures like Hades and Corydon's own father, whose identity he discovers early in the story.
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