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King of Ithaka by [Barrett, Tracy]
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King of Ithaka Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Length: 270 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Age Level: 12 - 18 Grade Level: 7 - 12

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up–Odysseus has been gone for nearly all of his son's life. Despite being a prince, Telemachos has grown up with few responsibilities, until the day his neighbors declare that his father must be dead, and his mother must marry one of them so that there would be a king. In response, Telemachos, who has never left the kingdom, says he will travel the world to search for word of his father. Accompanied by Brax, a centaur, and runaway weaver Polydora, the teen discovers that the world is full of dangers, some of them giving the appearance of friendship. He also begins to discover what a good kingship requires by viewing the hurting realms of Pylos and Sparta. Readers familiar with The Odyssey will know some of how the story ends, but Barrett's depictions of familiar characters and situations are surprising and fresh, allowing a new tale to be told inside the old one. The author also makes much of no one expecting poets to tell the truth, just a good story, and Telemachos's own narrative ends with the traditional concluding words of a poet that seem to be a tongue-in-cheek commentary on storytelling. This is a strong retelling with definite YA appeal, particularly in Telemachos's final triumph, where he takes the chariot reins of his life in his own hands.–Alana Joli Abbott, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CTα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Telemachos was just a babe when his father, Odysseus, left their kingdom of Ithaka to fight in the Trojan War. Now Telemachos is 16, and the men of Ithaka have grown restless watching the queen try to lead the island nation. To prevent a coup (or worse), Telemachos conquers his fear of the sea and sets off (with the delightful centaur Brax) to find Odysseus, guided only by a vague prophecy. Readers familiar with The Odyssey will recognize the triton, naiads, and satyrs and enjoy Telemachos’ dangerous adventures as he strives to bring his father home and save the kingdom. Although Barrett’s vision does not stir the reader to the heights of Adele Geras’ Troy (2001), the exotic climes and vivid descriptions nevertheless give the story a sense of immediacy and color. Telemachos’ first-person narration allows readers to experience the complexity of his character as the prince matures and evolves into a leader that would make any parent proud. Grades 7-10. --Melissa Moore

Product Details

  • File Size: 603 KB
  • Print Length: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); Reprint edition (September 14, 2010)
  • Publication Date: September 14, 2010
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003OYICS6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,990 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tracy Barrett's KING OF ITHAKA rules! (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) KING is a smart, funny, thought-provoking retelling of the famous tales from Homer, but from Odysseus's son's point-of-view. Sixteen-year-old Telemachos must find his sea-faring, war-mongering father before the kingdom of Ithaka collapses and his mother remarries. Telemachos is a character that teens today will easily relate to, and readers need not be familiar with the classics to understand this tale, though I imagine many a teacher pairing this with the Iliad and Odyssey. Storytelling at its best.
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Format: Hardcover
I have always loved Greek mythology and the Odyssey in particular. The strange lands and stranger people have a way of sparking the imagination and creating new dreams and worlds in your mind. Telemachus and Penelope, or, in this instance, Telemachos and Penelopeia, have always interested me more than Odysseus. He was off having adventures for years, while his son grew up without a father and his wife kept the kingdom together as best she could without a husband. It was interesting to read about what life might have been like for them.

This book is written in a modern style, with Telemachos and his friends speaking and behaving like modern teenagers. He spies on girls and steals alcohol, goofing off like any other 16-year-old boy might, but he isn't what I would call wild. He is very much a boy at he beginning, but hardships and experience set him on the road to being a man.

There is just a little bit of romance in this novel, but that is not what the story is about. It is about learning what is more important than strength, courage, and generosity. It is about learning to see reality instead of building too much on wishes and beliefs. It is about learning to stand on your own two feet, but still understanding the value of friends.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Complete with mystery and mythical creatures, KING OF ITHAKA tells the story of Telemachos and his adventurous search for his father (the missing king, Odysseus). Braving fears, danger, and temptations, Telemachos travels with his centaur friend, Brax, and a stowaway passenger, Polydora, who may become a romantic interest (you have to read it to find out).

Barrett has crafted a compelling and unique retelling from Greek mythology. Newcomers to the story of Telemachos will delight in his escapades as well as Barrett's rich descriptions of ancient life.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The King of Ithaka holds the readers attention while immersing him or her in the world of Ancient Greece. Telemachos, son of Odysseus, decides it is time to find his father. As he begins his search he meets with numerous difficulties. During his search things are not as they appear and Telemachos must solve his problems with the help of his friends. He returns to Ithaka to find that his adventure is not over. The story does not end as one would expect, helping the reader to learn that acting with integrity always wins.
This well written book uses ideas and language that are appropriate for the early teen. Boys, especially, will be drawn to the hero, Telemachos, whose experiences include adventurous situations where he does not always have the solution.
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Format: Hardcover
At sixteen, Telemachos sets off on his own Odyssey in search of his father who has not yet returned to Ithaka from the Trojan War. As in Homer's Odyssey, Telemachos sails to Pylos to consult King Nestor, and Nestor's son Pisistratos agrees to take Telemachos to Sparta in his chariot to ask King Menelaos what has become of Odysseus. Mythological creatures and deities live anew in this coming-of-age adventure where a young prince discovers the meaning of friendship and the true qualities of a king. Telemachos must find within himself the strength, bravery and generosity of a king along with another essential quality that Nestor, Menelaos, and even Odysseus seem to be lacking. Barrett weaves many delightful twists into an old tale by assuring us that great poets such as Homer were beloved for their ability to create a beautiful story, not their historical accuracy.
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Format: Hardcover
This is Barrett's imaginative exploration of the personality of Telemachos, son of Odysseus. Accompanied by his friends Brax and Polydora, Telemachos must go in search of his father and then "return to the place that is not, on the day that is not, bearing the thing that is not." The struggles ensuing from this strange quest help Telemachos grow in the knowledge of what it takes to be a king.

Barrett creates an unexpected Telemachos - he's afraid of the sea, and he can't do a lot for himself. I interviewed her for my column/blog and she had this to say:

"I think that both Telemachos and Penelopeia have a lot of fears that govern large parts of their lives. Telemachos knows that his father sailed away and never returned; therefore, the sea naturally holds a lot of terror for him. He also doesn't have any kind of role model; his grandfather is old and befuddled, and most of his neighbors are greedy and lazy. Somewhere inside of him he knows that he really needs to man up, but he's so afraid of growing up (and also, he has a pretty cushy life) that he closes his eyes to the abuses going on in his home. Penelopeia also doesn't want him to grow up. It's easier to spoil him, not make him work, and indulge him, than to allow him to face the suitors and perhaps lose his life by challenging them."

Neat story. I enjoyed it.
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