From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8–This retelling of the myth takes Perseus from the oracular pronouncement that he will cause his grandfather's death to the time the hero settles in as King of Little Tiryns. The writing is often energetic and riveting, as when McCaughrean describes the Medusa head's effects on soldiers ranged against Perseus: They saw the hand draw out something green, repulsive, and writhing. A nasty smell struck their nostrils, and curiosity plucked at their brains. But then their nostrils smelled nothing more, their brains struggled no more after understanding, and their eyes–their eyes that had focused on something so hideous that no eyes should ever have seen it–froze over…like winter ice sealing a hundred ponds, and they were stone, stone, stone dead. The story itself, with its twists and turns, its dangers and unexpected rescues, has compelled attention for thousands of years. While the author does not achieve the same dimensionality of characterization as some writers who expand on traditional fairy tales, she fleshes out the myth enough to provide motivation and emotions to all of the actors in it. For readers already in thrall of Greek mythology or those who must delve into it for schoolwork, this title will be a valuable addition.–Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
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Gr. 4-7. Like McCaughrean's Odysseus
(2004), this retelling of a Greek myth in the Heroes series makes a thrilling read-aloud. The naive young hero, nicknamed "One-shirt Perseus," doesn't know what he's taking on when he agrees to bring the head of Medusa to the evil king. But Perseus not only beheads the gorgon but also rescues beautiful Andromeda from the parents and lover who betray her. McCaughrean blends the colloquial and contemporary into the heroic quest: "teenage" Perseus worries that the feathered magic sandals look "rather unmanly and tasteless," and when he first sees naked Andromeda chained to a rock, he tells her, "You're extremely beautiful, if you don't mind my saying so." It's the rhythmic storytelling of the gruesome and the heroic that will grab kids, whether the focus is on the three monsters sharing one soft, gray, slippery eye, or the brave hero on his quest to find himself. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved