Mount Olympus Basketball

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What happens when the mightiest of mortals take on the greatest of gods in an apocalyptic basketball showdown?

Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, and the rest of the Gods' squad have all the powers of the universe at their disposal-which makes for a deadly defense and an unstoppable offense. But those "pesky Mortals" are always causing trouble, and with hunky Hercules at the top of his game and Achilles' heel healing nicely after his surgery, the Mortals manage to stay alive until halftime. ...

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What happens when the mightiest of mortals take on the greatest of gods in an apocalyptic basketball showdown?

Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, and the rest of the Gods' squad have all the powers of the universe at their disposal-which makes for a deadly defense and an unstoppable offense. But those "pesky Mortals" are always causing trouble, and with hunky Hercules at the top of his game and Achilles' heel healing nicely after his surgery, the Mortals manage to stay alive until halftime. Who knows what mythological magic the Gods will have to conjure up to win this Hellenic heart stopper?

Complete with toga-clad announcers and a halftime report on the wonders of ancient Greece, Kevin O'Malley's Mount Olympus Basketball makes learning about ancient Greek myths more exciting than March Madness.

As punishment for acting out in class, Kevin was often sent to the library for a "timeout". Resigned to his fate, he grudgingly started to leaf through a pile of picture books. There were pictures of cute little ponies, cute little puppies, and cute little children with smiling parents beaming behind them. Yuck, yuck, and double yuck! Then, just when he thought he would fall off his chair and die of cuteness, Kevin came upon a picture of a boy in a wolf suit who was threatening to eat his mother. In another picture he was chasing his dog with a fork. This was somebody Kevin could relate to. He kept reading as the boy cavorted through the forest with big hairy monsters. Kevin loved it! The book was, of course, Where the Wild Things Are. From then on, Kevin wanted to illustrate children's books. Not cute children's books, but books for kids like him.

Zeus, Hera, Athene, Poseidon, and Hades pull some dirty tricks as they face off against Hercules, Jason, Odysseus, Achilles, and Theseus in this gods versus mortals basketball game in ancient Greece.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In O'Malley's (Little Buggy) tale of Hellenic hoops, it's the Mortals versus the Gods on a modern-day basketball court. Two sportscasters calling the play-by-play wear coats and ties over togas; as they introduce the teams, the players' caricatures appear in spotlighted circles (they mug for the camera). Playing for the Gods, Athena wears battle headdress as her sly grin reveals a missing tooth, while a bald Poseidon sports a snorkel mask. Other in-joke references arise with the introduction of the Mortals: "He's just back from surgery on his heel and begging for a fight. It's... Achilles!" Action-packed cartoons display the attitude- and antic-laden competition (Queen Hera turns a referee who cries "foul" into a cow), replete with speech bubbles and text blocks bordered by Grecian motifs. On-court maneuvers allude to significant moments from the ancient stories, as when a Woody Allen-looking Odysseus uses the Trojan horse (pulled onto the court by Helen of Troy) to stealthily score. The announcers pop up at the bottom of several pages with microphones to offer slapstick asides: "Zeus doesn't take losing very well. I'm sure he's got a few tricks up his tunic." For "halftime," a spread of the wonders of ancient Greece overlaps a map of the country. Ages 7-11. (Mar.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
"O'Malley has found a new way to make mythology exciting."
"A riotous, epic game of hoops."
Children's Literature
Greek gods and goddesses square off against heroic mortals for an incredible basketball game. At first the mortals, Hercules, Achilles, Jason, Theseus, and Odysseus seem to be holding their own in the contest with the gods. But the gods do not play fair. When Hera does not like the referee's call, she turns him into a cow. Zeus strong arms the opposition with a lightning bolt and Poseidon, god of the sea, summons up a wave to wash Jason away from the basket. The mortals play valiantly but the gods win 2,678,352 to 6. In this lively book with cartoon-style illustrations, readers are introduced to the distinctive traits of Greek gods and legendary mortals. At halftime, a two-page spread that briefly describes the wonders of Ancient Greece takes over. After the game, narrated by two announcers, ends, the book concludes with a page headed "Greeks Rule, Romans Drool." It tells readers to ask their teachers about the various legends spoofed in this book. The page also lists the library reference numbers for categories of books for further reading along with some specific book suggestions and some pertinent web sites. Mr. O'Malley is the illustrator of several children's books including the Miss Malarkey books. As a child he was not particularly fond of reading until he discovered Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. Now he writes for kids like himself who don't like "cute" books. He dedicated this book to Winsor McKay, father of U.S. newspaper cartoons. 2003, Walker Publishing Company Inc,
— Janet Crane Barley
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-The Greek Gods take on those "always-pesky Mortals" in an edge-of-your-seat hoops showdown complete with smooth moves, spell-binding action, and, of course, the "old Trojan-horse play." Narrated by a pair of silver-tongued sportscasters and illustrated with laugh-out-loud cartoons, this ingenious spoof makes a great segue into Greek mythology. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
It's chaos on the court as the Greek Gods, still riding high after their victory over the Titans, square off against a team of mortal Heroes for a riotous, epic game of hoops. A pair of chatty announcers talk up the confrontation, introduce the teams-"He's big. He's strong. He's slippery when wet. He's the brother of Zeus. He's the god of the sea. It's . . . POSEIDON!"-then cover the action from tip-off to final buzzer. Except for Odysseus, a Woody Allen look-alike, the Heroes cut brawny, ruggedly handsome figures, but in O'Malley's glossy cartoons the gods, from glowering Zeus to gap-toothed Athena, look ready to rumble. And rumble they do, to a 2,678,352-to-6 finish-but any team that can call up a flood, open a deep, deep hole in the court, or change an offending official into an animal at will is going to be hard to beat. O'Malley (Twelve Days, 2002, etc) strews infobits about ancient Greece and Greek mythology into the commentary, and caps this sidesplitting slam-dunk with an enticing list of relevant books and Web sites. The final score may be lopsided, but the game's a winner, and every reader gets a courtside seat. (Picture book. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802777287
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publication date: 9/21/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.03 (w) x 10.96 (h) x 0.14 (d)

Meet the Author

KEVIN O’MALLEY is the co-author and illustrator of the popular Miss Malarkey series as well as the award-winning Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude and the national bestseller Gimme Cracked Corn and I Will Share. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2005

    Excellent aid for teachers

    This is an excellent book to use in the classroom to teach the gods and goddesses. It is also easily adaptable to use as a reader's theatre.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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