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by Geraldine McCaughrean

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One of the greatest legends in the world is brought to life in ODYSSEUS, the first book of the four-volume HEROES series. Author Geraldine McCaughrean's taught prose brings a modern, thriller-like immediacy to the ancient story, while still retaining the characters, details and even some of the rhythms of the epic poem.

Odysseus and his loyal troops narrowly

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One of the greatest legends in the world is brought to life in ODYSSEUS, the first book of the four-volume HEROES series. Author Geraldine McCaughrean's taught prose brings a modern, thriller-like immediacy to the ancient story, while still retaining the characters, details and even some of the rhythms of the epic poem.

Odysseus and his loyal troops narrowly escape being eaten by the Cyclops, shipwrecked by Scylla and Charybdis, and turned into pigs by the beautiful Circe. The company must travel to Hell (or Hades) and back, dodge the constant pursuit of the vengeful Poseidon, and row across oceans in order to get back home where Odysseus' wife, Penelope fends off a gaggle of greedy suitors bent on taking Odysseus' throne.

Filled with excitement and romance, ODYSSEUS makes a perfect sequel for any young readers interested in learning more about the Greek heroes portrayed in the summer 2004 blockbuster, TROY.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this first in a planned four-volume Heroes series, McCaughrean (Stop the Train!) offers a vivid and accessible retelling of the Ithacan king's long, strange trip home after his victory at Troy. Readers unfamiliar with Homer's The Odyssey will likely feel comfortable with this prose version, a straightforward account that hits the legendary highlights. The author does not shy away from a fair number of appropriately gory scenes, as when Cyclops "nibbled [Odysseus's] men like skewered lamb," or when Odysseus, rather than eat the Sun God's cattle, roasts his pet bird to feed his crew. The hero's succumbing to other urges occurs off-stage, as when the goddess Circe leads him to her "white and silver bed." Readers will get a good sense of the peril involved in offending Poseidon and learn the importance of stopping to ask for directions (Odysseus detours to Hades for his). The narrative's rhythm evokes not only the original epic but the ceaseless movement of the "world-encircled sea," as when Queen Penelope looks out the window toward the water and sees only "the waves, arriving, always arriving, always beaching on the shores of Ithaca." Readers will eagerly anticipate Perseus, scheduled to arrive in spring 2005. Ages 9-14. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-McCaughrean delves right into the epic story-Odysseus leaves Troy, trying to return to Ithaca, but is waylaid by many adventures and mishaps. When he angers Poseidon by putting out the eye of the Cyclops, things really go downhill-his men are turned to swine, he is kidnapped by a lovely nymph, and he faces Sirens and the churning whirlpool of Charybdis. After nearly 20 years, he returns home to his amazingly faithful wife and son, defeats her suitors, and is King of Ithaca once again. McCaughrean has written a compelling prose introduction to Homer's epic poem. In keeping with the style of the original, she uses Homeric refrains and colorful, poetic descriptions fashioned out of slightly challenging vocabulary. The story is well suited to reading aloud (but recall that Odysseus does spend a lot of time with nymphs and seductresses). Violent events are not sugarcoated, and the narrative is filled with gory descriptions. A list of monsters and immortals and Odysseus's family tree appear at the beginning. With its fast-paced plot and lyrical language, this retelling makes a captivating read.-Angela J. Reynolds, Washington County Cooperative Library Services, Hillsboro, OR Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The much-honored McCaughrean opens a series featuring heroes of antiquity with a characteristically rousing retelling of The Odyssey. Rearranging the original's flashbacks into a linear narrative, she follows Odysseus and his rapidly slaughtered crew from the Island of the Lotus Eaters to his final journey inland to appease the enraged Poseidon for good. Meanwhile, she occasionally shifts the scene to Mount Olympus or back to Ithaca, where Penelope cleverly fends off aggressive suitors while pining for her beloved, who "did not come and did not come and did not ever come." Younger readers may be drawn first to Neil Philip's sumptuous but more abbreviated version of the epic (1996) or Mary Pope Osborne's ongoing, multi-volume rendition-but McCaughrean's vivid prose ("Then strings of water, like the stringing saliva in the corners of a mad dog's mouth, joined sea to sky, and waterspouts stood all round") really kicks the timeless, compelling tale into overdrive. (Nonfiction. 11-13)

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Product Details

Cricket Books
Publication date:
Heroes Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.84(w) x 8.26(h) x 0.72(d)
Age Range:
9 - 14 Years

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Odysseus 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Odysseus: A Retelling of the Odyssey Cricket books 2005 148 pp 8.50$ Geraldine McCaughrean ISBN 0-8126-2721-0 As one wave arrived, another was always drawing back again out to sea, out to the open sea that is always traveling, always traveling. Page 148 The Odyssey is the second part to Homer¿s classical Iliad and Odyssey. Ithaca¿s honorable king, Odysseus has started his voyage home from the ten-year siege of Troy. Everything goes wrong when a storm carries his fleet off course into a flood of dangers and enemies. Problems plague Odysseus and his men, from giants to mutiny, the most dangerous of which is the wrath of the sun and sea gods. Worse still, suitors are swarming into Ithaca to seek the hand of Odysseus¿ lovely queen, Penelope. Will Odysseus make it home in time or will he be replaced as Ithaca¿s king? Odysseus loves his family, Penelope his wife and his son Telemachus and The Odyssey describes his ten year voyage to get home to them. Odysseus left home when Telemachus was only a baby but Telemachus knows a tremendous amount about his father from heroic tales and descriptions from his mother. Penelope is the radiant queen of Ithaca. She misses Odysseus more every passing moment. Despite constant propaganda by her suitors Penelope continues to believe that her husband is still drawing breath. I think that the story of the Odyssey is one of the most incredible pieces of literature in history. Odysseus is the second version of the Odyssey I have read. I enjoyed that it was more detailed in some areas than the first version I read, however, I felt that some parts of the story could have been more descriptive. For example, when Ido the sea nymph rescues Odysseus, Geraldine McCaughrean more fully describes why the nymph rescues Odysseus, which makes the story more interesting. At another point, when Odysseus tricks Circe into transforming his men from pigs back into men, I thought the author could have provided much more detail to this very intriguing part of the story. The book focuses on ethics and courtesy and more so the lack there of. Examples of the lack of courtesy include the Cyclops eating Odysseus¿ men and also when Circe transformed Odysseus¿ men into pigs. The giants and the Cyclops are incredibly despicable with a blatant disregard for any common courtesy. The kings in this story, however, are much more kind and helpful. One king gives Odysseus the bag of winds, a magical bag containing the wind currants of the world the other king gives him a ship and protection from the furious Poseidon. With this help Odysseus finally returns home. This is a fantastic book that is perfect for fans of adventure and fantasy between the ages of nine and fourteen that are looking for a quick read. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mythology. Sam Sklar