Shapeshifters: Tales from Ovid's Metamorphoses

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Bursting into life in the hands of Adrian Mitchell, here are some of the brightest, loveliest, and most powerful myths ever written. Recreated from Ovid's Metamorphoses, these stories, ballads, and headline news articles let the Minotaur, King Midas, Arachne, Bacchus, Persephone, and many more haunting figures walk the Earth once more. Stunning artwork by Alan Lee, the most acclaimed fantasy illustrator of our time, brings to life these stories, creating a children's classic to bewitch a new generation raised in...
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Overview


Bursting into life in the hands of Adrian Mitchell, here are some of the brightest, loveliest, and most powerful myths ever written. Recreated from Ovid's Metamorphoses, these stories, ballads, and headline news articles let the Minotaur, King Midas, Arachne, Bacchus, Persephone, and many more haunting figures walk the Earth once more. Stunning artwork by Alan Lee, the most acclaimed fantasy illustrator of our time, brings to life these stories, creating a children's classic to bewitch a new generation raised in a world of special effects.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Powerfully illustrated, this is a handsome introduction to some of the best-known stories about the Greek gods and goddesses and their legendary powers of transformation. Adrian Mitchell's vivid verse and prose retelings reflect the humor, pathos and often downright tragedy of each story by capturing the reasons for the shape-shifting and the usually devastating consequences of it.…The Guardian

There's just time to mention an actual classic, Ovid's Metamorphoses, as reimagined by the late, great Adrain Mitchell. Shapeshifters humbles every other entrant on the list with its humanity. Smuggle it into the adults' stockings, too.…The Independent on Sunday

There’s enough about humanity’s dreams and fears in Shapeshifters to last a child for life.…The Times London

Adrian Mitchell's Shapeshifters is sub-titled Tales from Ovid's Metamorphoses. But the late poet was no dry-as-dust antiquary, and this collection remains super-accessible throughout. Sometimes in prose, elsewhere in poetry, it retells famous myths from King Midas to Orpheus in the Underworld. Sumptuously illustrated by Alan Lee, it is a book for ever as well as for all ages… The Independent UK

Transforming Ovid’s epic Metamorphoses into a book for children sounds like a tall order but the late poet Adrian Mitchell has pulled it off in style. SHAPESHIFTERS, with exquisite illustrations by Alan Lee, is a magical collection of stories and poems that bring to life the myths of Persephone, Icarus, King Midas and many more.…Daily Express UK

Older children who like poetry and the ancient world will relish the powerful Shapeshifters: Tales from Ovid’s Metamorphoses by Adrian Mitchell with sinister but brilliant illustrations by Alan Lee Part poetry, part prose, it tells both familiar stories — Persephone, Orpheus, the Minotaur — and many less well known but just as dramatic.…The Spectator UK

Children's Literature - K. Meghan Robertson
This book is a unique look into the work of the ancient poet Ovid. Ovid is well-known for his Metamorphoses, myths about the transformations of people and things. While the authentic Latin text is often not introduced until later years of Latin study, this compilation of Ovid's work is a great basic, introductory reader of the famous stories. Although liberty has been taken with the interpretation of the original Latin, these translations are relatively clear, though some language may be difficult to understand for younger readers. Stories of Phaethon, Arachne, the Minotaur, Narcissus, and many others are retold through both prose and poetry. The accompanying artwork for each page is astounding with the detail and vivid use of color, though some of the images are perhaps a bit more real than one's initial thought of mythological pictures might bring. However, this would be a great resource for teachers of earlier years of Latin because of the larger font and illustrations and because it could provide opportunity for easing into the study of the original myth. This is also a great extension of basic mythology for students who have an interest in that area. Reviewer: K. Meghan Robertson
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—This volume renders some of the more familiar of Ovid's tales into a form accessible to today's readers. Many of the stories demonstrate the folly of acting against the gods as the shapeshifting of the title is most often a divine punishment for overly proud mortals. Jove and his philandering also feature prominently as do the story of Dis and Persephone and several tales of Daedalus. Mitchell tells many of these myths in prose, others in various poetic forms, some more successful than others. The occasional lapses into present-day vernacular are surprising but don't ruin the overall mood. Lee, most famous for his depictions of Tolkein's works, does superb work here. His images of gods, demigods, mortals, and the natural world surround the text and, in a few instances, cover entire pages, giving life to the words. True to the stories, he does paint a bare-breasted nymph here and there. Mitchell doesn't hesitate, either, to include some of the more gruesome tales, such as that of Erysichthon, a king cursed by Ceres who eventually ate himself. This gorgeous retelling should satisfy young people looking for tales from classical mythology.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Kirkus Reviews

Percy Jackson & Co. have aroused an interest in Classical (Greek and Roman) mythology, making this collection especially timely. In this marvelous re-creation of myth from Ovid, the late Mitchell has rewritten them, as he says in the introduction, "to make them more like themselves." The language is simple and contemporary,moving from rhyme to free verse to prose and back again.The words are marvelously apropos, describing Bacchus as "all belly and beard" or rhyming "transmogrifications" with "grasshopperations." All of these stories explore mystery: the origins of flowers, mountains, lakes. Pygmalion, Persephone, Midas and Arachne all appear here. The gods, being lusty and capricious sorts, are allowed the freedom of their appetites. Lee, famed illustrator of Middle Earth, makes men and women, gods and beasts, sea, sky and leaf shimmer on the page. The last image is of a broken helmet and columned ruin next to an open book nestled in a profusion of wildflowers, elegantly echoing (Echo is here, too) the closing lines, "my words will live / while people love them." (dramatis personae, notes, pronunciation guide) (Mythology. 12 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781845075361
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books
  • Publication date: 3/23/2010
  • Pages: 143
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 11.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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