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The Hero and the Minotaur: The Fantastic Adventures of Theseus

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Lavishly illustrated and impeccably researched, this is a dynamic retelling of one of the greatest adventure stories of all time. Join Theseus as he solves the mystery of his birth, vanquishes a colorful cast of robbers, and volunteers to slay the frightful half-bull, half-man devouring the children of Athens. In a captivating tale for readers of all ages, destinies tragic and glorious splendidly unfold.This is a sure bet for fans of mythology and a wonderful introduction for readers who have not yet discovered ...

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Overview

Lavishly illustrated and impeccably researched, this is a dynamic retelling of one of the greatest adventure stories of all time. Join Theseus as he solves the mystery of his birth, vanquishes a colorful cast of robbers, and volunteers to slay the frightful half-bull, half-man devouring the children of Athens. In a captivating tale for readers of all ages, destinies tragic and glorious splendidly unfold.This is a sure bet for fans of mythology and a wonderful introduction for readers who have not yet discovered the fascinating world of the ancient Greeks.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The timeless tales of Greek mythology are an important part of our cultural heritage as well as being exciting stories. Theseus is a hero from his early years. Finding the golden sandals and sword left for him by his father, King Aegeus, he sets off for Athens to meet him, besting a giant and an ogre on the way. In Athens, he joins the youths and maidens sent to be sacrificed to the fearsome half-bull/half-man Minotaur. With the help of Princess Ariadne, he kills the Minotaur and escapes with her from the labyrinth prison. Byrd includes the tragic flight of Icarus in his lengthy retelling, as well as the fate of Ariadne and the sad end of Aegeus due to Theseus's mistake on his return. The end-papers offer a picture map identifying the location and route of Theseus's adventures. The visual tale is told in detailed scenes produced with black-ink lines and watercolors in a style suggesting the decorative art of ancient Greece. The costumes, architecture, and ship all set the historic stage for the exciting dramatic events. 2005, Dutton Children's Books/Penguin Young Readers Group, Ages 6 to 10.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-From the birth of Greece, wrought by Poseidon's shaking his trident, to Theseus's rule over the mountainous land of the Ancients, this retelling of the hero's mythical adventures is a joy to read. Byrd masterfully interweaves the legends of Aegeus, Heracles, the Minotaur, Ariadne, and Icarus with the story of Theseus. Myths that are normally quite complicated become easy to decipher in this outstanding version, for Byrd tells the tales simply and clearly, including important details and tying up all loose ends so that everything blends together seamlessly. The pen-and-watercolor illustrations are painstakingly drawn and include numerous small period details that heighten the sense of history. The paintings abound in rich Mediterranean colors, and there is a sense of movement on every page. While the heads and feet of the characters may seem disproportionately large, it seems a simple but suitable way to suggest that these characters are larger than life. The influences of ancient Greek art are everywhere, from the key designs on the title page to the carved prow of Theseus's ship; in fact, many of the designs were copied from actual ancient artifacts. The endpaper maps trace the hero's route from Athens to Crete and back and provide a quick visual retelling of the story, using miniature versions of the characters featured in the regular illustrations. Keeping with the tradition of D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths (Random, 1992), Byrd's book is sure to take its rightful place among classic retellings of timeless tales.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Paired with stylized, full-bleed views of strong-featured figures in classical Greek dress, and generally posed in profile, Byrd retells a melded tale that includes not only Theseus's birth, early feats and battle with the Minotaur, but also the imprisonment and flight of Daedalus and Icarus. In general, he sticks to the most familiar versions of these tales, though he is selective in his choice of incidents to include. He also casts Icarus and Ariadne as friends, and has Theseus abandon Ariadne at the behest of Dionysus, rather than for the usual-and less defensible-reasons. Children who have difficulty warming to the illustrations in Warwick Hutton's distant, 1989 rendition may find these scenes of Theseus facing off against a succession of huge, ugly ogres, capped by a climactic dustup with the toothy, fire-breathing Minotaur, suitably rousing-but for a decidedly contrarian view, steer more able readers then to Patrice Kindl's Lost in the Labyrinth (2002). (Picture book/folktale. 8-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525473916
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/21/2005
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: AD1050L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.28 (w) x 10.36 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Mr. Byrd is a successful commercial artist and children's book illustrator whose award-winning picture books include The Bear and the Bird King. Robert Byrd lives in Haddonfield, New Jersey.
Mr. Byrd is a successful commercial artist and children's book illustrator whose award-winning picture books include The Bear and the Bird King. Robert Byrd lives in Haddonfield, New Jersey.

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