- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Children's LiteratureAnger and revenge, love and jealousy, bloodshed and remorse—all the things that adults try to protect children from—are here. Blame it on the gods and great authors like Homer and Virgil, who wrote about the legendary Trojan War. But there is a new angle here. The heroes, gods, and others speak out during the 10-year battle. The story begins with an invocation, Cassandra's prophetic chant, and the judgment of Paris. Aphrodite says: "I pity our bitter cow-eyed queen,/but I loathe that battle-axe, Athene." Much later in the war, Achilles' wrath at Hector for killing his friend is expressed: "Patroklos, my friend, is dead;/in anger, I cannot mourn./This fire burns in my head,/ this flame of hatred born." Even the wooden horse has a voice: "lift me hold me/help me please/make it through this night." And Helen has the last word: "tell the world I wasn't there." The voices are humanized through humor, straight talk, and a gamut of emotions. Avoiding the unrhymed iambic pentameter of the old epics, the author uses varied rhyme schemes, free verse, and shaped poems that are accessible to the younger reader. Adults, too, should appreciate the well-crafted, fresh approach to an ancient tale. The illustrations complement the text with their dramatic, simply sculpted style. The publication is aptly timed to coincide with the movie Troy and hopefully will inspire readers to tackle the original Greek and Latin authors. Background notes on the author and Trojan history are not included, but a bibliography is. 2004, Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster Children's Publishers Division, and Ages 9 to 12.
—Carol Raker Collins, Ph.D.