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SHAPESHIFTERS by Adrian Mitchell Kirkus Star


Tales From Ovid's Metamorphoses

adapted by Adrian Mitchell & illustrated by Alan Lee

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-84580-536-1
Publisher: Frances Lincoln

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)