An expertly crafted rendition and a welcome invitation to younger readers to immerse themselves in the ancient past.

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THE ILIAD

“Sing to me, O Muse, of the rage of Achilles”: a rousing graphic rendition of Homer’s great epic.

It’s a blood-soaked poem of primeval war, one ostensibly fought over a certain daughter of Zeus who turned the wrong head—“Or possibly an apple, or a lot of gold, or control of trade routes”—that brought vast armies to the plains of Troy. In a fight personified by two heroes, Trojan Hector and Greek Achilles, there’s more than a little graphic violence here—but nothing other than what Homer himself described, as when Achilles’ spear finds Hector’s neck, followed by Achilles’ intemperate curse: “Your corpse goes to the dogs.” That’s not very sporting, and of course Achilles gets his comeuppance. Hinds allows that his version is not complete, but all the best bits are there, and he provides some helpful interpretive hints—identifying the principal helmeted Greek and Trojan warriors with subtle alphabetical designs on their breastplates, for instance. The best graphic panels are the ones that show the war’s vastness, with a two-page spread of those famed thousand ships crossing the Hellespont, another panel showing the Greek army spilling out onto the plain, “like the great flock of migrating birds that take wing in the meadows by the stream of Caÿster—as numerous as the leaves of a forest.” An author’s note and page-by-page notes provide further context.

An expertly crafted rendition and a welcome invitation to younger readers to immerse themselves in the ancient past. (map, bibliography) (Graphic adaptation. 10-adult)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8113-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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GUTS

THE TRUE STORIES BEHIND HATCHET AND THE BRIAN BOOKS

Paulsen recalls personal experiences that he incorporated into Hatchet (1987) and its three sequels, from savage attacks by moose and mosquitoes to watching helplessly as a heart-attack victim dies. As usual, his real adventures are every bit as vivid and hair-raising as those in his fiction, and he relates them with relish—discoursing on “The Fine Art of Wilderness Nutrition,” for instance: “Something that you would never consider eating, something completely repulsive and ugly and disgusting, something so gross it would make you vomit just looking at it, becomes absolutely delicious if you’re starving.” Specific examples follow, to prove that he knows whereof he writes. The author adds incidents from his Iditarod races, describes how he made, then learned to hunt with, bow and arrow, then closes with methods of cooking outdoors sans pots or pans. It’s a patchwork, but an entertaining one, and as likely to win him new fans as to answer questions from his old ones. (Autobiography. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-32650-5

Page Count: 150

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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FREE-FIRE ZONE

From the Vietnam series , Vol. 3

The third installment of Lynch’s Vietnam War series follows Rudi, one of four friends who enlisted at the same time and are now in separate branches of the military.

Friends since fourth grade in Boston, Rudi, Ivan, Morris and Beck pledged to not go to Vietnam voluntarily, but if one received a draft notice, they would all sign up, a friendship bond of a small band of brothers. Morris’ narrative came first, followed by Ivan’s (I Pledge Allegiance, 2011; Sharpshooter, 2012). Here, Rudi relates his experiences in the Marine Corps, where Rudi, always the slow learner thought not to be good at anything, finds something at which he excels: taking orders. Good soldier becomes his identity, until the war takes its toll. Each experience—his first confirmed kill, a serious leg injury, the murder of his lieutenant and his harrowing experience in a tunnel—changes Rudi, until, eventually, he feels the old Rudi is dead, “left him right down in that hole.” The best of the excellent series so far, this volume is more graphic than the first two but still appropriate for the intended audience. Solid character development and deft plotting make this a work that can stand by itself, but with the forthcoming final installment, the completed series will feel monumental indeed. A fine portrayal of friends and war. (Historical fiction. 10-14)    

 

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-27025-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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