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GILGAMESH THE HERO by Geraldine McCaughrean Kirkus Star


by Geraldine McCaughrean & illustrated by David Parkins

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-8028-5262-9
Publisher: Eerdmans

McCaughrean turns in a robust, exciting rendition of the world’s oldest written epic. After many astounding feats, proud, powerful king Gilgamesh sees his beloved sidekick Enkidu die, and becomes terrified of doing the same. Abandoning self-respect, he searches the world for the secret of immortality, crosses the Waters of Death to hear the tale of undying Utnapisthim (better knows as Noah), and at last returns home, to make wiser bids for immortality by telling his tale, and raising children. Thanks to the former, as McCaughrean points out, he’s better known today than Ishtar, Enlil, or any of the other “immortal” gods he fought and worshiped. Enhanced by Parkins’s expressionistic tableaus of gnarled, dramatically posed figures, she relates his adventures with gusto—“Gilgamesh calmly strung his bow. ‘Don’t launch the funeral barge yet. What can go wrong with the two of us side by side?’ ‘Do you really want me to tell you?’ said Enkidu”—while vividly capturing his pride, soul-deep anguish, and the personal cost of his hard-won wisdom. The most riveting retelling yet of this ancient, ageless tale. (introductory note) (Folktale. 10-14)