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ODYSSEUS by Geraldine McCaughrean

ODYSSEUS

By Geraldine McCaughrean

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-8126-2721-0
Publisher: Cricket

The much-honored McCaughrean opens a series featuring heroes of antiquity with a characteristically rousing retelling of The Odyssey. Rearranging the original’s flashbacks into a linear narrative, she follows Odysseus and his rapidly slaughtered crew from the Island of the Lotus Eaters to his final journey inland to appease the enraged Poseidon for good. Meanwhile, she occasionally shifts the scene to Mount Olympus or back to Ithaca, where Penelope cleverly fends off aggressive suitors while pining for her beloved, who “did not come and did not come and did not ever come.” Younger readers may be drawn first to Neil Philip’s sumptuous but more abbreviated version of the epic (1996) or Mary Pope Osborne’s ongoing, multi-volume rendition—but McCaughrean’s vivid prose (“Then strings of water, like the stringing saliva in the corners of a mad dog’s mouth, joined sea to sky, and waterspouts stood all round”) really kicks the timeless, compelling tale into overdrive. (Nonfiction. 11-13)