HERCULES by Robert Burleigh


Age Range: 6 - 9
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He kills the savage lion; he destroys the dreaded, nine-headed hydra; he captures the guarded golden apples from the end of the earth. He is the subject of this latest picture book from Burleigh (Home Run, 1998, etc.), working in ballad form. The arresting cover, in which the hero’s face fills the frame, introduces readers to this mythological man-god, known for his unsurpassed feats of endurance and strength. The story makes mention of a few of Hercules’s 12 labors, but zeroes in on the last and most thrilling challenge—to conquer Cerberus, the monster dog that guards the gates to the Underworld. Clad in the magic pelt of the lion, Hercules ferries across the River Styx and descends into the realm of Hades. Tension mounts as Hercules tussles with the snakey, three-headed beast, fighting for his freedom, and overtaking Cerberus bare-handed. The enticing battle is the central action here, framed only with allusions to other mythological details. Col¢n casts Hercules as larger-than-life, a man who traverses spooky underworld scenes with uncommon muscle and majesty. His textured, colored-pencil drawings emulate friezes, highlighting the chiseled features of Hercules in all his statuesque glory and heroism. (Picture book/folklore. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-15-201667-8
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1999