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THE ODYSSEY by Sam Ita Kirkus Star


A Pop-up Book

by illustrated by

Age Range: 10 - 13

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4027-5867-6
Publisher: Sterling

A highlight-reel version of Odysseus’ journey home, framed as a graphic novel and plastered with fantastically dramatic pop-ups and other special effects.

Opening with Penelope working on a tapestry that transforms into an entirely different scene with the drop of a step-flap, the tale plunges on into the many escapes of Odysseus and his crew: from Polyphemus, from Circe, the Sirens and (after visiting the land of the dead) from Scylla and Charybdis. Then it’s on to Ithaca for a slaughter of suitors with a bow strung with real string, peace at last after Zeus rears up to get everyone’s attention with a foil thunderbolt and a final clinch between Odysseus and Penelope as their connubial bed levitates to reveal the deep tree roots beneath. Ita (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, 2008) tells the tale in balloons of colloquial dialogue (“Where have you been for the last twenty years?” “Well, sweetheart, it’s an awfully long story”). Well-defined sequential panels give way to larger scenes of Polyphemus getting it in the eye with a sharpened log, of a ship with oars that row frantically with pulls of a tab, of Circe turning a man into a pig in a particularly masterful bit of paper engineering and other climactic moments. As transitions range from quick to nonexistent and the order in which gatefolds should be lifted isn’t always evident, some familiarity with the original is recommended—but even newbies will be riveted by this nonstop, high-energy retelling.

Homer himself would be agog. (Pop-up classic. 10-13)