Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Hercules: The Twelve Labors. A Greek Myth

Hercules: The Twelve Labors. A Greek Myth by Paul Storrie, illustrated by Steve Kurth. Copy donated by Graphic Universe, in support of the Cybils. Graphic Novel. Cybils long list.

The Plot: Ancient Greece, Hercules, twelve labors.

The Good: Hercules is one of those people who are "in" the common knowledge, but really, how much do you really know? Seriously, can you name even half of the twelve labors? Without peeking over at Wikipedia, of course. This Graphic Novel is a great introduction for younger readers.

Storrie tells this part of the Hercules saga with lots of action and humor. During one labor, there is the boast that "my club will strike you down!" followed by a "perhaps not" when the club does not in fact slay the beast.

The illustrations are colorful; and since this is a classic retelling, using original sources, Kurth illustrates the book to reflect Ancient Greece, in the architecture and dress.

Also good: a map to help the reader understand Hercules' travels as he performed his twelve labors. I love maps, what can I say! Plus, there are websites for those who want to learn more.

Myths and legends can be a tricky thing for kids; while kids like to read about them, and schools like to teach them, they weren't originally for children. Which means the question arises: how much to include? What to exclude? For example, this version of the Twelve Labors is told without any mention of Hercules killing his wife and children.

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