HOW BEAUTIFUL Written by Antonella Capetti Illustrated by Melissa Castrillón (Greystone Kids; $17.95; Ages 4-8)…
PERCY JACKSON’S GREEK HEROES
Written by Rick Riordan
Illustrated by John Rocco
(Disney-Hyperion; $24.99, Ages 9-12)
You’ve read Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods and loved it, so now you’re ready for Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes and it will not disappoint. Here’s why …
“… We’re going back about 4,000 years to decapitate monsters, save some kingdoms, shoot a few gods in the butt, raid the Underworld, and steal loot from evil people.” (p. ix).
Oh no! Percy Jackson has “sold out” again. For free pepperoni pizza and blue jelly beans, Percy followed up his book on the ancient Greek gods with one on Greek heroes. So, for those who want to be famous monster fighters, Percy advises reading this book to learn from the heroes’ mistakes and to remind oneself that:
… no matter how much you think your life sucks, these guys and gals had it worse.
Percy embellishes the adventures of twelve ancient Greek heroes and heroines with lively commentary, snappy observations, and amusing references to contemporary culture. The irreverent Percy refers to Jason and his Argonauts as the “demigod dream team” (p. 237) and writes that:
Theseus was the original ADHD poster child. He was hyper in diapers (p.149).
Witty chapter titles, such as “Atlanta vs. Three Pieces of Fruit: the Ultimate Death Match,” are sure to keep young readers chuckling and turning the pages. In addition to recounting the tales of well-known heroes like Hercules, Percy shares those of lesser known heroes and heroines. Riordan’s inclusion of two heroines, Otrera and Cyrene, allows readers to see girls and women as heroes, something not often seen in ancient Greek society.
Rocco’s vivid and powerful illustrations will surely catch the attention of even reluctant readers, pulling them into the book. The breath-taking illustrations of Hercules slaying the hydra and Daedalus pulling Apollo’s chariot (on the inside front and back covers) reminded me of the Renaissance masters’ red chalk drawings. Two eye-popping and highly readable maps of the ancient Mediterranean world and the locations of Hercules’ twelve tasks are included along with background reading and websites.
Percy’s final words for would be heroes and heroines:
“… if you’re still determined to be a hero, you are beyond hope. Then again, I’m beyond hope and so are most of my friends, so … welcome to the club (p. 383).
Visit Riordan’s website to learn more about the author of Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes and check out his educational resources and event guides that tie into the popular Percy Jackson series. It’s also worth checking out the Percy Jackson website and Riordan’s blog. To learn more about Rocco’s work visit his website and Goodreads blog.
- Reviewed by Dornel Cerro