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Mary Pope Osborne's Tales from the Odyssey: The One-Eyed Giant/the Land
of the Dead is a
retelling for young children of a few of the more popular tales from Homers Odyssey. Additional information about
Homer, the Illiad/Odyssey, and Greek
gods/goddess in supplied to fill in background for the young listener.
Mary Pope Osborne's Tales from the Odyssey
is a six-book series that retells
the tales of Homers Odyssey for children. Book I is entitled The
One-Eyed Giant. The book
opens with a very brief summary of the story of the Illiad giving the
background of the Trojan War, the tale of the Trojan horse, and a little
background for Odysseus, the main character of the Odyssey, and how he
was entrapped into fighting in the war. Finally, the story moves from the Illiad
to the Odyssey, or the story of Odysseus attempt to return home begins.
In Book I entitled The One-Eyed Giant After the War, Odysseus sets sail with seven
ships and 130 men. The first
island on which Odysseus and his men land is the isle of the lotus eaters.
The men who eat the lotus on this isle are lulled into an opiate stupor from
which they never regain consciousness. On the next island on which Odysseus and
his men land they encounter a Cyclops or The One-Eyed Giant of the books title. The one-eyed giant is named Polyphemus and he is not
opposed to dining on Odysseus men. In the style of Greek myths, Odysseus defeats Polyphemus, but not before Odysseus learns a terrible lesson about his own ego and by paying a
horrible price in ships, lives, and time.
In Book II entitled The Land of the Dead Odysseus and his men continue on their journey home. At the next island that they visit,
they encounter the wind god and his family. After a long refreshing stay, the
wind god presents Odysseus with a very special gift to assist them on their
journey. Unfortunately, within sight of home, Odysseus men become greedy and
try to steal the wind gods gift sending the remaining fleet far from their
desired destination. At their next stop, Odysseus and his men encounter Circe,
the evil sorceress. Once more they barely escape with their hide
literally! At the conclusion of Book II, Odysseus journeys to the Land
of the Dead in order to speak to a dead seer, but while there he also encounters
some one he does not want to meet in the Land of the Dead. Book II also
includes a short family history of the major gods and goddesses, a
pronunciation guide, and additional information about Homer and Greek
Mary Pope Osborne is the author of
many highly acclaimed picture books, early chapter books, middle-grade
biographies, and young adult novels. She has also written many acclaimed
retellings of myths, folktales, and works of historical fiction. Osborne was
the twenty-seventh president of the Authors Guild and currently is a member of
their Board of Directors. Mary Pope Osborne is the author of the bestselling
series The Magic Tree House (28
books), eight Magic Tree House
Research Guides (8 books) Spider Kane
Mysteries (2 books) as well as The
Brave Little Seamstress (May 2002) and New
York's Bravest (Aug 2002). Osborne lives in Connecticut. Mary Pope Osborne's Tales from the Odyssey: Sirens and Sea Monsters (Book 3) will
be release in June 2003.
Simmons is the narrator of Mary Pope Osborne's Tales from the Odyssey:
The One-Eyed Giant/the Land of the Dead. He is a stage and television performer and appeared in the film Henry V.
Pope Osborne's Tales from the Odyssey: The One-Eyed Giant/the Land of the Dead is a wonderful introduction to the
tales of Homer and to Greek mythology in general for young children. As Mary Pope Osborne
states in her introduction it was her early encounter with the tales of
Homer that started her on her career as a rewriter of the tales for children.
This book is rated Grades 4-8. While the tales
can not be told without some violence, it is not graphic and quite
appropriate for young children. I recommend it.
© 2003 Su Terry
Su Terry: Education: B.A. in History from
Sacred Heart University, M.L.S. in Library Science from Southern Connecticut
State College, M.R.S. in Religious Studies/Pastoral Counseling from Fairfield
University, a M.Div. in Professional Ministry from
New Brunswick Theological Seminary, a Certificate in Spirituality/Spiritual
Direction from Sacred Heart University. She is a Licensed Minister of the
United Church of Christ and an Assistant Professor in Library Science at Dowling
Island, NY. Interests in Mental
Health: She is interested in the interplay between psychology, biology, and
mysticism. Her current area of research is in the impact of hormonal
fluctuation in female Christian mystics.