Monday, 10 December 2012

The Adventures of Achilles

Years ago I was teaching the history of the world art in school. I wish I had this edition of The Adventures of Achilles (Hugh Lupton, Daniel Morden & Carole Henaff) from Barefoot Books then to help me with the visual material for the lessons in Greek mythology.
This book is a true feast for eyes. The panel and border illustrations by Carole Henaff depict both gods and humans and remind of the images from the ancient Greek vases. It is a homage to the ancient Greek art without actually copying it, but giving it a modern twist.

This edition comes with two full-length CDs so that you can listen to the riveting retelling of the Iliad and be transfixed with the story of the Trojan War, its  causes and violent progress. The young audience will get their first taste of Homer's language with the references to Apollo, the Lord of Light, the Mighty Archer, to ox-eyed Hera, owl-eyed Athene and Great Father Zeus, the Cloud Compeller.

I have read some rather critical reviews of this book on GoodReads, which accuse the book of being too sophisticated for the younger audience or being too grim. Yes, some of its content is too dark for the younger children, but that is true with most of the Greek myths, they are pretty much sombre and morbid. I must have read the Greek Myths for the first time when I was 8 or 9 (and several times afterwards including recently). Many of the storylines were totally alien to me, but it was such a fascinating world, with its own rules and logic.

This edition is a brilliant combination of the most compelling narrative retold in modern language, striking art of illustration and a fabulous audio-recording.
As you may have read, the original Greek statues were brightly painted. These paints have become very faint or completely disappeared after thousands of years, but the Infrared and X-ray spectroscopy helped the scientists to see the original colours. I imagine they used the same intense blues and terracottas as the artist of The Adventures of Achilles.

My older son and I took our time to go through the book, as we listened to the story in installments. This is a thought-provoking book, and I would suggest reading this book or listening to the CD together with your child.

Score: 10/10

Disclosure: We recieved a free copy of the book for the purposes of reviewing. All opinions are ours.

1 comment:

  1. I'd love this for my son - and I think it's good for them to see the dark side of history too.