Poetry Friday: Lunch with Laura, or if you give a mouse a cookie...
Rabbit Hill Festival of Literature, Oct. 21-23

Reading Aloud: The Odyssey


No, not that one.

This version. It's for kids.


The Adventures of Odysseus makes a darn good read-aloud for thrill-seeking ten year olds; we just finished it here at our house. Using several translations of the Homerian classic and other sources, Hugh Lupton and Daniel Morden fashion a rollicking prose adaptation, and tell the story of the Trojan War hero's long trip back to Ithaca—but in some 100 illustrated pages as opposed to 600 plain ones.

Nineteen years to get home! I-95 traffic is nothing compared to the nasty Cyclops, a livid Poseidon, and a man-eating dragon, all of which Odysseus encounters. And what beautiful colors this book employs. Christina Balit's sunny yellows and oranges, gloomy grays, and sea-colored blues and greens illuminate the journey; her Art Deco/Greek vase-style motif works especially well with the ships, animals, and raging waters.

Grown-ups might want to catch up with the C.P. Cavafy poem "Ithaka," which Maurice Tempelsman, Jacqueline Onassis's companion, read at her funeral. "Hope the voyage is a long one./ May there be many a summer morning when,/ with what pleasure, what joy,/ you come into harbors seen for the first time." I love that.

Lupton, Hugh, and Daniel Morden. The Adventures of Odysseus. Barefoot Books, 2006.

Thanks to Powell's Books for the covers.


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I used to read to my children all the time, but I never, ever considered reading classics! Maybe if there are grandchildren!

Yes, this is a good one! Jr. has enjoyed a couple of adaptations of classics, but this is one of the first we read aloud. Usually I'm reading something to him along the lines of the hilarious Origami Yoda or Cornelia Funke's Ghost Hunters series.

Hugh Lupton is a wonderful oral storyteller - I've been lucky enough to see him live a couple of times. I've not read anything he's written, so I'd be really interested to see if his energy comes through on the printed page.

Zoe, that is wonderful that you've been able to see Hugh Lupton! This book really made a good read-aloud for the 10 year old and me. I learned a little something, too!

Okay. I am impressed. We never tried any version of The Odyssey for reading aloud. I can't say I'm fond of it, myself, but so many contemporary books use the structure that it's a great story to be familiar with.

Hi, Gail. Some years back we'd read a picture book about the Cyclops, and I think that helped set the stage, so to speak.

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