Monday, July 10, 2017

Book Review- Black Ships Before Troy- The Story of THE ILIAD



Welcome to Middle Grade Monday! Today I am reviewing Black Ships Before Troy- The Story of THE ILIAD, a children's retelling by Rosemary Sutcliff and Illustrated by Alan. Lee. This book won the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal. It was previously released in Great Britain, but has now come to the US.

The Story-
Well, it's the story of THE ILIAD, Homer's epic poem about the war between Troy and Greece all because Aphrodite wanted Paris and Helen together, so Helen leaves her husband for Paris, and a decade long war begins.

My Thoughts-
What caused me to pick up this book in the first place was the excitement of seeing THE ILIAD retold for children. I remember having to read the full thing in college, and though I loved its mate, THE ODYSSEY, I stumbled through the long, long prose of THE ILIAD. So, I wanted to see if it was even possible to remake this poem easy enough for children to read.

The answer is a definite YES! Wow, this retelling is so easy to follow. Gone are the long winded speeches (sorry classic lovers) and instead the author sums up the story into easy to read chapters that allow children to understand the time line, get to know the characters without confusion, and still feel the excitement of the battles.

Now, I don't see younger middle graders picking this up, but I do see pre-teens and history loving kids giving it a looksie. The illustrations give an added treasure to this gem. The pages are bracketed by wonderful art that tells the story through pictures. The classic dress and armor will give kids a look into the authentic culture of ancient Greece.

This retelling is a success and I give it 5 stars as a history winner!


10 comments:

  1. I saw this offered through the Cricket Magazine website. It looks gorgeous. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the background on this one. Sounds like a good choice for middle school libraries.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a great idea. I'll pass this one on to my local one.

      Delete
  3. Thanks for sharing this book today. Reading these books in my youth was painful. I don't remember more of the Odyssey than the Iliad. I like the title and cover. This would be a good refresher for adults.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, it was much easier to read than the whole Iliad. As an adult there was a lot of the story I had forgotten.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm intrigued this was even attempted, and even more intrigued that they pulled it off! I confess that I never felt I got a real handle on The Iliad, and I wonder if this book could be just the thing to help with that.
    Thanks for the recommendation, and happy MMGM!

    --Suzanne
    www.suzannewarr.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love this version of the Iliad. I was so pleased to find a rendition for this age group. Thanks for your thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This sounds really intriguing. I only read the Odyssey in college; I somehow skipped the Iliad, but this sounds like a good way to remedy that. I'm also glad to hear about this because both my sons will be studying ancient history next year, so this would be a good one for them.
    Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This would be a good way to go. Plus, Odysseus is a side character here.

      Delete