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The Children's Homer: The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy

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Travel back to a mythical time when Achilles, aided by the gods, waged war against the Trojans. And join Odysseus on his journey through murky waters, facing obstacles like the terrifying Scylla and whirring Charybdis, the beautiful enchantress Circe, and the land of the raging Cyclôpes. Using narrative threads from The Iliad and The Odyssey, Padraic Colum weaves a stunnin Travel back to a mythical time when Achilles, aided by the gods, waged war against the Trojans. And join Odysseus on his journey through murky waters, facing obstacles like the terrifying Scylla and whirring Charybdis, the beautiful enchantress Circe, and the land of the raging Cyclôpes. Using narrative threads from The Iliad and The Odyssey, Padraic Colum weaves a stunning adventure with all the drama and power that Homer intended.


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Travel back to a mythical time when Achilles, aided by the gods, waged war against the Trojans. And join Odysseus on his journey through murky waters, facing obstacles like the terrifying Scylla and whirring Charybdis, the beautiful enchantress Circe, and the land of the raging Cyclôpes. Using narrative threads from The Iliad and The Odyssey, Padraic Colum weaves a stunnin Travel back to a mythical time when Achilles, aided by the gods, waged war against the Trojans. And join Odysseus on his journey through murky waters, facing obstacles like the terrifying Scylla and whirring Charybdis, the beautiful enchantress Circe, and the land of the raging Cyclôpes. Using narrative threads from The Iliad and The Odyssey, Padraic Colum weaves a stunning adventure with all the drama and power that Homer intended.

30 review for The Children's Homer: The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Johnnie

    This is the perfect ORAL reading for young children. The language is beautiful and very similar to the word pictures Homer displayed for his audience. I recommend that adults that missed out on The Iliad and The Odyssey as students begin their TRUE education by reading this version. The list of characters is HUGE so this easy to read version puts everyone is place on the stage of Ancient Greece. If you have never read Greek Mythology have your smartphone off for Googling because even though the This is the perfect ORAL reading for young children. The language is beautiful and very similar to the word pictures Homer displayed for his audience. I recommend that adults that missed out on The Iliad and The Odyssey as students begin their TRUE education by reading this version. The list of characters is HUGE so this easy to read version puts everyone is place on the stage of Ancient Greece. If you have never read Greek Mythology have your smartphone off for Googling because even though the books is "for children" there is nothing light weight about this volume. While picture books help children stay focused on the story, this book with clean black and white drawings forces the child to create images of his own. We all know we remember what we create longer and clearer than what we merely see. My sons loved this book as children and reread as young adults. I am reading it again right now for only the 20th time. It doesn't get better than this.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nickie

    I read this child's revision of The Iliad and The Odyssey to my three children ages 7-10. We all liked this introduction to Greek literature. I was encouraged to purchase lectures on both stories from The Teaching Company. The lectures have opened my mind to help prepare me for when I do read the full English translation of both stories. You are introduced to all these names you might have heard growing up. Like Achilles, Paris, Hector, the Greek gods,Helen, Agamemnon,and on and on. This is a good I read this child's revision of The Iliad and The Odyssey to my three children ages 7-10. We all liked this introduction to Greek literature. I was encouraged to purchase lectures on both stories from The Teaching Company. The lectures have opened my mind to help prepare me for when I do read the full English translation of both stories. You are introduced to all these names you might have heard growing up. Like Achilles, Paris, Hector, the Greek gods,Helen, Agamemnon,and on and on. This is a good way to start with great classics.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dulci

    Really good book! I read this to my kids, ages 5, 9, and 10. We all really enjoyed reading this as we were studying ancient times. We avoided the confusion that other reviewers have mentioned by making a little chart to put on the wall. Whenever we came across someone like Paris in the story, we could refer to the chart to remind us of who that was. I never read (nor in all honesty do I intend to read) the unabridged versions of Homer's tales. This book was all the story with a little less labor Really good book! I read this to my kids, ages 5, 9, and 10. We all really enjoyed reading this as we were studying ancient times. We avoided the confusion that other reviewers have mentioned by making a little chart to put on the wall. Whenever we came across someone like Paris in the story, we could refer to the chart to remind us of who that was. I never read (nor in all honesty do I intend to read) the unabridged versions of Homer's tales. This book was all the story with a little less labor in the reading. What more can a busy mom ask for? :)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    I really enjoyed reading Padraic Colum's The Children's Homer, a retelling--originally published in 1918--of the Iliad and the Odyssey. You should know from the start that it is a prose retelling. The story opens by introducing readers to Telemachus, the now grown son of Odysseus. When Telemachus was just a baby--just a month old--his father went off to war, to fight in the Trojan War. The war took ten long, agonizing years. But it's been over for just as many--ten long years. Telemachus and his I really enjoyed reading Padraic Colum's The Children's Homer, a retelling--originally published in 1918--of the Iliad and the Odyssey. You should know from the start that it is a prose retelling. The story opens by introducing readers to Telemachus, the now grown son of Odysseus. When Telemachus was just a baby--just a month old--his father went off to war, to fight in the Trojan War. The war took ten long, agonizing years. But it's been over for just as many--ten long years. Telemachus and his mother, Penelope, need to know: Is Odysseus dead or alive? If he's alive, where is he? Why hasn't he come home yet? They are not the only one curious. Plenty of men want to know too. But. They're hoping that Odysseus is dead and not alive. Why?! They want a chance at Penelope. They've come to "woo" her. That and to eat and drink a lot at the estate's expense. Telemachus wants it to stop. It angers him to see so many men about the place anxiously trying to become Penelope's new husband. So what can he do about it? For one, he can set out on a quest of his own to see if he can find traces of his father's story. Because Telemachus has at least one or two gods or goddesses on his side, he is somewhat mostly successful. He hears ALL about the Trojan war. Not just about his father, but, about many men--many soldiers. Including Achilles and Hector and Paris. He also learns that his father survived the war and is trying to come back home. The second half of the book is about Odysseus' journey back home and how he handled or resolved the situation with all those men chasing after his wife. It is mainly if not exclusively from Odysseus' point of view. Readers see a couple of happy reunions along the way. Plenty of action and adventure happens in both sections as the war and its aftermath is recounted. It is an interesting read. Parts of it felt very familiar to me. Overall, it was just a pleasant, enjoyable read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Lancaster

    It was sooo good!!!! I loved the War of Troy and I have heard about the Trojan horse and everything and the war but making all the connections was so like “Ohhh so that’s what that means!” And it was just so so good, I recommend this book to anyone!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    What a FANTASTIC version of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. I recommend this even to adults who don't want to put the time into the full versions of both classics. It gives you a great summary that moves a little quicker, obviously. My kids, well... one of them (6) actually loved every minute of it. The other kid (5) tolerated it well and actually followed the events better than I anticipated. She liked hearing the specific tales (Horse, Cyclops, ... the bloody battle) rather than sticking around for What a FANTASTIC version of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. I recommend this even to adults who don't want to put the time into the full versions of both classics. It gives you a great summary that moves a little quicker, obviously. My kids, well... one of them (6) actually loved every minute of it. The other kid (5) tolerated it well and actually followed the events better than I anticipated. She liked hearing the specific tales (Horse, Cyclops, ... the bloody battle) rather than sticking around for it all. She's five. I'll let it slide. My 3-year-old boy just liked any part where there was death and deception. Basically. I finished the full version of the Odyssey last spring. I felt like this was pretty AWESOME as a children's version.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Colum's text and Pogany's illustrations do justice to the epic, ancient feel of the Odyssey and the Iliad while adapting them for child readers. A child who read this at the age of 9 or 10 might want to seek out the epic poems themselves at an older age. If not, they would familiarize themselves with the people and stories that form part of our cultural heritage. Either way, it's worth the effort. Colum's text and Pogany's illustrations do justice to the epic, ancient feel of the Odyssey and the Iliad while adapting them for child readers. A child who read this at the age of 9 or 10 might want to seek out the epic poems themselves at an older age. If not, they would familiarize themselves with the people and stories that form part of our cultural heritage. Either way, it's worth the effort.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rakisha

    I downloaded the a free audio version and listened to it with my children at bedtime. I had never read the original Homer but I knew of the tale. It was nice to hear the adventures and tales in accessible language.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Homer adapted for young readers by noted Irish poet perfect for reading aloud.

  10. 5 out of 5

    sch

    Rereading this paraphrase before teaching Homer for the first time. Kindle edition lacks illustrations.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dana Clinton

    Still playing at the South Berwick Library adult summer reading challenge... complete the bingo card (well, that is my challenge; really the challenge is just to complete one bingo column!!)... one of the harder ones for me is to listen to an audio book. I don't commute really, so this is never a habit I had, and I find myself really struggling to "sit still" or "be still" long enough to get engaged in listening to a read!! But I have been working on a knitted elephant for a baby party soon, and Still playing at the South Berwick Library adult summer reading challenge... complete the bingo card (well, that is my challenge; really the challenge is just to complete one bingo column!!)... one of the harder ones for me is to listen to an audio book. I don't commute really, so this is never a habit I had, and I find myself really struggling to "sit still" or "be still" long enough to get engaged in listening to a read!! But I have been working on a knitted elephant for a baby party soon, and that gave me something to focus on that required my sitting for periods of time, allowing me to listen to this marvelous reading of The Children's Homer, a 4+ hour performance which combines elements of both the Iliad and the Odyssey, but told in charming language which befits the old tales! It didn't take long to get the major characters straight in my mind, and Robert Whitfield, who does the reading, is so talented and so easy to listen to and become enthralled. So I think I made a really cool choice and feel quite pleased at having listened to these four discs! I am reading several other (real) books too, but I felt compelled to keep at this so as to not lose the thread of the stories; after all, it's hard to go back and remind yourself what the previous "pages" were all about when you can't flip actual pages. I am not going to become an avid audiobook reader, for sure... I prefer to listen to music!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    This was an amazing edition. The one thing that might irritate some people is that its a "childrens" book. But its a childrens book from like 1918, so no more than LoTR is a childrens book. Anyway I'm pretty sure all that means in this context is that the pacing is faster than in the original, some of the blood + guts + weird ancient times sex is taken out. Pacing in ancient epics is always snail-like so this might not be a negative depending on whos reading. The ancient greek-esque illustrations This was an amazing edition. The one thing that might irritate some people is that its a "childrens" book. But its a childrens book from like 1918, so no more than LoTR is a childrens book. Anyway I'm pretty sure all that means in this context is that the pacing is faster than in the original, some of the blood + guts + weird ancient times sex is taken out. Pacing in ancient epics is always snail-like so this might not be a negative depending on whos reading. The ancient greek-esque illustrations were really great and added a lot of depth to the book. They are highly detailed but still make excellent use of negative space.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Teri

    I read this with my 9-year old son for homeschool and we both really enjoyed it. Colum did an excellent job of bringing the tale of Troy alive. This is a great way to introduce kids (or even adults) to the Iliad and Odyssey in an easy-to-understand format. When they're older, they can tackle the real thing, with familiarity with the stories thanks to this book. I read this with my 9-year old son for homeschool and we both really enjoyed it. Colum did an excellent job of bringing the tale of Troy alive. This is a great way to introduce kids (or even adults) to the Iliad and Odyssey in an easy-to-understand format. When they're older, they can tackle the real thing, with familiarity with the stories thanks to this book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nathaniel

    Good, but some of the language was a little hard to understand. For example, "She spoke to him as a princess should, seeing that in spite of the evil plight he was in, he was a man of worth. 'Stranger,' she said, 'Since though hast come to our land, thou shalt not lack for raiment nor aught else that is given to a suppliant. I will show thee the way to the town also.'" Good, but some of the language was a little hard to understand. For example, "She spoke to him as a princess should, seeing that in spite of the evil plight he was in, he was a man of worth. 'Stranger,' she said, 'Since though hast come to our land, thou shalt not lack for raiment nor aught else that is given to a suppliant. I will show thee the way to the town also.'"

  15. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Skalberg

    Required reading for my 6th grader. Oh my! If this is "Children's" Homer, I am not looking forward to the real deal in high school! As much as I did enjoy this book, it is quite a bit above the reading/comprehension level of my 6th grader. So glad the audio version was available to him to listen to AND follow along in the book with it. Required reading for my 6th grader. Oh my! If this is "Children's" Homer, I am not looking forward to the real deal in high school! As much as I did enjoy this book, it is quite a bit above the reading/comprehension level of my 6th grader. So glad the audio version was available to him to listen to AND follow along in the book with it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    Wonderful way to introduce Homer to kids and learn the Odyssey

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    its pretty exiting but they talk kinda wierd. but theres lots of fights and its cool

  18. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    AWESOME! Finally the tale of Odysseus in a language I can actually understand! The plot is surprisingly interesting...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    So I saw this at in the kids' room at church when we were getting family pictures, flipped through it, thought it looked interesting, like maybe it would fill in some of the gaps from the condensed version I teach out of the 9th grade Lit Books we probably all remember and still be understandable, saving me the time of reading the real 600 page version. I thought if it was for kids then maybe Camille and I could read it at night (it would be something I would get something out of as well versus So I saw this at in the kids' room at church when we were getting family pictures, flipped through it, thought it looked interesting, like maybe it would fill in some of the gaps from the condensed version I teach out of the 9th grade Lit Books we probably all remember and still be understandable, saving me the time of reading the real 600 page version. I thought if it was for kids then maybe Camille and I could read it at night (it would be something I would get something out of as well versus more American Girl doll books or Charlie and Chocolate Factory for the fourth time...) I thought I'd preview it a bit before starting it with her, and then next thing I know I was 50 pages in and finished it myself. It's hard to rate and review becuase it's obviously not the real Odyssey, and I haven't read the real Odyssey, so I don't know enough to seperate my critique of the whole version from this. I thought this version still skipped some scenes (no visit to Tiresias?) and went pretty quickly through others. I thought the descriptions of fighting in the Trojan War was pretty redundant. Is that Homer's fault? Or just this version? It was nice to read the story in a quick shot, Iliad and Odyssey condensed to 250 pages, understandable, not having to Google stuff and rely on footnotes for all the mythology that I'm unfamiliar with. I still don't know if I will read this with Camille. Maybe in a couple years. I see a lot of reviews on here talking about 7 year olds loving it, 5 year olds; but I just can't imagine Camille at 7 following all the Greek names, relations, the concept of the Gods coming down to play favorites... I can't see her following the war descriptions nor enjoying them all that much. But who knows, maybe it'll prove to be a real conversation starter, a history/sociology lesson for us at storytime.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Eden Williams

    Three or three and a half stars! I can't decide which one. I read this book for school. This book tells about the Trojan War and Odysseus' adventures getting back to Ithaka at a nice pace, except for the beginning. The beginning is pretty slow. It takes a while to get to the action, and it's a bit dull, for me. My second complaint is the way the characters spoke. I know it's the way the ancient Greeks spoke, but it's so.... formal. Here's an example:" We Cyclopes pay no heed to Zeus, nor to any Three or three and a half stars! I can't decide which one. I read this book for school. This book tells about the Trojan War and Odysseus' adventures getting back to Ithaka at a nice pace, except for the beginning. The beginning is pretty slow. It takes a while to get to the action, and it's a bit dull, for me. My second complaint is the way the characters spoke. I know it's the way the ancient Greeks spoke, but it's so.... formal. Here's an example:" We Cyclopes pay no heed to Zeus, nor to any of thy gods. In our strength and our power we deem that we are mightier than they. I will not spare thee, neither will I give thee aught for the sake of Zeus, but only as my own spirit bids me" And that's a gigantic, man-eating cyclops speaking. Overall, this was a pretty good book. I recommend it as a read aloud for parents to read to their kids. It's a good school book for learning about the Greeks.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    I loved learning from this classic story! The battle scenes almost lost me (other than the Trojan Horse), but the adventures of Odysseus and his will to return to his family was wonderful. I loved the characters in this book, the son, the wife, and Odysseus and the way they stayed fiercely loyal to one another. Someday I would like to read the originals, but this audiobook was perfect for all of us to be introduced to these great stories.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    This is my favorite of Padraic Colum's books based on ancient mythology and Greek literature. The story of the Trojan War and Odysseus' wanderings is captivatingly presented here in language plain enough for children to understand, but never oversimplified. If you are intimidated by the original Homer, this is an excellent place to start. This is my favorite of Padraic Colum's books based on ancient mythology and Greek literature. The story of the Trojan War and Odysseus' wanderings is captivatingly presented here in language plain enough for children to understand, but never oversimplified. If you are intimidated by the original Homer, this is an excellent place to start.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Algernon

    It won't be long before I am finished reading this out loud to my 9- and 6-year-old sons, and it has held them rapt. This is an abridged consolidation of the Iliad and the Odyssey in prose with some archaic vocabulary, but not overwhelmingly so - and the additional vocabulary is a bonus for my sons. It won't be long before I am finished reading this out loud to my 9- and 6-year-old sons, and it has held them rapt. This is an abridged consolidation of the Iliad and the Odyssey in prose with some archaic vocabulary, but not overwhelmingly so - and the additional vocabulary is a bonus for my sons.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Miller

    I had read portions of the Iliad and the Odyssey in college but had a hard time with the form of the old poetry. This book is like a Readers' Digest version of these stories. Many elements of these stories are repeated in books and movies today. It was enjoyable to read an overview of the original tales. I had read portions of the Iliad and the Odyssey in college but had a hard time with the form of the old poetry. This book is like a Readers' Digest version of these stories. Many elements of these stories are repeated in books and movies today. It was enjoyable to read an overview of the original tales.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Julie Keller

    Did not finish—too complicated to keep requesting and renewing from the library, but will probably try again eventually. I’d rather read this and get a taste of Homer’s originals than try to wade through the originals!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    This didn’t seem like a children’s book to me!!! My husband and I listened to this book on a road trip to prepare for out trip the Greece in the fall. We enjoyed it and it gave us lots to talk about.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    I read this long before reading The Odyssey. The story was told and it was slightly easier to understand, but I didn’t like it. I read this in 7th or 8th grade for some “gifted” class I had to take, and I remember hating the entire book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mandy Crumb

    Completed this as an audio version while also following along with the physical book. Thought it was perfectly done and both my 6 & 9 year olds were able to follow the story. Don't let the word "Children" in the title distract you. This is a beautifully written version that is lacking nothing. Completed this as an audio version while also following along with the physical book. Thought it was perfectly done and both my 6 & 9 year olds were able to follow the story. Don't let the word "Children" in the title distract you. This is a beautifully written version that is lacking nothing.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Travis

    a good read, my start into"classics" a good read, my start into"classics"

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    This was a read-aloud with my grade-school age daughter. Very accessible way to experience "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey". This was a read-aloud with my grade-school age daughter. Very accessible way to experience "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey".

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