I suspect, since the kid is in school, we won’t be able to meet our goals for the year with our Read-Aloud List this year. There just won’t be enough time to get everything done. For that reason, it did seem a bit silly to add a book to the list. On the other hand, after having finished the last read aloud, “The Sea of Monsters” by Rick Riordan, it seemed important to back up a bit and read the myth Riordan’s story is based upon. Annabeth’s cleverness at referring to herself as “Nobody” when faced with getting her friends away from Polyphemus doesn’t really compute when you don’t know why she would refer to herself as such in the first place. We’ve already touched a bit on these stories when we talked about the Ancient Greeks in history last school year so there is a background bit of understanding there, but there’s nothing like reading the story for yourself.
I went through many children’s copies of Odysseus before I was able to find one that wasn’t too simplified while also having a good overall presentation. I agree with Linda and the commenters on her blog when they point out that the graphics and layout of a book is often just as important as the book itself.
I ended up selecting one by Rosemary Sutcliff called “The Wanderings of Odysseus: The Story of the Odyssey.” The artwork in the original version is fantastic, though I have to admit I like the cover art on the mass market paperback better. Sutcliff’s version is written in such a way that it’s just about screams “Read me aloud!” Her text flows surprisingly easily and had my kids enthralled from the very first page. If you’re thinking about reading this book with your children, then I’d suggest starting with Sutcliff’s “Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of the Illiad.” In hindsight, that’s what I should have done.
Even the husband got in on this one and was as eager for me to finish it as the kids were – what would happen to Odysseus? Is there a happy ending?
That makes this #9 and finished as of Thursday this week. The old #9 “The Titan’s Curse” by Rick Riordan is the new #10 and we’re continuing on with that one, albeit a little slower than usual.