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Summary: Before she was Helen of Troy, Helen was Queen of Sparta, wife of King Menelaus. Thanks to our narrator Hades (Ruler of the Underworld) we learn that contrary to popular belief, Helen really wasn't the cause of the Trojan War. This is part of the Myth-o-Mania series that explains Greek mythology with humor.
Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 12; read yourself: 10 and Up
Interest Level: 9 to 12
Reading Level: 4
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: At first I enjoyed Hades and his sense of humor and plays on words. By Chapter 6, just as the war was getting started, I was losing interest. In the effort to tell "both sides" of the story, Hades' zipping around became confusing and tedious. There is a great glossary in the back, but I'm not sure how many kids will know to use it.
Pros: Humor, dialogue, and brotherly discord between Zeus and Hades keep readers laughing and turning the page.
Cons: Readers who struggle with comprehension could find themselves becoming frustrated as more and more characters and events are introduced.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. These are books that you can read and enjoy, but aren't likely to be a reference tool for learning about mythology.
Educational Themes: The Myth-O-Mania series offers a refreshing way to introduce classic stories. Hades' descriptions, combined with the glossary / character list, would make it fun to draw "family trees." Although more suited to schools, there are 3 discussion questions and 3 writing prompts at the back of the book.
Notes: The publisher donated an Advance Review Copy (ARC) of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.