FICTION

Homer’s Excellent Adventure

CBAY. Apr. 2020. 304p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781944821869; pap. $9.95. ISBN 9781944821876.
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Gr 4-7–An origin story for the ages takes readers on an epically hilarious adventure. Meet Homer, a lackluster 11-year-old student in Ancient Greece. He’s on the brink of flunking out of school, which for him is more than just embarrassing. His father has been missing for years, and if Homer can’t stay in school, the mayor will repossess his family farm and take Homer and his mom as slaves. Homer’s only hope is to complete his teacher’s final assignment and bring him a scroll filled with an amazingly epic story, in dactylic hexameter no less. Homer doesn’t even know where to begin until a chance meeting with the god Hermes magically transports him and his enslaved friend Dory straight inside the Trojan Horse. There they meet the legendary Odysseus and his crew, with whom they will travel through the action of “The Odyssey.” Along the way, Homer grows as a storyteller and as a friend. Quick chapters replete with snappy, anachronistic humor make this an entertaining, laugh-out-loud adventure. Delightfully cheeky moments abound, like when the group has journeyed to the underworld for help and prophet Tiresias declares, “You done messed up, Odysseus.” Despite the groan-worthy hijinks, Hoover weaves in an impressive amount of detail that readers familiar with the epic will appreciate, while those new to “The Odyssey” might find this a comfortable start that will provide helpful scaffolding before diving into more serious editions.
VERDICT Recommend to fans of Percy Jackson, epic stories, and mythology looking for new fodder with a twist.

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