And The Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles
By Padriac Colum
Padraic Colum tells the story of Jason, the Argonauts, and their quest for the Golden Fleece in this stirring introduction to classic Greek myths for young readers. A Newberry Honor book, it is lyrically, yet simply written, and Willy Pogany's lovely art nouveau line drawings highlight the wondrous settings and characters described in the text. Readers will be instantly drawn to the first scene in which a slave carries the baby Jason, son of King Aeson, up the side of the mountain and is met by Chiron, the centaur. Jason's destiny is to rule Iolcus, the land that his uncle, King Pelias, had taken from him, but when Jason comes of age and returns to Iolcus, the king is not willing to give up his throne. The cunning king persuades Jason to accept a dare to bring back the famous Golden Fleece of Colchis, and Jason accepts, unaware that he is being conned into a dangerous journey far from the land he loves.
The heroes Heracles, Theseus, Perseus, and Atalanta, all travel with Jason in the ship ARGO as he journeys to strange lands inhabited by strange beings. During the voyage, the famous Greek storyteller, Orpheus, sings about the gods and goddesses and the creation of heaven and earth in stories within the story. Populating Colum's pages are magical golden apples, comical battles between mice and frogs, beautiful nymphs, powerful sorceresses, a monster that is half-bull and half-man, and shoes that can make the wearer fly. All this and more await readers who long to escape from the ordinariness of everyday life and into the fantastic world of the ancient Greek epics.
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