What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is based on Greek myths, which were violent and sometimes sexual. Though the author doesn't shy away from these aspects, she doesn't wallow in them either -- she mentions them and moves on.
What's the story?
Hermes, messenger god and son of Zeus, tells of his involvement in some of the major Greek myths and stories. In between running Zeus's errands and conveying souls to the underworld, he helps Perseus defeat Medusa, negotiates between Demeter and Hades for the return of Persephone, arranges the Judgment of Paris, copes with the flood of dead souls from the Trojan War, and frees Odysseus from the nymph Calypso, only to fall for her himself.
Is it any good?
Though the tales are ancient, author Stephanie Spinner invents a modern, ironic, somewhat snarky voice for Hermes that both fits his mythological character (he was, after all, god of thieves and pranksters as well as messenger) and adds to the enjoyment of his story. On Zeus: "Joking with my father when he's testy is like challenging the Gorgons to a staring contest. Bad idea." On Hades: "a walking bad mood." The Furies: "as gleeful as undetected felons at a public execution."
Parents and teachers will be glad that, unlike so many attempts to modernize and add humor to Greek myths, this one hews very closely to the original stories. Even the humor grows organically out of the tales and existing characters of the gods, not through anachronism or adding a street-slangy patina. The updating comes in the telling, not by altering the myths, making it useful for classes studying ancient Greece.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Hermes' aversion to war, which the other gods enjoy, and his desire for his father Zeus's approval. How could you find out more about these myths if you wanted to?