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Gilgamesh the Hero

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  215 ratings  ·  44 reviews
This is one of the oldest stories in the world, and it's about things that still matter to us today: friendship, fame, courage, happiness.Gilgamesh and Enkidu are friends -- best friends. Together they can work wonders, fight monsters, brave earthquakes, travel the world! But waiting in the dark is the one enemy they can never overcome.Retold by award-winning author Gerald ...more
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published June 20th 2003 by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (first published September 26th 2002)
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Birdnerd a.k.a. Scrabblepaw a.k.a. Ollie
This tale of a king says a lot about the human psyche and the emotions we grapple with. Gilgamesh is a young king, determined to make his mark on the world. Joined by his friend Enkidu, he slays the great Bull of Heaven, a feat worthy of a god. But Enkidu is injured in the process, and is ultimately killed by this. Driven mad from the loss of his best friend, he lives in the woods like an animal and sets off on a series of impossible quests. Eventually, he returns to his city, Uruk, a changed, o ...more
JaNel
Mankind's oldest story. And what an amazing story it is. I found it extremely comforting and somewhat depressing that we, as a species, have changed so little. We are just as beautiful and just as brutal. Thanks to all the work it took to translate this from the original cuneiform Sumerian. Written over 5000 years ago, but retold orally for who knows how long before that, and it has it all. Only "discovered" about a hundred years ago, this just goes to prove that we've been telling the same type ...more
Steve Hemmeke
One of the greatest pagan stories, about what it means to be human.
Gilgamesh discovers Ecclesiastical wisdom:
1. Two are better than one, for if one falls, the other can help him up.
2. To enjoy life with its limitations is better than pursuing immortality.
3. You can leave your mark in life, but the future is up to others.

This rendition is a little mature for young readers at a couple spots. Going to save it for the next go-round of history with my 12-14 year olds, instead of springing it on my 8-
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Izzy
Gilgamesh the Hero is about the adventures of Gilgamesh, a king who lived a long time ago in Mesopotamia in the city of Uruk. This book is pretty action packed with some scariness and sadness and happiness. I did not like some of the sad parts, but I did like reading about Gilgamesh's adventures. I really liked the illustrations as well. I also liked learning about what a town in ancient Mesopotamia would be like.
Teri
This woman can write a great story for both children and adults. Her style is full of wonderful imagery, well-worded phrases, and enticing descriptions. She also has a intuitive feel for story, especially ancient ones, and can make them appealing to modern ears.

GREAT book to read aloud with my kids. The only thing I would warn of is the mention of a beautiful, golden, naked woman. Some parents wouldn't like that.

Loved it. My kids and I like anything we've read by this author. (Golden Hoard seri
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Reuel
An engaging, illustrated, re-telling of the Gilgamesh epic for children. Some material seems to have been added, possibly to "round out" the tale for children--making it a bit more- or probably differently- didactic than the original. However, the main story line follows translations from the fragments on twelve cuniform tablets discovered in the 19th century in ruins of the palaces at Ninevah (now Mosel,Iraq),including the very ancient (~2000 years before the Bible)tale of The Flood--and Utnapi ...more
Terri
I teach my children at home and we are currently covering ancient literature. I had read Gilgamesh before and knew it would be a bit too much for a younger reader (prostitution for example), and yet I didn't want to cut and paste the story to make it acceptable for a young reader. Enter Geraldine McCaughrean's version.

We read Geraldine McCaughrean's version and were very thrilled with it.

Her writing is vivid and captivating, "A single scream of terror hung in the air: it had the color of red dus
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Jason R.
Gilgamesh the Hero by Geraldine McCaughrean is a folklore written for children and young adults. Gilgamesh is an epic poem that is considered to be one of the first great works of literature. It is not clear if Gilgamesh was real or a merely a hero in a poem but reemerged story by Geraldine McCaughean helps tell the tale in a way that children and young adults can understand and grasp the many concepts of the tale. Gilgamesh the Hero is a story about the King of Uruk named Gilgamesh and all the ...more
Marsha
This interpretation of King Gilgamesh’s epic journey to become immortal is filled with riveting action and heart-wrenching feeling. The farther he goes from his kingdom, the less of a king he becomes until no one, not even himself, recognizes the man he used to be.

Gilgamesh starts off as being young and foolish but gradually gains wisdom on his travels. But it is the story of his deep and abiding love for his friend Enkidu that provides the impetus for his trek and this emotion shines above all
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Cortney
When studying ancient civilizations with my son I wanted to him to experience oral or written traditions from each. Gilgamesh, from ancient Mesopotamia, is one of the oldest and most intriguing epics and I considered its inclusion very important, but much of the original tale is questionable reading material for young children (mainly for sex and violence). I selected this version for my son because it was a highly recommended adaptation for his reading level and maturity, and neither of us was ...more
Jessica
This retold version of the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh the Hero, is a great, broken-down recount of the original, very difficult-to-read versions of The Epic of Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh is known to have been a king and god of a city called Uruk in Mesopotamia before Christ was born. Gilgamesh is described as part-man and part-god. After angering the citizens Uruk by overpowering and trying to fully control them, the Gods create and send down a friend for Gilgamesh, named Enkidu, in hopes to teach G ...more
Mary Jo Garcia
The Gilgamesh is the oldest written story known to man, and it's about a king who lived in what is now Iraq three thousand years before the birth of Christ. His epic adventures along with those of his friend, Enkidu, predate those of Odysseus by perhaps two thousand years. Gilgamesh's stories have influenced every hero tale in Western literature since then, including the Bible.

The original Gilgamesh was full of all those things that make a story about humanity human: love, sex, jealousy, death,
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Erin
This is a children's version of the epic tale. I've never read the original, but understand that she took and R rated story and made it PG. Parents should read it before just to make sure they're okay with what was left in. It is a great allegory for Man's search for happiness and how we are changed through tragedy that comes inevitably to all of us. It is rich in Christian symbolism, especially when he goes on his quest for immortality. That's probably not something you expect from ancient Sume ...more
Monica
This is a great way to introduce someone to the Epic of Gilgamesh. It is more palatable than the ancient text itself. I would probably recommend this for children that are at least ten or eleven, but it is also nice for adults too.
Adam
It’s been more than a decade since I read Gilgamesh, so I can’t make an especially well-informed comparison between it and Geraldine McCaughrean’s retelling for young people. But McCaughrean does cover the essentials of the story--one of the earliest surviving epics--and, thereby, produce a wonderful introduction to ancient literature. In fact, she impressed me so much that I’m hunting down several other classic-adaptions that she has authored. Also, the illustrations by David Parkins are unforg ...more
Reuel Ng
A version of one of the oldest stories that was simple and fun to read. It was interesting to find connections between this story and other mythologies.
ShinAe
Read this with my sons.

I've never read a grown-up version of this, so I don't know how it compares. I do have a couple comments: (1) At first I wasn't really into the story. I don't relate to tales about needing to have your name go down in history, etc. They just don't draw me in. Anyway, I was surprised to find myself choking up while reading aloud Gilgamesh's tirade in chapter six. The one about being afraid? I thought it was excellent. No idea if it's true to the original story or not. (2) M
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Lisa Nimz
Mar 26, 2009 Lisa Nimz rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lisa by: got it out of the book I got from Abby
Shelves: picture-book, classic
This is the oldest recorded story known on the planet. There's something awesome about that!

I'd heard of this from my Uncle Jon, and then again on Star Trek: The Next Generation (the best of the Star Treks).

I'm looking for an adult version of the epic as well. I have it on CD, and am hoping the Skokie Public Library tracks down the print copy so I can read and listen at the same time!

Until then, as usual, I started below my reading level just to "get my feet wet," as they say. I enjoyed the stor
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Joseline Pretto
I did not get to read it so soy why
Joni
We found this book barely readable. I kept wanting to make myself read it and then dreading it. I will only read aloud books that I love and that are enjoyable to read. Maybe it was because I was trying to read it to a six-year-old, I don't know. The book was illustrated and the language had been simplified for children yet there were strange turns of phrase and vocabulary that I had to keep stopping to explain. We then read Gilgamesh: a verse narrative, which we thoroughly enjoyed, and never fi ...more
Kevin
I don't know enough about the archaeology and literary history of this most ancient story to judge it on faithfulness to the original, but this is a great glimpse into mythology and storytelling. Full of wonderful and evocative description and emotion it provides a great introduction to this story for young and old. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and would recommend it highly for those interested in the myth of Gilgamesh or Near Eastern myth.
Faith
Each of us (my two teen sons and I) are reading a different version of the Epic of Gilgamesh. I'm reading this one because I've often heard of Geraldine McCraughrean but I have never read anything of hers.

Update: This is a wonderful retelling of the story of Gilgamesh. It avoids the seamier aspects, yet coveys with great energy and pathos the adventures, sufferings and growth of Gilgamesh.
Lisa
We tried to read this book last year when we studied Sumeria. No one was interested in reading more than a few chapters. This year, I checked it out for my daughter to read while my son and I read Gilgamesh. All three of us read it as an introduction to Gilgamesh and enjoyed it this time. My one problem with the book is that McCaughrean takes too many creative liberties with the storyline.
Kristin Boldon
Got this from the library for my son's school project on Mesopotamia, and just got around to reading it. Good, accessible, and I enjoyed the art. This reminds me of the D'Aulaire mythology books. I think I would have really enjoyed this as a kid. We used The Gilgamesh Trilogy picture books by Ludmila Zeman for the project, and liked those a lot, too.)
Chak
It behooves anyone in comedy to read this book. This stuff is gold! "Soft-palmed, sponge-bellied city sluggard! I shall pound him into clay!" "Not for all the honey in the hive, lady!" "I'd rather play dice with a handful of scorpions... Being loved by you is rather like being struck by masonry falling off a high building, isn't it?"
Shawn
Yes, I read a children's book. I saw it in the library. I only got it becuase it is based on the oldest recorded story in history and I was too lazy to read the whole adult version. This was just about 100 pages!
The original was written on stone tablets. Estimated to be from 2,500 BC. That's got Homer beat by almost 2 millennia.
Garreth Heidt
McCaughrean takes far more liberties with the story than most (not all) translators, but, nevertheless the story still reads like a rock opera. Gilgamesh and Enkidu are the original daring duo, and their story is as melodramatic as the aforementioned musical genre.
Chris
This book I found to have beautiful writing patterns but for some reason or another I found it unappealing. I felt that some characters needed to be looked at more and the plot was very twisty and that was sometimes hard to follow.
Josette
I read this out loud to my children and they enjoyed it. Now we have read both a picture book version and this adaptation. The hope is that when they encounter it again in high school, they will be quite familiar w/ the story....
Sherry
Wonderful epic tale. Loved the ending: having children, who are your decendents and make you "immortal", is life's greatest, satisfying accomplishment. [Predating the bible, it puts the Noah's ark story into perspective.:]
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1631
Geraldine McCaughrean was born in 1951 and brought up in North London. She studied at Christ Church College of Education, Canterbury and worked in a London publishing house for 10 years before becoming a full-time writer in 1988. She has written over 120 books, 50 short plays for schools, and a radio play.

Her adult novels include Fires’ Astonishment (1990) and The Ideal Wife (1997), but she is bes
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“The gods never meant you to live forever, so why spoil they life they did give you? Is a rainbow any less beautiful because it's short-lived? Or because you can't grasp hold of it? Consider, man. Perhaps it is beautiful expressly because of that.” 1 likes
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