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The Children's Homer: The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy
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The Children's Homer: The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  762 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
Travel back to a mythical time when Achilles, aided by the gods, waged war against the Trojans. And join Odysseus on his journey through murky waters, facing obstacles like the terrifying Scylla and whirring Charybdis, the beautiful enchantress Circe, and the land of the raging Cyclôpes. Using narrative threads from The Iliad and The Odyssey, Padraic Colum weaves a stunnin ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 1st 1982 by Simon Pulse (first published 1918)
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May 18, 2008 Nickie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this child's revision of The Iliad and The Odyssey to my three children ages 7-10. We all liked this introduction to Greek literature.
I was encouraged to purchase lectures on both stories from The Teaching Company. The lectures have opened my mind to help prepare me for when I do read the full English translation of both stories.
You are introduced to all these names you might have heard growing up. Like Achilles, Paris, Hector, the Greek gods,Helen, Agamemnon,and on and on.
This is a good
Jan 09, 2014 Johnnie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: home-schooling
This is the perfect ORAL reading for young children. The language is beautiful and very similar to the word pictures Homer displayed for his audience. I recommend that adults that missed out on The Iliad and The Odyssey as students begin their TRUE education by reading this version. The list of characters is HUGE so this easy to read version puts everyone is place on the stage of Ancient Greece. If you have never read Greek Mythology have your smartphone off for Googling because even though the ...more
Oct 22, 2015 Dulci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, classics
Really good book! I read this to my kids, ages 5, 9, and 10. We all really enjoyed reading this as we were studying ancient times.

We avoided the confusion that other reviewers have mentioned by making a little chart to put on the wall. Whenever we came across someone like Paris in the story, we could refer to the chart to remind us of who that was.

I never read (nor in all honesty do I intend to read) the unabridged versions of Homer's tales. This book was all the story with a little less labor
Dec 05, 2011 Rakisha rated it really liked it
I downloaded the a free audio version and listened to it with my children at bedtime. I had never read the original Homer but I knew of the tale. It was nice to hear the adventures and tales in accessible language.
May 15, 2010 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids
Homer adapted for young readers by noted Irish poet perfect for reading aloud.
What a FANTASTIC version of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. I recommend this even to adults who don't want to put the time into the full versions of both classics. It gives you a great summary that moves a little quicker, obviously. My kids, well... one of them (6) actually loved every minute of it. The other kid (5) tolerated it well and actually followed the events better than I anticipated. She liked hearing the specific tales (Horse, Cyclops, ... the bloody battle) rather than sticking around for ...more
Jan 21, 2011 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing edition. The one thing that might irritate some people is that its a "childrens" book. But its a childrens book from like 1918, so no more than LoTR is a childrens book. Anyway I'm pretty sure all that means in this context is that the pacing is faster than in the original, some of the blood + guts + weird ancient times sex is taken out. Pacing in ancient epics is always snail-like so this might not be a negative depending on whos reading.

The ancient greek-esque illustrations
Apr 30, 2016 Becky rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016reviews
I really enjoyed reading Padraic Colum's The Children's Homer, a retelling--originally published in 1918--of the Iliad and the Odyssey. You should know from the start that it is a prose retelling.

The story opens by introducing readers to Telemachus, the now grown son of Odysseus. When Telemachus was just a baby--just a month old--his father went off to war, to fight in the Trojan War. The war took ten long, agonizing years. But it's been over for just as many--ten long years. Telemachus and his
May 03, 2013 Amy rated it really liked it
Colum's text and Pogany's illustrations do justice to the epic, ancient feel of the Odyssey and the Iliad while adapting them for child readers. A child who read this at the age of 9 or 10 might want to seek out the epic poems themselves at an older age. If not, they would familiarize themselves with the people and stories that form part of our cultural heritage. Either way, it's worth the effort.
Teri Anderson
Jan 03, 2012 Teri Anderson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-lit
I read this with my 9-year old son for homeschool and we both really enjoyed it. Colum did an excellent job of bringing the tale of Troy alive. This is a great way to introduce kids (or even adults) to the Iliad and Odyssey in an easy-to-understand format. When they're older, they can tackle the real thing, with familiarity with the stories thanks to this book.
Sep 02, 2014 Stuart rated it really liked it
Padraic Colum's retelling of the Illiad and Odyssey (which he restructures ever so slightly to make it all one tale) is oddly less ambitious in scope than the pre-cursor book THE GOLDEN FLEECE AND THE HEROES WHO LIVED BEFORE ACHILLES. His usual blend of simple poetry and faux-achaic language is in full form, however, and he frequently manages to capture the best parts of the Illiad and Odyssey while glossing over the problematic or less interesting areas- particularly in regards to the lengthy b ...more
Aug 23, 2009 Grace rated it it was amazing
AWESOME! Finally the tale of Odysseus in a language I can actually understand! The plot is surprisingly interesting...
Jun 06, 2009 Jack rated it liked it
its pretty exiting but they talk kinda wierd. but theres lots of fights and its cool
Mar 22, 2009 Sally rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
Wonderful way to introduce Homer to kids and learn the Odyssey
Jun 25, 2014 LuAnn rated it really liked it
A good retelling of The Odyssey in prose. Great line drawings throughout. I wonder about the differences in various retellings, which is more accurate to original. Wish he didn't write the dialogue in older English with thees and thous. When someone tells a story, however, they speak normally. Didn't enjoy it as much as I did in high school, maybe because this time I was aware of the the great number of people who die in this story--quite appalling when you think about it. This version is approp ...more
My kids and husband would give this 2 stars--but I give it 4, because I think they need to be exposed to Homer and this was a great way to do it. :) We've all heard the story of the Trojan Horse, but how many of us know who wrote it? Of the two-part story, the Tale of Troy was the least enjoyable because it was so much about the war between the Trojans and the Greeks, but my kids even really enjoyed the Adventures of Odysseus. My five-year-old is still talking about the "wooers". :)

Dec 08, 2013 Tanya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whew. If I did this again, I think I would get an audio version. The translator/author of this version clearly did not like commas. With complex syntax at times, and sentences that can wrap several lines of text, a few commas here and there would have really really helped this mom and her kids keep the flow of thought together during this read-aloud.

That said, it was a good version for my 3rd and 6th graders who were new to Homer other than very simplified/picture book versions. This was our "mi
Julia Wagner
Dec 21, 2015 Julia Wagner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this with my son (now 8) over the course of one school year. We finished in the summer. We read it slowly, sometimes only 2 pages at a time, and he had many questions which I took the time to answer. I could not be more pleased. It's an excellent primer not only on the main cast of characters, the myths, and the epic form ( oh my god, how long is this story?) but also on ancient Greek geography. Plus, what a wonderful memory. I can't say how much he will retain, but at least he has the fo ...more
Oct 02, 2012 Meghan rated it liked it
This children's version was used to introduce my fifth grade class to Homer, a.k.a., the greatest author ever to have lived. Now, naturally, being a stickler purist, I had countless issues with leaving out this that or the other thing. In the desire to protect the children! won't somebody think of the children! from the more shocking elements of The Illiad and the Odyssey, Padraic Colum removed the teeth from certain scenes. I am more of the Grimm's fairy tale school of thought, but the fact of ...more
Jun 06, 2012 Vj rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya
Listened to the audio version, and I didn't care much for it. Narrator's voice changed often, and not just because he was using a different voice for a different character. Pacing was off, and didn't seem to fit the narrative. Sometimes the narrator sounded as if he were telling a bedtime story to a child, but then at other times, his voice was even. I think those who are coming to the story for the first time will enjoy reading the printed version, but I wonder why standard English wasn't used. ...more
Jul 22, 2015 Aly rated it liked it
It was very interesting seeing how we interpreted the stories from Homer and use them in modern books, such as Percy Jackson. The stories were very dry and plain.
Mar 31, 2016 Ginger rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
We read this aloud as part of our homeschool curriculum. We enjoyed it more than I thought we would. I feel like this book is the original adventure story.
Jan 10, 2016 Audrey rated it it was ok
Part 1 was a hard sell to my student's because the "children's" text uses archaic words; however, they could not put the book down when they got to Part 2.
Jun 26, 2012 Lucy rated it really liked it
It's no substitute for the real thing, but it's very well done. He manages to blend the two epics without the joins showing, and keeps the essentials of the story while omitting the blood and guts and many of the Olympian shenanigans. He makes the characters of the heroes very clear, though he does rather improve Odysseus by glossing over some of the 'craftiness' of the original - and Achilles gets off lightly, too. I can't think, though, who would read this nowadays - far too archaic for most c ...more
A Nelson
Apr 03, 2016 A Nelson rated it it was amazing
I am embarrassingly illiterate about the Iliad and odyssey. I enjoyed this introduction.
Oct 19, 2015 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is good for introducing children to the Iliad/Odyssey. However, it should not be used as a shortcut for the real thing. I thought some of the Iliad bits were wonky and not well-told, but the Odyssey narrative is solid. It is enjoyable to discuss with elementary students.
Jun 19, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, children
Read this to the kids, they loved it. Really well done.
Oct 09, 2014 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Shelves: reread, read2011, classics
I was kind of skeptical that my memory of enjoying this as a child was accurate, but it ended up being extremely engaging, for any age I think. Love the non-linear storytelling. Those Greeks sure know how to spin a tale. Or 2. Or 500 in one.


Err, the books I'm reading and have lined up are solid non-fiction, and this was the only exception? Maybe someday I'll read the adult's homer, but first I'm going to revisit the copy I read when I was eight. It was originally published in 1918 by an Iris
Feb 09, 2016 Erin rated it it was amazing
I loved this combination of Homer's Illiad and Odyssey! Padraic Colum did a wonderful job weaving the two tales together in a way that was easy to understand without sacrificing the grandeur of these epics. My children loved it, too, which is a better testament to its worth.
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Padraic Colum was an Irish poet, novelist, dramatist, biographer and collector of folklore. He was one of the leading figures of the Celtic Revival. (Source)
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