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Tales From The Odyssey Books In Order

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Publication Order of Tales From The Odyssey Books

The One-Eyed Giant (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Land of the Dead (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sirens and Sea Monsters (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Gray-Eyed Goddess (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Return to Ithaca (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Final Battle (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon

Tales from the Odyssey is a series of children’s books written by Mary Pope Osborne. The books take Greek legends and myths and dumb them down for the consumption of children.

+The Story

The Odyssey is an epic poem from Greece that a legendary author called Homer is said to have written. Supposedly composed during the earliest centuries on record, the poem tells the story of Odysseus, a Greek hero who leaves his home to fight in a war.

And on his way back, Odysseus is beset by obstacles and trials that seem determined to keep him from reuniting with his wife and son. The contents of the Odyssey have been adapted for film and television on numerous occasions.

Additionally, the trials of Odysseus have inspired a multitude of literary creations over the decades and centuries. The Odyssey still stands as one of the greatest works of fiction ever put to paper, a collection of concepts that have been studied and dissected and reworked for contemporary times.

The Percy Jackson novels utilize many of the elements that the Odyssey pioneered. However, that particular series is often enjoyed by teenagers. More importantly, it takes ideas from the Odyssey—along with other Greek myths and legends—and explores them using original characters and plots.

Tales from the Odyssey is a retelling of the stories of the Odyssey. Mary Pope Osborne essentially takes the epic poem and strips it down to its bare bones, arranging the narrative in such a way that young children can understand and appreciate the Greek classics.

The Tales from the Odyssey series revolves around the trials of King Odysseus. Several years ago, Odysseus left his kingdom of Ithaca to participate in the Trojan War. When the battle for Troy finally came to an end, Odysseus took his men, found a ship and attempted to sail back to Ithaca.

The Tales from the Odyssey series is an exploration of the hero’s journey back to his home. What should have been a straightforward trip takes a dangerous turn when Odysseus is forced to face off against a one-eyed Giant in the first novel.

And even after he overcomes it, sacrificing considerable resources in the process, the obstacles awaiting Odysseus down the line only grow that much more dangerous. Each new book in the Tales from the Odyssey series finds Odysseus fighting a different mythological creature.

The creatures are wide-ranging and include everything from witches to sirens and sea monsters with multiple heads. Each book finds Odysseus proving his mettle as the leader of his desperate crew.

He must think on his feet, concocting wild strategies in the face of immeasurably powerful threats. Odysseus is also forced to make a number of difficult decisions; decisions that affect the well-being of his crew.

Every once in a while, the gods will come into the picture; chief amongst them is the goddess Athena who provides guidance and protection whenever the situation becomes dire.

Throughout his ordeal, Odysseus refuses to surrender to seemingly impossible odds. The hero’s determination is fueled by his unquenchable desire to get back home.

While Odysseus is the star of the Tales from the Odyssey series, he is by no means the only character explored. Penelope and Telemachus, his wife and son, get plenty of screen time.

The pair is forced to hope against all hope that Odysseus is alive. They have no reason to hold so tightly to this hope. While news of Odysseus’ achievements does trickle back to them, they haven’t heard anything concrete that hasn’t been dismissed as a rumor.

While everyone else assures them that Odysseus is dead, Penelope and Telemachus hold onto their belief that he will come back to them one day. In the meantime, Penelope must face off against a litany of suitors who are determined to claim her for themselves.

Telemachus is forced to take desperate measures to keep his mother safe from these lecherous figures.

The Tales from the Odyssey series has been commended for the effectiveness with which Mary Pope Osborne strips the Odyssey bare of its extraneous details without destroying the core of the story.

Some readers have complained that the author leaves too many details out. However, they accept the fact that Mary’s efforts are necessary to tell the stories of the Odyssey to children in a way that will keep them engaged.

The books are definitely dark. In facts, some volumes get really grim. There are times when it feels like Odysseus cannot catch a single break. His woes only seem to increase with each new challenge he faces.

But the author leaves many of the more gruesome aspects out of her books. She doesn’t coddle her young readers. She exposes them to the violence and the tragedy of Odysseus’ tale. However, she does not set out to scar them by injecting vividly detailed descriptions into the violent portions of her books.

+The Author

Mary Osborne Pope grew up in the military. She moved around a lot as a child but the fact that her family was such a close unit meant that she never felt traumatized by her mobile lifestyle.

When Mary’s father left the army, the author began to miss the migration that military life made possible. Her restlessness was eventually quelled when she discovered the theater.

Mary proceeded to study theater in college. From there, she discovered mythology and that eventually drove her to produce fiction. The author is very passionate about children’s literacy.

+The One-Eyed Giant

Odysseus left home to fight in the Trojan War. But now, that is over and done with, and he just wants to return home. However, that is easier said than done. If Odysseus wants to see his wife and son again, he must face off against all the trials and obstacles that arise when one attempts to sail the seas.

And all that is before they fight the one-eyed giant.

+The Land of the Dead

Odysseus and his crew beat the one-eyed giant. It wasn’t easy. The sacrifices were immense. But they came out on top. However, the Greek hero’s journey is far from over. Now that the giant is dead, Odysseus has to travel to the land of the dead.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Tales From The Odyssey

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