The Adventures of Hercules by Powell & Ruiz

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Title: The Adventures of Hercules by Martin Powell & José Alfonso Ocampo Ruiz

Premise:

Hercules, the son of Zeus and a mortal woman, is plagued by Zeus’ wife, Hera.  In her jealousy, she robs him of his birthright, and tricks him into serving King Eurystheus by making him think he has committed a heinous crime.  Hercules has epic adventures, battling fearsome monsters and defending mankind.

My thoughts:

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this relatively short graphic novel about Hercules.  Certainly, it’s a simplified version of his life.  It doesn’t touch on his death at all, except in the beginning section where the author gives a general overview of his life.

This is an awesome book to introduce your child to the story of Hercules!  It’s a perfect story to tell in graphic novel form because it’s chock full of action.  In fact, that’s the main gist of the story–you see Hercules jump from one quest to another, usually slaying a monster or conquering some other beast.  There is a fair bit of violence, but it’s not terribly gruesome.  I’d say it’s appropriate for elementary-age kids.  I can see boys really getting into this book.  The artwork is quite impressive, too.

I recommend The Adventures of Hercules to kids who enjoy graphic novels, adventure stories and/or Roman mythology.

Possible Objections:

  • Lots of cartoon violence & some blood

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Nathan Hale: Revolutionary Spy by Nathan Olson

nathan-hale-revolutionary-spy

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Here’s another book from my quest to find interesting graphic novels.  Nathan Hale: Revolutionary Spy is a book that can be digested in one sitting.

Premise:

Nathan Hale was a young man who lived in Connecticut immediately prior to the Revolutionary War.  He was a student at Yale and later taught others (even getting up to teach girls for free).  Having grown up amid the colonists’ unrest due to British taxes, he volunteered to join the army.  Nathan’s willingness to serve as a spy and his refusal to betray his country are commendable.  Unfortunately, his life was cut short when he was only 21 years old.

My thoughts:

I think this book is a great beginner biography for elementary-age children.  They get a quick overview of Nathan’s life–just enough to pique their interest.  Once they’re at a higher reading level they can come back to Nathan’s story and read a book that is more in depth.

I enjoyed reading about Nathan and the defining moments in his life.  He sounds like a remarkable young man, and it’s a tragedy that his life was cut short.  I’m sure he would have gone on to do many more commendable deeds had he lived longer.  Particularly gratifying was his view on the importance of educating women.  He was truly ahead of his times!

The book is divided into four very short chapters: Student and Teacher, Soldier and Leader, Daring Spy, and War Hero.  At the end, you’ll find a section with more information about Nathan Hale.

I recommend this book to kids who enjoy graphic novels and would prefer to learn about history through that medium.  This particular book is best suited to elementary-age children.

Possible Objections:

  • Nathan is hanged (while we only see his silhouette, kids may still find it disturbing)

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori