Books of instruction have played a seminal role in the history and development of children’s literature. Arguably, children’s literature has never ‘ and perhaps can never ‘ fully escape its didactic and pedagogical base. Aesop’s fables have been amongst the most enduring of fiction for children since first publication in English translation by William Caxton in 1484.
Terry Deary brings both ardour and aptitude to his new series, published by A & C Black, ‘Greek Tales’. Opening with morals gleaned from Aesop, the books utilise new stories to expand upon and make modern the premise of these fables.
Opening with contextual information, the book tells how Heracles won a race at Olympia, proving himself to be the strongest, fastest hero the world has ever known. Remembrance of this achievement is held through the Olympic Games.
Using the fable of the tortoise and the hare as its ideas base, Deary creates a modern fable that will resonate with many disillusioned siblings as Cypselis uses his sister as a wager on a bet that he will beat Bacchiad in the school Olympics. The trouble is, Ellie knows her brother is not a strong winner’ How can they secure her safety and future?!
Witty and wise, this is a cleverly penned series for first readers that will have readers themselves racing to the finishing line’