Friday, September 18, 2015

The Adventures of Hermes, God of Thieves (Pushkin Children's Books)

The Adventures of Hermes, God of Thieves is a dust-jacketed hardcover, available from Pushkin Children's Books. It contains 100 adventures or episodes, as the book calls them, which involve the Greek god Hermes and other notable gods, goddesses, and mortals. The book begins with Hermes being born to Maia and an unknown father. His birth is mysterious, though, because he is not a baby but a boy who can walk and talk and explore. Being curious, as all children are, he decides to go into the world and explore. It isn't until Episode Four that his father is revealed to be Zeus.

The episodes are more than just Hermes' adventures, but the episodes serve to introduce us to various aspect of Greek mythology. We witness the birth of the world, the world's first crime, and the defeat of Cronus. In addition to historic events, we also meet some of the more interesting creatures that you can only find in Greek mythology, such as Cyclops, Hundred-Handed Giants, and Gorgons! We also meet heroes like Perseus, Jason, and Odysseus. I especially enjoyed reading about his time in the Underworld. What originally started out as a punishment for his mischief turned into an extraordinary time for Hermes. He befriended his Uncle Hades, regaled him with tales, and earned a new job. He was now the escort to the Underworld for the departed and served the dual-purpose of guide and entertainer so that no one would be terribly distraught before entering this place.

The way this book was structured was very clever. Instead of individual chapters or stories, it was written in serial format. Each episode wasn't the end, but was merely continued in the subsequent episode. This made the book an exciting and ongoing adventure to read over the course of months, or if you're like me and can't put it down, days. There are only a few things that I would change about this book. First, there should be a Table of Contents. If you ever want to re-visit your favorite episodes, you'll either have to make your own notes, or put some tabs in the book to highlight them. I also wish there had been illustrations in this book, not an abundance but enough to catch your eye. These two quibbles aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you are looking for an exciting romp through Greek mythology that is told through the lens of a lesser-known god, then you will enjoy this book too!

This book was provided to me for free by Pushkin Children's Books.