Category Archives: Classic

The Children’s Homer by Padraic Colum

Aimed at kids, The Children’s Homer tells the story of the Iliad and the Odyssey. Given that those are pretty exciting books, it’s just incredble to me how utterly boring the majority of the book is. It is also written in a way that makes it very awkward to read aloud. If it was the only choice for telling these stories to kids, I’d recommend it, but since there are other much better choices, I really do not.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 21
Pages Read in 2017: 6259
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Part of the Boys’ History Curriculum

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Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter

Eleven-year-old orphan Pollyanna Whittier is dutifully taken in by her wealthy spinster aunt, Polly Harrington. Soon Pollyanna is changing the whole town with her sparkling personality and the glad game. When Pollyanna is injured and just can’t bring herself to be glad about anything, everyone rallies around her telling her why they are glad so she can share in their joy just as they’ve been sharing in hers.

I love Pollyanna. I’ve always related to her. Pollyanna is a lovely, happy book. Everything turns out just perfect in the end. I highly recommend it to people of all ages.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 132
Pages Read in 2016: 36,100
Hours Listened: 27 hours 2 minutes
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Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff

Black Ships Before Troy is a children’s retelling of the story of the Iliad. Nearly everything from Homer’s original is included. It uses language that children can understand. My 8 year old sometimes found it a bit boring, but my 10 year old thought it was quite a fascinating story. I highly recommend this version of the Iliad to anyone wanting to introduce it to their children.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 125
Pages Read in 2016: 34,070
Hours Listened: 27 hours 2 minutes
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The Odyssey by Geraldine McCaughrean

The Odyssey by Geraldine McCaughrean is a really good childrens version of Homer’s Odyssey. Everything is there, but it is easy to understand. My 8-year-old read it out loud to me in school. He’s not a very sensitive kid and most of the stories in the book didn’t faze him, but the scene where Odysseus’s dog dies of happiness at seeing Odysseus again was too much for him, so be aware there is some content that may disturb some kids (it is, after all, The Odyssey). I highly recommend reading this aloud to children (or having them read it).

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 113
Pages Read in 2016: 30,688
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Glinda of Oz by L. Frank Baum

After reading about an impending war between the Flatheads and the Skeezers in a far corner of Oz, Ozma and Dorothy head out on a journey to prevent the fighting. They discover the Flatheads are under the thumb of the Su-dic (Supreme Dictator) and the Skeezers are harshly ruled by Coo-ee-oh. Coo-ee-oh sinks her island under the lake when the Flatheads come to fight, but after she is turned into a swan, the Skeezers are stuck in their dome underwater. Glinda, along with most of the other major friends met in previous books, arrives to attempt to raise the island and save Ozma, Dorothy, and the Skeezers and restore peace to that part of Oz.

Glinda of Oz was the fourteenth and last Oz book, published after L. Frank Baum’s death. It is a bit more serious than many of the other books and certainly lacked the amusing wordplay. It was still extremely exciting and enjoyable. Having the majority of the friends make their appearances made it a lovely final installment to the series. I highly recommend it to everyone from children to adults (no need to read the other Oz books or to read them in order).

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 99
Pages Read in 2016: 25,290
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The Tale of Troy by Roger Lancelyn Green

A retelling of The Iliad and The Odyssey, The Tale of Troy is a very exciting book. It is designed for kids so it is simplified, but still covers what is in the epic poems by Homer. At the end are lists of the god and goddess names in Greek and Latin and other useful information about the stories. I recommend reading this book to anyone interested in those classical stories.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 97
Pages Read in 2016: 24,784
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The Tin Woodman of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Tin Woodman, along with the Scarecrow and Woot the Wanderer, set off on a journey to find the Tin Woodman’s former love, Nimmie Amee. Along the way they have many adventures including meeting the Tin Woodman’s near twin, the Tin Soldier, and meet many old friends including Polychrome the Rainbow’s Daughter.

As with all Oz books, this twelfth one, The Tin Woodman of Oz is filled with adventure and amusement. Wordplay isn’t as common in this one, but when it’s there it’s lovely (for example, the Tin Soldier’s original name was Captain Fyter). I highly recommend this and all the Oz books to people of all ages.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 96
Pages Read in 2016: 24,560
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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