Abrams Books for Young Readers
I have to think that for a writer, it must be difficult to translate Greek mytholgy into children's books. Even though they involve tremendous acts of heroism and bravery, they are all nonetheless predicated on jealousy, lust and anger. Also, Greek myths don't really begin and resolve as other stories. Rather, one story seamlessly leads to another, which leads to something else, which ends on a note far removed from whatever initially set things rolling.
Case in point, the marvelous tale Trojan Horse first begins with a wedding atop Mount Olympus and an incredibly bitchy contingent of immortal beings.
Interesting that it is a piece of fruit which sets things off, as I seem to recall a piece of fruit also being the catalyst of another religious mythology of my acquaintance. There are no smooth-talking serpents present in Mount Olympus, however, but rather the goddess Eris, who has cast an apple at the divine wedding with the words, "For the Fairest," written upon it. That seems innocent enough, but by the time we turn the page, thousands of blood-thirsty Greek warriors are sailing in Triremes across the ocean to make war with the horse-loving city of Troy.
The authors do a fine job in capturing this story as a single narrative experience. It doesn't seem nearly as disjointed as it could have been. There is a sharp distinction between the comical immaturity of the gods and the very real and bloody conflict on the ground below. They play off each other surprisingly well.
"That devious Odysseus!" says Zeus. "Why, he reminds me of me." This is contrasted on the next page with the Spartan soldiers yelling, "WAR!" as they slide down from out of the Trojan Horse's belly into the sleeping city. What to us seems to be a life and death struggle, to the gods is only merely an entertainment. There's a lesson in there somewhere.