Tuesday, January 27, 2015

George O'Connor Blog Tour





Ares: Bringer of War
by George O'Connor
First Second, January 27, 2015
review copy provided by the publisher

"The stories that make up the body of Greek myths are what remain of their culture’s deeply held beliefs. The stories of Zeus and his family are more than just entertaining yarns about giants who slice open the sky and monsters so fearsome their gaze can turn a person to stone. They were, and are, an explanation of the world that that ancient culture’s people saw around them: a lightning storm could only be the King of Gods hurling his thunderbolt; a volcano could only be the escaped vapors of an entombed Titan. 
Not many people today believe in the gods of Ancient Greece. But their stories are still around, and they live on in all of our memories." George O'Connor (from his website, The Olympians).
The volumes in George O'Connor's Olympians series (Zeus, Athena, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, and Aphrodite) do so much more than simply retell a story from Greek mythology. They also feature a detailed family tree at the beginning of the book. At the end are extensive G(r)eek notes that cite page and panel numbers and are a combination of author commentary, historical context, and vocabulary and classical art connections. After that, there are resources for the reader who wants to know even more.

The whole premise of Ares is pretty amazing -- in it, O'Connor retells the Illiad with a focus on the gods' role in the Trojan War. In a 66-page graphic novel. For kids.

Wow.

Everything you know about Ares is shown to be true in this book -- when it comes to warmongering, he is the opposite side of the coin from Athena, who is the disciplined strategist of war. Ares represents the violent, crazed, bloodthirsty side of war. But in this book, we also see that he is a father with at least a teeny tiny soft spot in his heart.

One of my favorite spreads in the book is p. 12-13. It takes you by surprise as a reader, because the top half of both pages is one large panel. It shows the gods gathered around a sort of table that is the battlefield in the mortal world. The panels below the large top panel read left to right as usual, but all the way across both pages. When you turn the page, the story continues in the usual page-by-page format until the climax on p. 52-53 when the gods can't stand it anymore and they go down to the mortal world to battle it out "god-on-god" (p. 73 in the G(r)eek Notes) All of this is to say that besides being a master of mythology and storytelling, George O'Connor is an amazing graphic artist.

I recommend this book for students in grades 4 and up...all the way up to adults who would like a refresher course on mythology and a peek into some of the best graphic novels around.

You can follow George O'Connor on twitter @GeorgetheMighty.


STOPS ON THE BLOG TOUR:

Monday, January 26th
Kid Lit Frenzy

Tuesday, January 27th – A Year of Reading -- You Are Here!

Wednesday, January 28th
Great Kid Books

Thursday, January 29
Charlotte’s Library

Friday, January 30
Graphic Novel Resources

Saturday, January 3
Librarian’s Quest

Sunday, February 1
Musings of a Librarian

Monday, February 2
The Graphic Novelologist

Tuesday, February 3
Supernatural Snark

Wednesday, February 4
Panel Patter

Thursday, February 5
Finding Wonderland

Friday, February 6
The Book Rat

Saturday, February 7
Teen Lit Rocks

Sunday, February 8
The Brain Lair

Monday, February 9
Haunting Orchid

Tuesday, February 10
Alice Marvels


1 comment:

  1. My students started reading these books last year. I need to be sure our library has ordered this one. Graphic novels are not a favorite genre for me, but your review has piqued my interest in this book.

    ReplyDelete

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