This is a retelling of the Odyssey told by Odysseus's dog Argos. Argos stayed behind at home to protect the herd, and Odysseus's wife and son. Although the story of the Odyssey spans twenty years (the book is 400 pages), it moves along at a brisk pace. I mean there is a lot to cover and knowing the Odyssey only makes you anxious to get to whichever part of the adventure is your favorite part. You also get a look at the life Odysseus left behind:
"This morning I heard a ewe from the neighboring farm. The shepherd dogs have been out all night searching for it; I heard their sharp barks growing more desperate as the sky changed from black to gray. Soon Apollo's chariot will begin its crossing, and the ewe will be found dead. Of that I am sure. By now an eagle has found it, or it fell into a crevasse while grazing beyond its pastures. These things happen to poorly watched flocks. When they find its carcass, the ewe's owner will beat his shepherd and then the shepherd will kick his dog. It has always been thus."
The writing is beautiful. The descriptions lovely. Even though I had to give it a speed read I fully intend on reading it aloud and it will probably take us a good month or more to get through the whole thing.
If the dog stayed behind how does he know what is going on with the adventure? Well, the animals and birds in this world speak a common tongue, and since birds gossip, and cats and dogs come in on ships. Sometimes greek gods and goddesses give Argos direct updates after disguising themselves as animals because even the gods realize what a great and loyal dog he is. So the reader, as well as Argos, stay pretty much current through all of the Odyssey.
Small spoiler- Argos doesn't live to the end of the book, but the rest of the book is narrated by another just as likable dog (although, I wish Argos had lived longer)
Homeschool note- This is a completely valid way for middle-grade students to read the Odyssey. Kids who are looking for a Percy Jackson type book may not like this- it isn't always action packed and unfolds slowly- but you could say that for every version of Odyssey.
Argos: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog by Ralph Hardy
Please note that I received a free copy of this book from Media Masters Publicity without a review requirement or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that, I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.