Beasts and Monsters (Legends) Paperback – 7 May 2010
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Horn BookUnder Horowitz's hand, the tales from around the world have a casual tone, accessible language, dry humor, and just enough gore to keep reluctant readers going. Black-and-white illustrations add some excitement and visual interest. San Francisco Book ReviewThe Dragon and Saint George, The Sphinx's Riddle, The Legend of Medusa and The Heroism of Perseus...Horowitz gives each his own personal tweak and polish, retaining much of what made the originals so iconic while giving the stories a welcome update and dusting. It's obvious he's having a lot of fun with this collection . . . will serve as a gateway for younger readers to explore the vast amount of mythology stories on the shelves. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Don't mess with the gods. And if they mess with you? Run like hell . . . --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
When my daughters were young they thoroughly enjoyed Horowitz's original version as bed-time stories, and our well-worn copy is still somewhere in the house. Publishing a revised edition in these smaller, lighter books with bigger print is a good idea, and the new illustrations are excellent.
I think he slightly misses his own target of being more up-to-date and accessible, by still having a slightly patronising style. Fortunately the tales rattle along nicely and one's attention is held throughout. He has taken the trouble to get the names right, and is reasonably faithful to the core of the relevant myth or legend. Perhaps a bit more embellishment and detail might have helped with making them come more alive, to make the pictures behind the closed eye-lids light up in full colour, but that is difficult if one is to be as accurate as possible.
I tested the book on a much younger mind, and right now it is still with him, being re-read, again. The main criticism from that nine-year-old was that it was too short; he read it in less than twenty minutes. And I tend to agree, I think about double the size would have been just right, say ten or twelve stories. The book might have the right quantity of stories for say a five year old, but they are just a bit too gory, and perhaps a younger reader would have liked a few more illustrations.
On balance, I prefer the original version. But this is equally entertaining, if a bit brief. So, three and a half stars has to be squeezed up to four stars.
Anthony Horowitz wrote out this off-hand collection of retold myths and legends when he was 25. This puts the date of writing at about 1980, just when Richard Adams published The Iron Wolf and Other Stories, also a collection of retold myths and legends in a variety of styles. Did Horowitz read Adams? Impossible to know. But what is clear is that he did not manage to capture the absolute magic in the way that Adams did. The other thing is that the 1980s retelling is very much of its time. The style and idiom may well have been great for the teenagers of the day -- I was a teenager at the time, and it all seems rather familiar -- but not for today.
I was disappointed by this book. I suspect I would rather have enjoyed it when he wrote it, but times have moved on.
Apart from my slight reservations I think it is a good read for youngsters, Anthony Horowitz knows how to make each tale interesting, keeping close to the orginal stories but clearly giving his own twists. I would just stress that this is probably no good for anyone older than twelve.
The language techniques are superb amazing amazing amazing superb fantastic brilliant incredible awesome times one billion
On the whole he said he enjoyed the stories but found them to be a little on the short side. Having tried a couple of the stories myself and scanned the rest of the book I'd say this is not a bad book, but best suited to children in the later primary years (5, 6) but not really for children past year 7.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
HOROWITZ HAS Transformed many old myths and made them amusing to read and easy to follow
Wow that is Stephen
Horowitz cannot tell a story badly, and here he is as reliable as ever. As an introduction to mythology, this book wins in the sense that it leaves the reader wanting to know more. Read morePublished on 25 Dec. 2011 by Ray Blake
My 12 year old son was a little disappointed with this book as he was expecting it to be more like Anthony Horowitz's other books which he enjoyed. Read morePublished on 10 Jun. 2011 by Suzy & Bruce
My 10 year old boy is not into reading much, but loved this book and would read it without me asking.Published on 16 Dec. 2010 by M. Fisher