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Here Comes Hercules! (Hopeless Heroes) Paperback – 22 Feb 2018
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A thumbs up from this house. Bring on Hera! --Linda, Books Of All Kinds
A magical adventure. --Donnie, 9
These books are awesome. --Alex, 8
About the Author
Stella graduated with a law degree, but always found writing to be her passion. Before long, she left her 'sensible' job and plunged into the world of publishing. She has now written over 30 books. As the daughter of Greek immigrants, Stella was steeped in Greek mythology, and she uses her love of Greece in Hopeless Heroes.
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But here's the thing. Tim is a great character, as is his Mom. And Hercules is a muscle-bound, sort of dense, but decent, hoot. Only Tim can actually see Hercules, so again, all of the usual complications ensue.
While this is a fairly shopworn premise, it isn't if you are a new chapter book reader, and have never read it before. Anyway, as long as the author handles the setup well I don't see that as a problem or as detracting from the pleasure and fun of the read. And our author does a fine job. The writing is direct and clear. The story is well paced and moves along crisply and clearly. There are some little jokes, and the big set scenes, (Hercules trying to clean the kitchen the same way he cleaned the Augean Stables), work as sly inside jokes and as just funny bits.
But here's something that gets overlooked, and that I thought really added to this book's charm and appeal. Tim always levels with his Mom on what's going on, and she always gives him the benefit of the doubt. Tim doesn't hide that he broke the urn. Mom doesn't treat Tim as a liar or dope when Tim explains the deal with Hercules. There is a lot of trust, love, understanding, and mutual support in this family, without ever being preachy or coy or weird. How's that for a bonus in a book that's still mostly silly in an amible sort of way?
So, we get a great kid, a dim but still heroic Hercules, some suspense, some drama, a lot of silly business and a happy ending in a well written and well crafted packge. Not bad at all. A happy find. (This appears to be the first book in an intended series. Fine by me.)
(Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book 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.)
Tim Baker is a good kid who helps out with the housework as his mum works two jobs to make ends meet. So when he breaks her favourite vase, the one that his mum treasures more than anything, Tim is worried. But that is the least of his worries as the vase held a secret and that secret is out in the shape of Hercules, a Greek hero who tries to help Tim but always seems to make things a little bit worse with hilarious consequences.
As soon as we finished with Hercules we jumped straight into HERA'S TERRIBLE TRAP for more madcap adventures when Tim finds himself in Ancient Greece with only Theseus to help him out. That is if Theseus can ever stop looking at himself long enough to be of any help!
We all really enjoyed both stories and the layout of the books really worked well as there are lovely illustrations throughout which help to paint a picture of the trouble the characters are getting into. The stories move along at a good pace, and my children always wanted one more page. While there are plenty of laughs throughout, there are also more sensitive topics mentioned like the bully who targets Tim or the fact that Tim's mum has to work two jobs to pay the bills, and this was expertly handled by the author, and it provided me with an opportunity to chat about these things with my kids in a light way.
My children found both books adventurous and funny, and it opened their eyes to mythology as they were eager to discover more about Hercules, Hera, and Theseus at different points of the stories. It is always great when you find a series to enjoy and the Hopeless Heroes series certainly gets a big thumbs up from this house. Bring on the next instalment!!
*I voluntarily reviewed this book from the Publisher
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