June 20, 2018

Book Review: Argos: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog by Ralph Hardy

Title: Argo: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog
Author: Ralph Hardy
Copy Obtained: From publisher

From a compelling new voice in middle grade comes a reimagination of The Odyssey told from the point of view of Odysseus’s loyal dog—a thrilling tale of loyalty, determination, and adventure.

For twenty years, the great hero Odysseus struggles to return to Ithaka. After ten years beneath the walls of Troy, he begins the long journey back home. He defeats monsters. He outsmarts the Cyclops. He battles the gods. He struggles to survive and do whatever it takes to reunite with his family.

And what of that family—his devoted wife, Penelope; his young son, Telemachos; his dog, Argos? For those twenty years, they wait, unsure if they will ever see Odysseus again. But Argos has found a way to track his master. Any animal who sets foot or wing on Ithaka brings him news of Odysseus’s voyage—and hope that one day his master will return. Meanwhile, Argos watches over his master’s family and protects them from the dangers that surround a throne without its king.

It has been a very long time since I read The Odyssey, so I will fully admit that a lot of what would be connections to the two stories were lost on me! I instead looked at it as a story of a dog's master as told by the dog.  I absolutely loved this concept, and I know that my students would love it as well.  What I really like about the book is that I can "sell" it to two different groups of readers.  I can sell it to the animal lovers that come in, AND I can sell it to the students who love to read adventure novels.  Wait - I can also sell it to my readers that like to read about gods and goddesses.  So that's great! 

I loved the character of Argos.  I'm a dog lover, so that helped.  What I liked about him was that he was loyal (of course), but also real.  There is a scene where he's taking a nap, and he's crabby that his nap was interrupted.  I loved that because it was what you'd think would happen with a dog or anyone! Who wants their nap interrupted.  That small scene made it much more real to me.  Silly I know, but true.  I also liked all the other animals in the story.  The birds made me giggle now and again.  

One aspect of the book I'll need to keep in mind when suggesting the books to kids is the language.  Some of the writing has an old-fashioned sound to it, and I know some kids will struggle with that.  And because of that, it can slow down the pace of the story.  For some kids this will be a big issue no matter how much they like dogs etc.  

Final thought: Fun to read the story from the perspective of the animal.  
Library Thoughts:  Yes I'd get it for the library, but would need to be a bit selective who I suggest it to.

Similar to: Any Rick Riordan book, Erin Hunt books.  

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