CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 5 . . . .October 27, 2006
Jeremy in the Underworld. (Orca Echoes).
Becky Citra. Illustrated by Jessica Milne.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2006.
63 pp., pbk., $6.95.
Mythology, Greek-Juvenile fiction.
Time travel-Juvenile fiction.
Hades (Greek deity)-Juvenile fiction.
Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.
Review by Lisa O'Hara.
In Jeremy in the Underworld, Becky Citra continues the series started in Jeremy and the Enchanted Theater. Mr. Magnus, the owner of the theater, has been staging plays based on Greek myths, but Zeus has put a curse on the theater because he says that Mr. Magnus is ruining the plays by mixing things up and changing the endings. Jeremy travelled through time to talk to Zeus who gave Jeremy three scrolls with three riddles and said he would lift the curse when the riddles were solved. In this book, Jeremy has another adventure in the Enchanted Theater when he travels to Hades to solve the first riddle.
In attempting to solve the first riddle, Jeremy and Aristotle, the cat, are sent to Hades where Jeremy, as well as solve the riddle, must do five brave things in order to get back to the present. In his travels through Hades. Jeremy meets the Ferryman, the three-headed dog, the seven sisters, Sisyphus, Hercules and Persephone, all the while avoiding Hades himself.
The horse blew steam from their nostrils. They stamped their feet. Hades scanned the silent crowd. "I'm looking for a boy and an orange cat!" he roared.
A huge man with big shoulders stepped in front of Jeremy and Aristotle. It was Hercules! "We haven't seen them," he called back.
Jeremy held his breath. The heroes murmured in agreement. "Hercules is right. We haven't seen them," they shouted.
Hades glowered. He whipped the horses and spun the chariot around. He disappeared up the road in a thunder of galloping hooves.
"Thanks, Hercules," said Jeremy.
"I like to help a friend," said Hercules.
This book might spark an interest in Greek myths for children since the book touches on many of the myths involving Hades. Jeremy takes a 21st century view of the characters in Greek mythology and solves some of the problems of those condemned to toil in Hades as some of his brave deeds. He also encounters the Pool of Forgetfulness and the pomegranate tree that caused Persephone's downfall. If children aren't interested in Greek myths, this is still a good story that will teach them a bit about mythology anyway.
Jessica Milne's black and white illustrations add to the story and make some of the mythology more understandable, an example being the picture of Hades that she draws to accompany the excerpt above. The book consists of a dozen 3- or 4-page chapters, each with an illustration making it a good early reader for children.
Lisa O'Hara is a mother of three and librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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