I chose The Children’s Homer: The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy by Padraic Colum for our next read-aloud after reading Man of the Family because I really wanted to read something that was set in or pertained to Ancient Greece (or Rome or somewhere ancient 😉 ) to add a bit of context to our Cycle 1 memory work for Classical Conversations. Actually, I think the girls remember more about the ancients than they do anything else we’ve studied, mostly because they continue to pull out all the books we have about the time period and read and re-read them almost weekly. The Children’s Homer is an ambitious read-aloud for young elementary students because it truly is a re-telling (a paraphrase?) of The Iliad and The Odyssey. We all enjoyed this read-aloud so much! I haven’t read the original (well, not the original–you know–but a “grown up” translation) since college the first time around, 15-20 years ago. Colum‘s version reminds me of something one might read in high school; the beauty of the original is preserved throughout the tales:
Then Odysseus spoke before the company and said, “O Alcinous, famous King, it is good to listen to a minstrel such as Demodocus is. And as for me, I know of no greater delight than when men feast together with open hearts, when tables are plentifully spread, when wine-bearers pour out good wine into cups, and when a minstrel sings to them noble songs. This seems to me to be happiness indeed. But thou hast asked me to speak of my wanderings and my toils. Ah, where can I begin that tale? For the gods have given me more woes than a man can speak of! (Part II, Chapter 4)
The thing that impressed me so much in reading this is what a great story this is–epic, heroic–and what a treasure it is to be able to share it with my girls and for them to get it. I know that I have years of reading aloud to them to thank for that, as well as some previous exposure to the story. Lulu is really our resident expert on Greek mythology because she has read and re-read (and re-read!) D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths to the point that our copy (once brand-new) is now falling apart. If I wasn’t sure about some mythological figure mentioned in Colum’s work, our resident eight year old expert probably knew his or her identity. The other book that paved the way for our reading of this longer work is Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff. I wrote about both of these books back in a RAT post in April of 2011, and they have both continued to be well-beloved favorites here at the House of Hope since I first read them aloud to the girls. Sharing Colum‘s The Children’s Homer with my girls has been one of those shining classical education moments (which are admittedly sometimes few and far between) and I’m so glad to have experienced it and that the girls have this experience with a classic piece of literature as a part of their education.
I am linking this post up at Trivium Tuesdays at Living and Learning at Home.
If you’re joining us for Read Aloud Thursday for the first time, welcome! I’ve been hosting this meme for going on four years now (yes! really!), so there is a wealth of good read-aloud ideas in the archives, plus I’ve collected a list of most of my read-aloud reviews of chapter books in one place. I do so hope you’ll consider making Read Aloud Thursday a part of your week every week!