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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ancient Greece from a Porcine Perspective

The Pig Scrolls by Paul Shipton
*Great for fans of Percy Jackson and mythology!*

Here's the thing: Gryllus is a pig. Literally. You see, he was a crew mate for Odysseus on the way back from the Trojan war, and when they hit Circe's island... well, you know the story. The thing is, when all the other guys got returned to human form, Gryllus thought, Gee, snuffling around for food all day? Sleeping? Not working? Now this is the life for me!

Until, that is, the day he was captured by some snot-nosed guys who decided to make some money off of a talking pig. Along comes some hilarious pig-hosted dinner theater, a pimply teenage Homer, and an assistant prophetess from Apollo's temple, Sibyl, who claims that Gryllus is destined to save the world (including those pesky gods and goddesses). Off he goes--kicking and screaming and proclaiming he really isn't that interested in hero duties--on a riotous journey through ancient times with a great cast of characters, some familiar and some a little more unique.

Through Gryllus' narration--cheeky, self-important, and more than a little exaggerated--Shipton keeps the laughter and action going along the whole adventure. Awesome, snarky lines will have kids and adults alike rolling on the floor, such as "puzzlement crossed the big lad's face, like a cloud across the moon on a night when the moon is looking especially puzzled" and "[he] wasn't the brightest--clearly several Spartans short of the full three hundred."

Though history isn't told in complete accuracy (we meet the creator of sliced bread and the splitting of the atom, and the historical figures are mish-mashed as needed, despite the era), it's smart, sarcastic, funny... and, well, really smart, sarcastic, and funny. This is one of those books that somehow got published under the radar and has stayed there ever since, despite its brilliance. Kids who flew through Percy Jackson's epic adventures, along with any other mythological reads, will delight in Gryllus' story and in the way he tells it. Paul Shipton has created a fun read for kids of all ages, grown-ups included. Highly recommended!
Follow Gryllus on additional adventures in his second book, The Pig Who Saved the World.


Age 10-14
Copyright August 2007
ISBN: 9780763633028
Image from www.candlewick.com

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