Argos: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog
And what of that family—his devoted wife, Penelope; his young son, Telemachos; his dog, Argos? For those twenty years, they wait, unsure whether 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 what a voyage it is!
These tales bring 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. This rousing story of devotion and determination is an original take on one of the most beloved myths of all time.
Hardy manages to keep to the traditional story of Homer’s Odyssey while bringing a fresh perspective to the retelling, presenting the much loved tale in a way that will appeal to children and adults alike.
I particularly enjoyed the distinctly canine personality Hardy brought to Argos’ character. From the first chapter, On the stupidity of sheep, it is clear that the story of Odysseus is in good hands.
Readers will enjoy the way both sides of the tale are told from Argos’ point of view. He witnesses the happenings on Ithaka as Penelope meets the suitors and he watches over her young son, Telelemachos as he grows up without his father. But the truly unique aspect of this story happens when the visiting animals bring their reports to Argos and we get to see Odysseus’ struggle to return home to his beloved Ithaka after his long absence.
In a world where it is sometimes difficult to get young minds interested in history and literature, books like Argos are vital methods of teaching through the power of story. I would recommend this to any young readers who have enjoyed books like the Percy Jackson series and are eager to learn more about the mythology of the Greeks. I would also recommend this book as classroom reading for elementary schools.
Argos is a figure who has a small but significant role in the original story, but even though his appearance is brief, it definitely captures the imagination. Did the dog really live for over 20 years, waiting patiently for his master? It's interesting to see the intrusion of the suitors from Argos' point of view, and Telemachus also becomes more of a fully fleshed character when shown interacting with Argos.
Hardy definitely clearly loves this story and has studied the various translations of the Odyssey and remains true to the original story. For high school readers who are offered a watered down version of The Odyssey in a literature textbook, this will provide more details in an interesting fashion. There are so few books set in ancient Greece that readers who crave books set during this period will pick this up avidly.