Argos: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog

 
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Argos: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog
Author(s)
Age Range
8+
Release Date
May 31, 2016
ISBN
9780062396785
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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 does 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 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.

Editor reviews

2 reviews
Young fans of Percy Jackson will love Argos
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
I have always been a fan of Greek Mythology, especially retellings like Argos. Telling the story of Odysseus through the eyes of his dog is such a brilliant way to introduce children to the stories and myths that have had such a profound impact on literature.
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.
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Tell me, muse, of the DOG of many ways
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Argos is Odysseus' loyal dog, who was also called Boar Slayer, since he was the only survivor of a boar attack that killed his mother and littler mates. When his master goes off to fight in the Trojan war, Argos stays behind to protect Penelope and the young Telemachus. After the war is over, Argos gets news of Odysseus' escapades on his return home from a variety of creatures who relay them to him. This way, the reader gets to see the events of the Odyssey in relationship to the occurrences back in Ithaka. Argos fears for his master's safety but is powerless to do anything; he also can't help Penelope as much as he would like. Once Odysseus finally makes his way home, Argos lays down his weary burden, so Odysseus is aided in his difficult return to his home by Argos' son, Leander.
Good Points
This is a very clever way to retell the Odyssey for today's readers, and I think that this is a great example of Homeric tradition-- tell the same story, but add a new and unique twist on it. I've always thought it was a little odd that Odysseus' story is told mostly in flashbacks, so this is a great way to lay out the timelines of both Odysseus and Penelope so we can understand how they occurred together.

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.
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