new versions of old stories

My 3yo son recently developed a love for monsters.

He was headed in the Godzilla-movie-monster and Halloween-monster direction (based on the toys he was seeing in the stores), but I succeeded in diverting him in a more ancient-world direction with DK Classics: The Odyssey and Ludmila Zeman’s Gilgamesh Trilogy.

Jury’s still out on DK’s Odyssey — which we’ve been skipping around in, rather than reading from beginning to end — but my son loves the Gilgamesh story and all its Mesopotamian monsters.

These are whitewashed and bowdlerized, but the illustrations are gorgeous and all the main characters and events of the epic are introduced. I started to read the boy Stephen Mitchell’s translation of the original Gilgamesh (which I love), but quickly realized that some of the story was way too adult for him. I was happy to find a version written for children. I think Ludmila Zeman changed more than she had to, but the result is a set of stories compelling to a 3yo boy and his father, both.

Highly recommended, but not unreservedly so.

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