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Orpheus in the Underworld: A TOON Graphic

Review

Orpheus in the Underworld: A TOON Graphic

illustrated by Yvan Pommaux and translated by Richard Kutner
ORPHEUS IN THE UNDERWORLD tells the story from Greek mythology of Orpheus and his love, Eurydice. Orpheus was the son of Calliope, the muse of epic poetry, and a mortal, the King of Thrace. Orpheus was known for his ability to play the lyre and his singing ability. All of nature reacted and rallied around Orpheus when he played and sang. Many women fell for Orpheus because of his talents, but it wasn’t until he met Eurydice that Orpheus paid any attention to his admirers. 
 
Eurydice and Orpheus were quickly married, but the fates had different plans for the happy couple --- Eurydice was bit by a snake on her wedding day. Orpheus mourns the loss of Eurydice quite deeply; “The world had never seen such sorrow” (p. 27). He decides that he will travel to the underworld in order to find his love. He encounters many obstacles but is able to successfully navigate each of them with his singing and playing ability. When he finally reaches the king of the underworld, Hades, and Hades’ wife, Persephone, he sang of his longing for Eurydice and convinced them to allow Eurydice to leave with him. However, Orpheus could not turn around to ensure that Eurydice was behind him until they were both out of the underworld. If he did, he would lose her forever this time. Unfortunately, as they near the exit of the underworld, Orpheus cannot resist turning around and when he does, Eurydice is returned to the underworld forever. 
 
This book would be a helpful addition to any curriculum that includes an examination of Greek mythology.
 
ORPHEUS IN THE UNDERWORLD employs Toon Graphic’s visual narrative in order to tell the story for visual readers. The story is accompanied by many pictures that serve to help tell the story. This could be called a picture book for older readers, but it’s told in a way that could be understood by younger readers as well. The text includes pronunciation guides to help with the sometimes difficult Greek names.
 
This book would be a helpful addition to any curriculum that includes an examination of Greek mythology. Although it is targeted at visual readers, it could certainly be used with all readers.

Reviewed by Aimee Rogers on June 8, 2015

Orpheus in the Underworld: A TOON Graphic
(TOON Graphics Mythology #1)
illustrated by Yvan Pommaux and translated by Richard Kutner