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The Iliad: Essential Classics    retold by Pauline Francis order for
by Pauline Francis
Order:  USA  Can
Evans, 2014 (2014)
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

It is difficult to find a simplified version of a great classic that doesn't ruin the original or turn it into a travesty. If you wish to expose a young reader to a work such as The Iliad, I think it is important to find a retelling of the story that doesn't do this. Pauline Francis does a decent job of making this Greek classic accessible without talking down to the reader.

Yes, this version is a little violent, but so is the original. Francis doesn't overdo it, but she doesn't pretend that this isn't the account of a major ancient conflict either.

There are full page color illustrations which help the reader picture some of the action but, frankly, the art is just passable and not really that special. That's OK, though, because that places the emphasis on the narrative where it should be.

If you have a child who is curious and ready to try a retelling of Homer's classic, this version is as good as any out on the market. Please, make sure the youngster understands that after reading this he/she is not only familiar with the outline of the work and that some day it will be time to return to the epic poem and read it in its original format.

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