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Basic, modern retellings of The Iliad and The Odyssey for grades 5-8


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I need modern, easy-to-read versions (or both in one) that give the basics of The Iliad and The Odyssey but for high schoolers who are upper elementary or middle school reading level. Don't throw rotten stuff at me, but I don't like the formal language of Church or Colum. And I do NOT want graphic novels. Is there something *slightly* easier than Rosemary Sutcliff's versions or Roger Lancelyn Green's versions? 

I've been researching like crazy, and I'd love some feedback on the following:

The Iliad by Nick McCarty 

The Odyssey by Robin Lister 

The Iliad and The Odyssey by Gillian Cross (or Homer's Iliad and Odyssey by Gillian Cross... Is there a difference?)

The Adventures of Achilles and The Adventures of Odysseus by Hugh Lupton

The Trojan War by Bernard Evslin

The Adventures of Ulysses by Bernard Evslin

Thanks so much!

Edited by ereks mom
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Totally unfamiliar with all of those.

But if you can do it as a read aloud, or as "buddy reading" ("you read a page, I read a page"), the Rosemary Sutcliff retellings (Black Ships Before Troy, and The Wanderings of Odysseus) are very nice, and the illustrations really help pull a weaker reader through the text. Just a thought!

What about Geraldine Maccaughrean's The Odyssey? She also has a version of Gilgamesh The Hero, but, alas, no version of The Iliad.

Edited by Lori D.
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My 5th grader was able to read Sutcliff's versions, if that helps. I think esp if you did them as read alouds as Lori D suggests then middle and high schoolers could follow the story well enough regardless of their reading level.

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Coming back after having taken a quick look at your list of possible versions. I think any of them would work fine, although the Bernard Evslin ones look more informative, less story-driven of any of them. And the Robin Lister one has the fewest illustrations.

- The Iliad by Nick McCarty  -- looks very similar in language/illustrations//layout to the Rosemary Sutcliff books
The Iliad and The Odyssey by Gillian Cross -- looks like the most simple in reading level, with the least amount of text per page
The Odyssey by Robin Lister  -- looks most like a chapter book story
The Trojan War / The Adventures of Ulysses by Bernard Evslin -- looks the most informative of Ancient Greece culture/times (factual explanations within the story)
- Geraldine Maccaughrean's Odyssey -- looks similar in writing level and style, and in layout/fewer illustrations as the Robin Lister version

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