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Goddess of yesterday

by Caroline Cooney


Book Review

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Publishers Weekly :

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Cooney (The Ransom of Mercy Carter; The Face on the Milk Carton) turns her considerable talent to a classical subject the prelude to the Trojan War. The cherished daughter of the chief of a tiny, nameless island in the Aegean, Anaxandra is taken as hostage by King Nicander, and brought to his home as companion to his daughter Callisto. When pirates attack Nicander's island, Anaxandra the lone survivor is taken in by King Menelaus of Sparta, who believes she is the Princess Callisto. In the court of Menelaus and his gorgeous but cruel wife, Helen, Anaxandra has a heart-poundingly immediate view of the shocking events set in motion when Paris, a handsome prince of Troy, comes to pay a visit. Spirited off to Troy itself in place of Helen's daughter Hermione, Anaxandra plays a small but crucial role in the first few days of an epic war and makes peace, at last, with her stolen identity. Cooney's trademark staccato narrative style gives the proceedings a breathless urgency, and if her telling lacks the grandeur of Ad?le Geras's Troy, for example, her gift for adopting the voices of adolescent girls results in a compulsively readable story and may well lead readers to other Greek myths. Ages 12-up.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Book Review

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School Library Journal :

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Gr 5-8-Anaxandra is six years old when she is taken as tribute by King Nicander. He is kindly toward her and takes her in to live with his own daughter, Callisto. Anaxandra leaves her former life behind, taking with her little more than her treasured statue of her patron goddess, Medusa. Then tragedy strikes-a band of pirates attacks her new home, and Anaxandra, hiding, is the only survivor. King Menelaus happens by soon after, and takes her to his island, thinking she is the Princess Callisto. His wife, Helen, does not believe this, and tries to prove it, but Anaxandra (now Callisto) becomes friends with Helen's children. When Paris arrives and takes off with Helen, "Callisto" protects her new friend by pretending to be Hermione, Helen's daughter, and is taken to Troy along with Helen's youngest son, Pleisthenes. Of course the ruse is later discovered, but not until they reach Troy, where Callisto determines to save Pleisthenes from certain death at the hands of Paris. Cooney has taken the basic facts of a well-known Greek myth and turned them into a grand adventure with a heroic girl at the center, creating a fictional situation and characters inside the known story. Lesser-known elements fill in her tale; the "Goddess of Yesterday" helps Anaxandra through many tough times, and Medusa in this form is the goddess of female wisdom. The characters, though many and varied, are complete and believable. A fine-tuned adventure that may leave middle-schoolers asking to read Homer.-Angela J. Reynolds, Washington County Cooperative Library Services, Hillsboro, OR

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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