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Reviewed by Lois J Wickstrom for Readers' Favorite
Persephone, by Simon Spence, is the Greek myth that explains why planet Earth has seasons. Persephone was the daughter of Demeter (the goddess of the harvest) and Zeus, king of the gods. Hades, the god of the underworld, saw Persephone picking flowers and decided he wanted to marry her. He went to her father, Zeus, and asked permission. Zeus didn’t ask Persephone or Demeter what they wanted. He just said, “Yes.” Then Hades kidnapped Persephone and took her to the underworld where dead people live. That’s only the beginning. Will Persephone decide that she likes her husband, Hades, and will she enjoy being the queen of the underworld? How long will she stay in the underworld?
Simon Spence tells a young-person friendly version of the myth of Persephone. This is the seventh in his series of Greek Myth tales. The art by Colm Lawton is based on art from Greek vases and other ancient drawings that have survived. Even though it ends “happily ever after,” Hades was no Prince Charming – he didn’t ask Persephone for her hand in marriage. And her mother didn’t approve. This version of the story is designed to encourage family discussions about power and family, and about the responsibilities of rulers to the people they rule. Love and power make a complicated mix. This retelling of the famous myth treats the dramatic plot gently for young readers, yet still manages to handle the problems of power both within the family and in the community while maintaining the traditional cautionary tale warnings.