Book Review: Here Comes Hercules!

hercules cover

Here Comes Hercules!

Hopeless Heroes Book 1

Written by Stella Tarakson

Illustrated by Nick Roberts

208 pages

Published by: Sweet Cherry Publishing

Publication date: 22nd February 2018

Age range: 6 +

Summary (from Goodreads):

When Tim Baker breaks his mum’s favourite vase, it’s the least of his problems. The Greek hero he’s released is in danger of doing far worse. To the flowers, the rug—Oh, no! Not the kitchen!

Hercules is only trying to be helpful but he’s just hopeless. It’s time to send this dim demigod home before Tim becomes ancient history.

The Greek vase was the only thing in the house that was worth any money. It was very, very old – thousands of years – and that made it valuable. Sometimes Mum talked about selling it. It would bring in enough money for her to quit her second job, giving her more time at home with Tim. She could never bring herself to do it, however: the vase was the last thing Dad had given her before he died.

And now it was smashed, scattered in pieces across the living room floor.

And it was all Tim’s fault.

I wanted to read this for two reasons: I love Greek mythology and I am currently teaching the Greek myths to Year 3 (Age 7 -8) and this book looked like it would be perfect for this age range, either as a class reader or for independent reading. Luckily, my predictions were correct and I am sure that this will be a massive hit with my pupils when I share it with them next week.

The story follows Tim who is doing his best to help his Mum makes ends meet, when he accidentally smashes an Ancient Greek vase and possibly the most valuable thing they own. Things really get strange when the hero pictured on the vase appears in real-life…yet only Tim seems able to see him!

Unfortunately, things in modern-day Britain are a bit different from Ancient Greece meaning that Hercule’s heroic deeds turn out more hopeless than helpful. What should Tim do?

What I liked: Tim is a wonderful character who really tries to do the best he possibly can. I liked the sympathetic portrayal of a single-parent working. The humour will be popular with the target audience and it dripfeeds in some important facts and stories from Greek mythology.

Even better if: I’m glad that this is the start of a series because there are so many big personalities and fascinating stories to be explored in Greek mythology.

How you could use it in your classroom: I teach Year 3 at the moment and we spend half a term looking at Greek myths in English and the Ancient Greeks in history. It is always brilliant and the children really enjoy the myths, particularly the monsters and the battles. I’m planning to read this aloud as one of our class readers at the end of each day and I think it will be perfect because it is relatively short, has engaging illustrations and painlessly introduces some facts about Ancient Greek mythology. I am also planning to read the next in the series, ‘Who let the Gods out? by Maz Evans as well as reading several myths every day from my trusty ‘Atticus the storyteller’s 100 Greek myths’

(Thank you to Netgalley and Sweet Cherry Publishing for my e-ARC)

16 Comments Add yours

  1. I love Greek Mythology! This sounds like such a cute book to use as an introduction to the topic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s what I’m planning to use it for in my Year 3 class, alongside reading lots and lots of the original myths! Greek Mythology can be quite dark which the children often find shocking, yet they really enjoy learning about monsters and battles!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There is always something so fascinating about monsters and battles!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, and it may tend towards a stereotype but I do find, every year, that some of the boys who are reluctant writers in my class are really inspired to write about the horrifying monsters they have created!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Really enjoyed your thoughts on this 😊I enjoyed it, but I’m glad it’s part of a series too as I thought the ending was much too abrupt.
    Amy xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I agree. I think these first two books were originally published as one, then split into two for this new edition. I’m just about to read the second book/ part so I’m hoping it will tie up a few loose ends.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Norrie says:

    this sounds adorable and funny 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is very cute! I think it is perfect for the age group I am teaching (age 7-8) and can see them really enjoying it!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I quite liked the black and white graphics as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, me too. I think they really do add to the story, particularly when Hercules is so gormless and poor Tim is in shock!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jasmine says:

    Excellent review! I love the sound of this book! I think my son may love it. Thanks for the recommendation 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Let me know if he likes it!

      Liked by 1 person

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