My next holiday read was actually a re-read ahead of a workshop I’m doing in September about how funny books can be in-roads to discussing more serious issues with children. ‘Who Let The Gods Out’ certainly does just that.
Elliot’s life has changed a lot over the past year – following the death of his Nan, his mum has been struggling to cope and can’t look after him like she used too. Elliot has been forced to take charge of the household: looking after mum, cooking, worrying over final notices and trying to keep up with his schoolwork.
After a particularly bad day at school, Elliot wishes upon a falling star. At best, he hoped his luck might change. What he didn’t expect was for the falling star to be the silver-haired constellation of Virgo on a secret (unasked) mission to deliver a special elixir to Prisoner 42, currently residing deep under Stonehenge after being imprisoned (secretly) by the mighty Zeus.
What ensues sees Elliot unwittingly release evil daemon of the dead, Thanatos, from his shackles, endangering all of humankind. This clean-up operation is going to require the powers of more than one God if life on Earth is to continue as we know it…
I actually read this title after Book Boy (who loved it and kept refusing to tell me anything about it) and enjoyed it as much as he did. As I mentioned previously, it is brilliant that Elliot’s mother’s mental illness and Elliot’s role as a young carer are central to the plot of the story. They are dealt with lightly and deftly woven into the tale, making the subject area very approachable for Key Stage 2 children. Broaching this issue in a story laced with humour such as this, provides a non-threatening to discussion.
Book Boy loves this story for its humour and references to some of the best-known names in Greek mythology – all of whom have been boiled down to the very essence of their characters. You have the once mighty Zeus played as a stereotypical ageing lothario, on his something-hundredth marriage and going to seed, his flirtatious matchmaker of a daughter, Aphrodite, who is not afraid to use her charms to get exactly what she wants, trendy Hermes, with his gadgets, gizmos and designers labels, and a whole host of other characters.
He was particularly taken by the ninja Queen (as was I) with ninja stars pinned on the underside of her ceremonial sash!
A great read for anyone who loves laughs, Greek Gods and ninja Queens!