School starts back soon, and along with it school visits. I love this time of year because it's a new beginning for kids, teachers, and me. Right now I'm checking out middle grade novels with male protagonists and this one is a winner. Read on if you know a middle grade reader who's looking for some laughs and a few poignant moments all wrapped up in Greek mythology.
The Labors of Hercules Beal by Gary D. Schmidt combines heart and humor with the strong voice of twelve-year-old Hercules Beal. Ironically named Hercules is the smallest kid in his class. He lives with his older brother and misses his parents something awful. And now his new teacher has assigned him to study the 12 labors of the demigod, Hercules and find a way to duplicate them in his own life. Hercules has no idea where to find a nine-headed hydra or a Cretan Bull, but if he wants to survive his mythology class, he’s going to have to figure it out! My favorite repeated line..."I'm not making this up!"
I laughed and cried throughout this lovely book. Hercules and his friends make this romp through Greek mythology a joy, and his travel through grief, a triumph. Don’t miss this book.