This beautifully written book by the famous Irish poet should be read by, or to, every child to give them an introduction to the most important work (outside of religious books) ever composed. The story here told has inspired people of all civilizations for nearly 3,000 years. No person should be allowed reach adulthood without having experienced some aspects of Greek classical civilization and these action-packed tales of heroism, humanity, weakness, tragedy and joy are a great starting-point. A sampling of the stories of the Iliad, Odyssey and of other Greek myths and heroes can be the start of a lifetime of fascination. When Telemachus is a baby his father, Odysseus, is called to go to war. When Telemachus grows older, the goddess Athene tells him to go seek his father. Telemachus obeys and great adventure begins. Odysseus is a favorite character in this book, because he was brave and wise. He would listen to advice given to him and was polite and thankful. Children can learn much from these stories, which demonstrate many positive character traits that everyone needs to cultivate.
Padraic Colum (1881-1972) was an Irish poet, novelist, dramatist, biographer and collector of folklore. He was one of the leading figures of the Celtic Revival. Colum published a number of collections of stories for children, beginning with The King of Ireland's Son. Three of Colum's books for children were awarded retrospective citations for the Newbery Honor. A contract for children's literature with Macmillan Publishers made him financially secure for the rest of his life. In 1922 he was commissioned to write versions of Hawaiian folklore for young people. This resulted in the publication of three volumes of his versions of tales from the island. Colum also started writing novels. These include Castle Conquer and The Flying Swans. The Colums spent the years from 1930 to 1933 living in Paris and Nice, where Padraic renewed his friendship with James Joyce and became involved in the transcription of Finnegans Wake. After their time in France, the couple moved to New York City, where they both did some teaching at Columbia University and CCNY. Colum was a prolific author and published a total of 61 books, not counting his plays. He adopted the form of Noh drama in his later plays. Molly died in 1957 and Padraic finished Our Friend James Joyce, which they had worked on together before her death. It was published in 1958. Colum divided his later years between the United States and Ireland. In 1961 the Catholic Library Association awarded him the Regina Medal. He died in Enfield, Connecticut, aged 90, and was buried in St. Fintan's Cemetery, Sutton.