Orpheus in the Underworld by Yvan Pommaux

Published by Toon Books

Summary: Orpheus was the son of the king of Thrace and Calliope, muse of epic poetry. With that gene pool, it came as no surprise that he turned out to be not only musically gifted but pretty good looking as well.  Before long, he fell in love with Eurydice, and the two of them got married.  On their wedding day, Eurydice was bitten by a snake and died.  Overcome with grief, Orpheus tried to rescue her from the underworld.  He was allowed to take her, under the condition that he couldn’t look back.  Of course, right at the last possible moment, he couldn’t help himself, and checked to make sure she was behind him.  She vanished forever, and Orpheus went around singing songs about Eurydice until he was torn apart by jealous women.  (I’m not making this up).  Grades 4-8.

Pros:  The story is compellingly told, particularly the trip to the underworld.  The text is part regular book and part comic; the accompanying illustrations are beautiful.

Cons:  Mythology and comic art is a tricky combination, and some of the comic dialogue seems a bit forced (Orpheus: I couldn’t help myself, I needed to see you again.  Eurydice: I’m glad you left your lyre this time.  Your voice is music enough to my ears.).  Ick.

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