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Bull



by
David Elliott

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Houghton
Imprint
Print
ISBN
9780544610606

Awards and Honors
Green Mountain Book Award 2018—2019 Nominee 2018 Capitol Choices, Ages Fourteen and Up
YALSA 2018 Best Fiction for Young Adults
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2017, Teen Books
Amazon.com Best Books of 2017, Young Adult
Booklist Top of the List Editor’s Choice, Fiction Older Readers
YALSA 2018 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers Nominee
New York Public Library Best Books for Teens 2017
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books 2017 Blue Ribbons, Fiction
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Strong Language, Sexual Content: Strong Sexual Content/Themes, Violence: Cruelty to Animals
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David Elliott turns a classic on its head in form and approach, updating the timeless story of Theseus and the Minotaur for a new generation. Author's notes about the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur and the poetic forms used.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Strong Language, Sexual Content: Strong Sexual Content/Themes, Violence: Cruelty to Animals

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

200

Trim Size

8 1/4" x 5 1/2"

Dewey

F

AR

4.3: points 1

Lexile

600L

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

5

JLG Release

Jun 2017

Book Genres


Topics

Theseus, King of Athens. Minotaur. Greek mythology. Novels in verse. Gods.

Standard MARC Records

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books*, Booklist*, The Horn Book Magazine*, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

School Library Journal

In this retelling of the Greek myth of the Minotaur, the familiar characters illustrate their viewpoints in verse. The story begins with Poseidon as the powerful mastermind behind the famous events that are prompted by King Minos’s hubris: Minos’s wife is impregnated by a bull and gives birth to Asterion, half-man/half-bull. Once Asterion reaches the age of 17, the narrative shifts to present tense, when King Minos orders that a labyrinth be built to imprison Asterion. Asterion’s 15-year-old sister, Ariadne, attempts to rescue him, but instead she succumbs to attractive Theseus, who has been sent to kill the Minotaur. Elliott’s contemporary take on the classic myth incorporates modern slang, profanity, and a bawdy sense of humor into an accessible, highly entertaining, and original novel. The characters are given a sense of humanity not found in the original tales; the young adults, for example, are afforded impetuousness, ignorance, easy trust, arrogance, and quick infatuation, all of which make them easily identifiable and relatable to a current teen audience. The use of varied poetic forms and negative space on the page conveys urgent emotions, including instability and madness, anger and self-righteousness. VERDICT Recommended for most large collections, particularly those in need of engaging interpretations of classic myths.—Hillary St. George, Los Angeles Public Library

Horn Book

[STARRED REVIEW]
There’s little grand or heroic in Elliott’s clever verse version of the classical story of the Minotaur: its title, Bull, is topically and colloquially apt. The story unrolls in the voices of seven characters, each with his or her own poetic form (an appended author’s note details them), but it’s the god Poseidon who determines the tone— as instigator, manipulator, and despiser of humankind. His profane, derisive take on humans (“Man! / That guy’s a dick!” he says of Minos) is a spreading stain that permeates even the innocence of Asterion the bull-headed boy, maternal Pasiphae (who “take[s] refuge in madness”), and valiant Ariadne. The sympathetic heart of Elliott’s story is Asterion/the Minotaur: Elliott presents him as a physically deformed youth, suffering cruelly from his hateful father’s abuse. But Poseidon’s voice comments on all, and Elliott characterizes him as despicable, misogynistic, and sexually prurient. Raplike wordplay, rhymes with coercive predictability, unpleasant intensity—it’s horribly effective, culminating in the god’s conclusion: “the things you mortals do: / Ridicule. / Follow orders. / Stay passive. / Betray. / What a pity! / It could have gone another way.” Such is the matter of the Greek myths. deirdre f. baker

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

In this retelling of the Greek myth of the Minotaur, the familiar characters illustrate their viewpoints in verse. The story begins with Poseidon as the powerful mastermind behind the famous events that are prompted by King Minos’s hubris: Minos’s wife is impregnated by a bull and gives birth to Asterion, half-man/half-bull. Once Asterion reaches the age of 17, the narrative shifts to present tense, when King Minos orders that a labyrinth be built to imprison Asterion. Asterion’s 15-year-old sister, Ariadne, attempts to rescue him, but instead she succumbs to attractive Theseus, who has been sent to kill the Minotaur. Elliott’s contemporary take on the classic myth incorporates modern slang, profanity, and a bawdy sense of humor into an accessible, highly entertaining, and original novel. The characters are given a sense of humanity not found in the original tales; the young adults, for example, are afforded impetuousness, ignorance, easy trust, arrogance, and quick infatuation, all of which make them easily identifiable and relatable to a current teen audience. The use of varied poetic forms and negative space on the page conveys urgent emotions, including instability and madness, anger and self-righteousness. VERDICT Recommended for most large collections, particularly those in need of engaging interpretations of classic myths.—Hillary St. George, Los Angeles Public Library

Horn Book

[STARRED REVIEW]
There’s little grand or heroic in Elliott’s clever verse version of the classical story of the Minotaur: its title, Bull, is topically and colloquially apt. The story unrolls in the voices of seven characters, each with his or her own poetic form (an appended author’s note details them), but it’s the god Poseidon who determines the tone— as instigator, manipulator, and despiser of humankind. His profane, derisive take on humans (“Man! / That guy’s a dick!” he says of Minos) is a spreading stain that permeates even the innocence of Asterion the bull-headed boy, maternal Pasiphae (who “take[s] refuge in madness”), and valiant Ariadne. The sympathetic heart of Elliott’s story is Asterion/the Minotaur: Elliott presents him as a physically deformed youth, suffering cruelly from his hateful father’s abuse. But Poseidon’s voice comments on all, and Elliott characterizes him as despicable, misogynistic, and sexually prurient. Raplike wordplay, rhymes with coercive predictability, unpleasant intensity—it’s horribly effective, culminating in the god’s conclusion: “the things you mortals do: / Ridicule. / Follow orders. / Stay passive. / Betray. / What a pity! / It could have gone another way.” Such is the matter of the Greek myths. deirdre f. baker

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