This fifth volume of the Olympian series is absolutely AWESOME as George O'Connor tells his story through a powerful combination of image and text story-telling. In telling Poseidon's story, O'Connor focuses on a few themes, all of which serve as vehicles for further discussion and learning, and all of which can be used in integrating Common Core State Standards:
- Throughout the book Poseidon questions his "choice" to rule the seas and whether it was a choice at all. Was Zeus' idea to draw lots the best way to divide the cosmos? This, in turn, can lead to discussions for readers of all ages about decisions and decision making, and whether our decisions are as 'free' as we think they are. For example, on pages 4-7 O'Connor relays how Zeus and his brothers divided the spoils of the battle of the Titans. He notes that, "Zeus was awarded the sky. He alone of us grew up knowing it...there could be no other way...I of course, drew the sea. As with my brothers, this was the only way it could be... Or was it?"
|Poseidon: Earth Shaker by George O'Connor Image courtesy of First Second|
- O'Connor also relays Poseidon's role in Odysseus' story from Poseidon's perspective. As a result this book can be used for classroom or independent reading on Greek mythology as well as a preview for Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, and James Joyce's Ulysses. This is also a way to introduce 1st-person versus 3rd-person narratives and the value of perspective (complying and integrating Common Core State Standards).
|Poseidon Earth Shaker by George O'Connor image courtesy of First Second Books|
- To introduce Poseidon's son Theseus, O'Connor relays Poseidon's regret that "my children have always tended to be monstrous (Polyphemos the cyclops, Triton, Otus and Ephialtes, to name a few), and his reflection (on page 26) that "The desire to produce a suitable heir drives so much of what we do." This theme is found throughout history and literature and can be used, for example, when discussing the lengths Henry VIII took to have a son or Shakespeare's King Lear's quest to find the right child to inherit his kingdom(to name a few). This clearly fits the new Common Core State Standards integrating literature, non-fiction and history with multi-modal story telling. This can also be used as a writing theme (creative or analytic) on parenting roles and perspectives.
|Poseidon: Earth Shaker by George O'Connor image courtesy of First Second Books|
- Visual literacy -relates to our ability to use and understand images to tell emotional, meaningful and memorable stories. This is especially evident in the vivid images and story O'Connor presents as Poseidon wrestles with his 'choice' of being god of the seas. As Poseidon gently falls to the bottom of his realm, for example, he begins to wrestle with this 'choice.' While he feels the seas aptly reflects his temper and moods, his tempestuous nature builds as "the waves slide from my dark hair...from the roaring deep my voice thunders...I am Poseidon, earth shaker, ruler of the boundless sea, creator of storms, swallower of ships." This building of emotion is done brilliantly through the use of image and page/panel design and begs deeper analysis. O'Connor's portrayal of Thesues' role in mastering the labyringh and slaying the minotaur is also a classic example of how image can tell a story. Here are some discussion points to consider when critically reading and evaluating any portion of this book:
- Point out the use of color, lines and shading to build the story around the text
- Discuss how emotions are relayed in the images (especially in pages 5-12)
- Discuss the use of panel arrangement to help tell the story. On pages 37-42 O'Connor tells the story of Theseus and the Labyrinth. Here in particular O'Connor playfully uses panels to help tell the story.
Poseidon: Earth Shaker by George O'Connor image courtesy of First Second Books
Thank you for your visit.
Please leave your reactions and other teaching point in the comments.
And, please check out the links below for more on Poseidon.
- Interview with George O'Connor
- All about Poseidon from http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Poseidon.html
- All about Poseidon from http://www.mythindex.com/greek-mythology/P/Poseidon.html