Title of the work
Country of the First Edition
First Edition Date
First Edition Details
Ian Trevaskis, Hopscotch: Medusa Stone. Newton, New South Wales: Walker Books Australia, 2009, 235 pp.
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Author of the Entry:
Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, email@example.com
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Miriam Riverlea, University of New England, firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Nkemleke, Universite de Yaounde 1, email@example.com
, b. 1949
Ian Trevaskis is an Australian writer of children’s and young adults’ fiction. Born in Geelong, Victoria, he taught for over thirty years at Tallangatta Primary School, in New South Wales. He now lives in the northern part of Victoria. His works include picture books, and novels, with an emphasis on fantasy and humour.
Bio prepared by Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hopscotch: Medusa Stone is the story of Australian teens, Jake and Hannah, who travel from a sleepy sea-side town, “Pelican Bay,” to the world of Ancient Greek mythology, when they play a game of hopscotch, using directions from a mysterious parchment, and a magical stone (the ‘Medusa Stone’ of the title). They find themselves in the power of a games-maker, Costas the Giant, who commands them to retrieve items from the Ancient Greek heroes—Odysseus, Perseus, and Hercules. Their encounters with the heroes are largely comic, though the monsters they face are generally frightening. Hannah is transported into the Wooden Horse, and follows Odysseus through his encounter with Polyphemus, before joining forces with Perseus. Both Odysseus and Perseus are comically reluctant heroes, whose timidity contrasts with Hannah’s impatient Aussie energy. In contrast, Jake is transported into ‘reality,’ joining forces with local fishermen (thus dividing the novel’s peep-hole through time qualities into myth and history). Eventually they gather the required items (the sandals of Perseus, the club of Heracles) and return them to Costas. But before they can go home, the game of the gods whisks them off to new adventures, in Egypt, and the sequel: Hopscotch: Golden Scarab.
Hopscotch: Medusa Stone is an example of portal fantasy, whereby modern Australian teenagers are transported by a magical device to another world. Trevaskis divides this world into heroes and ordinary people, enabling readers to learn about Ancient Greek myth, and some social history. The Australian teenagers’ identity is reinforced: Hannah is mostly cleverer than the comically under-confident heroes; Jake is obsessed with surfing and surfs the perfect wave just before heading home. Apart from portraying the heroes as comic figures, the retelling of the myths is mostly faithful; of interest is the depiction of ordinary people’s responses to the monsters (e.g. Medusa).
Elizabeth Hale, “Feminist Medusas and Outback Minotaurs, why myth is big in children’s books.”The Conversation, Friday Essay, 2016; theconversation.com (accessed: August 3, 2018).
Sophie Masson and Elizabeth Hale, “Mosaic and Cornucopia: Fairy Tale and Myth in Contemporary Australian YA Fantasy. Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature, v. 54 (3), pp. 44-53 (2016) ISSN: 00067377.