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Peakaboo Animation , Eduardo Acín Dal Maschio , Carla Pascual Riog

The Odyssey [La Odisea]

YEAR: 2019

COUNTRY: Spain

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Title of the work

The Odyssey [La Odisea]

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Spain

Original Language

Spanish

First Edition Date

2019

First Edition Details

Eduardo Acín Dal Maschio, Carla Pascual Riog, La Odisea. Spain: Shackleton Books, 2019, 208 pp.

ISBN

8417822852

Official Website

Book's description on Shackleton Books (accessed: August 11, 2021). 

Genre

Chapter book*
Illustrated works

Target Audience

Children

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Lisa Dunbar Solas, drlisasolas@ancientexplorer.com.au

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, ehale@une.edu.au

Elzbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, elzbieta.olechowska@gmail.com

Female portrait

Peakaboo Animation (Company)

Peakaboo Animation is an independent studio and distribution company based in Barcelona that specialises in development and production of animation works for children. Previously, the studio has created works for television and digital platforms. It also creates storyboards and illustrations for publishing companies.


Company's profile on LinkedIn (accessed: April 10, 2021).


Bio prepared by Lisa Dunbar Solas, drlisasolas@ancientexplorer.com.au


Male portrait

Eduardo Acín Dal Maschio (Author)

Eduardo Acín Dal Maschio graduated from a university degree majoring in Philosophy in 1974.  He has devoted much of his professional life to the publishing world, contributing to numerous projects related to philosophy, science and history. He is the author of two volumes of philosophical disclosure ("divulgación filosófica"), following Plato and San Agustín and also co-authored Persiguiendo a Einstein with Antonio Acín. Acín has written numerous books for children regarding  important historical, artistic and scientific figures, including Socrates, Plato, Pablo Picasso, and Louis Pasteur.

Since 2019, Acín has been the partner and publishing director of Shackleton books. As outlined on its website, the company's vision is to help readers explore other "fascinating regions of knowledge and culture" ("fascinantes regiones del saber y la cultura"). Meanwhile, its name was inspired by the famous Anglo-Irish explorer, Ernest Shackleton, who led three expeditions to Antarctica.


Sources: 

Author's profile on Shackleton Books (accessed: July 7, 2021).

Author's profile on LinkedIn (accessed: July 7, 2021).


Bio prepared by Lisa Dunbar Solas, drlisasolas@ancientexplorer.com.au


Female portrait

Carla Pascual Riog (Author)

Carla Pascual Riog graduated from the social sciences and humanities in Barcelona in 1987. Between 2003 and 2009, Pascual studied political science at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona. At the same university, she then completed a Masters in Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Thought (Estudios Comparativos de Literatura, Arte y Pensamiento) between 2010 and 2013.

Pascual has devoted much of her professional career to the publishing world, specialising in children's literature. Since 2015, Pascual has worked at Shackleton Books as an editor of children's and adolescent literature. Under this publishing company, she has published a number of books, including Malala Yousafzai, a children's book about the life of the Pakistani activist who advocated for children's rights. She has also collaborated with Eduardo Acín to create numerous books, including Charles Darwin


Sources: 

Author's profile on Shackleton Books (accessed: July 7, 2021).

Author's profile on LinkedIn (accessed: July 7, 2021). 


Bio prepared by Lisa Dunbar Solas, drlisasolas@ancientexplorer.com.au


Summary

La Odisea is an adaptation of the classical Greek epic poem, The Odyssey, by Homer. The illustrated chapter book narrates the adventures of Ulysses (Ulises in Spanish), the king of Ithaca, on his long and treacherous journey home from Troy after successfully winning the war against the Trojans. Ulysses faces many challenges on his journey. He battles with supernatural, terrible and ghastly monsters and creatures, loses his members of his crew and possessions, but still he perseveres, motivated by the desire to see his wife and son once more. 

Ulysses' voyage is divided into six main chapters, each one concentrating on a particular challenge that takes place in a different geographical location in the Mediterranean. A stylised geographical map of the region is displayed at the start of each chapter and serves to help orientate the reader through the landscape. It also summarises the main events of the chapter. For example, the heads of the monsters, creatures and people that Ulysses encounters are depicted on the location. 

Analysis

La Odisea is an entertaining adaptation of the homeric poem, which centres principally on the trials and tribulations of the ancient Greek hero, Ulysses. Notably, the role of other characters, including his son Telemaco are reduced. La Odisea casts Ulysses as a "much-enduring" hero. He demonstrates qualities, such as courage, perseverance and bravery. Such qualities underpin the modern notion of a hero. Hero narratives are prominent in contemporary popular culture. They serve a range of human needs, including the desire to be inspired, gain understanding and wisdom as well as to extract meaning from experiences.* Notably, the concept of the hero is riddled with paradoxes**; for example, terrible experiences can bring out the best in people. While hero narratives have been told throughout history, their associated meanings are tied intimately to their cultural and historical context. Following this, in the ancient Greek world, Ulysses possessed qualities that made him an atypical hero.*** In the original poem, his experiences are linked linguistically to the classical idea of labour, or aethlos, which carries associations with "toil and suffering".**** Like other Greek heroes, such as Achilles, Ulysses demonstrated the ability to take on an aethlos, a contest or test, and this was a highly-valued attribute in Ancient Greece.*****. Yet, in contrast to Achilles, Ulysses did not undertake a contest of his choosing or one that leads to an early death.****** Meanwhile, he was also bestowed with the epithet, polutlas, meaning "much-enduring".******* As Hall (2018) has argued, Ulysses' journey represents an ancient transitional rite of initiation.******** La Odisea's portrayal of Ulysses arguably serves to inspire the reader by providing a mythological example of how it is possible to overcome adversity through perseverance and by building resilience.

The narrator is portrayed as an ancient Greek female citizen and plays a vital role in helping the reader relate to Ulysses and understand the severity of his ordeals. She appears at the start and end of each chapter and is depicted wearing a chiton, a tunic that fastens at the shoulder and was worn by both men and women. Meanwhile, her hair is also adorned with a stylised olive branch, another symbol associated with the values of peace and victory in ancient Greece. The narrator provides key background information, as well as explains and summarises key information and events. In particular, she highlights major differences between our modern world and that of ancient Greece. For example, in chapter one, she explains the treacherous nature of travel in the ancient Mediterrean region. As she says, "Without roads or modern vehicles, the distances became enormous and the times, endless" ("Sin carreteras ni vehículos modernos, las distancias se hacían enormes y los tiempos, eterno" (Acín and Pascual 2019). Meanwhile, she also encourages the reader to develop empathy for Ulysses. At the start, she summarises his journey, explaining how he faced many challenges and difficulties, but persevered. She then clarifies his motivation; she notes that he persevered because he wanted to return to his wife and son. At this point, the narrator alludes to a major moral of the story; heroes do not always seek to undergo trials and do not always win, but regardless of what happens to them, they keep trying. Meanwhile, they are not motivated to take on these contests because they are seeking fame, approval or praise; instead, they are driven by deeper emotional needs. Throughout the narrative, she continues to foster a relationship between the reader and Ulysses by expressing a range of emotions, including happiness, concern and sadness.  For example, at the end of Ulysses' journey, when he loses 11 ships, the narrator is depicted as weeping. In this critical scene representing the story's climax, the authors' also utilise the narrator to build suspense; she asks whether Ulysses and his remaining crew will make it to the end of their journey. 

The authors' decision to portray the narrator as an ancient Greek girl is significant. While the homeric poem includes a range of characters that are complex, there is a clear distinction between the roles of men and women and these reflect ancient Greek ideas and notions regarding gender.********* For instance, women and female supernatural beings play small and supportive roles in the story.********** The authors do not attempt to subvert these ancient characters and ideas. The female Greek narrator is still cast in a supportive role but it is central to the story. Her importance is also reinforced in the story's illustrations; where she is present, she is most often represented in a close and front-facing profile, as if looking directly at the reader. Her dominant presence arguably also helps to make the narrative more relatable to female readers. 

Another key element of the adaptation are the language techniques employed to engage the reader. For instance, key phrases, events and actions are highlighted in bold and colour. Meanwhile, onomatopoeia is used often to animate the characters. For example, "Ñam, ñam," represents the sound of the giant royals of Isla Eolia eating at the great banquet (Acín and Pascual 2019). Meanwhile, the narrator asks questions and comments related to major events to encourage the reader to reflect on their nature and potential meanings.

La Odisea is an engaging adaptation of the homeric poem, which can serve to inspire discussions about the nature of endurance and resilience throughout time and how we can overcome adversity by building resilience and focusing on the things that are truly important to us.  


* Allison, Scott T., Goethals, George R., "Hero Worship: The Elevation of the Human Spirit", Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 2016, pp. 187-210.

** Allison, Scott T. and Goethals, George R.,  "The Seven Paradoxes of Heroism". Published 3 December, 2012 (accessed: April 20, 2021).

*** Finkelberg, Margalit, "Odysseus and the Genus 'Hero'", Greece & Rome, Vol. 42, No. 1 (Apr., 1995), pp. 1-14.

**** Ibidem, p. 2. 

***** Ibidem, p. 2-3.

****** Ibidem, p. 2. 

******* Ibidem. 

******** Hall, Edith, The Return of Ulysses: A Cultural History of Homer's Odyssey, 2008. London  I.B. Tauris.

********* Gailey, Tonhi, Gender Roles and Hero Myths: Can Gender Inequality Ever Be Justified?. Published in 2017, (accessed: Ausgust 11, 2021).

********** Ibidem.


Further Reading

Allison, Scott T., Goethals, George R., "Hero Worship: The Elevation of the Human Spirit", Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 2016, pp. 187-210.

Allison, Scott T. and Goethals, George R.,  "The Seven Paradoxes of Heroism". Published 3 December, 2012 (accessed: April 20, 2021).

Finkelberg, Margalit, "Odysseus and the Genus 'Hero'", Greece & Rome, Vol. 42, No. 1 (Apr., 1995), pp. 1-14.

Gailey, Tonhi, Gender Roles and Hero Myths: Can Gender Inequality Ever Be Justified?. Published in 2017, (accessed: Ausgust 11, 2021).

Hall, Edith, The Return of Ulysses: A Cultural History of Homer's Odyssey, 2008. London  I.B. Tauris.

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Leaf pattern
Leaf pattern

Title of the work

The Odyssey [La Odisea]

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Spain

Original Language

Spanish

First Edition Date

2019

First Edition Details

Eduardo Acín Dal Maschio, Carla Pascual Riog, La Odisea. Spain: Shackleton Books, 2019, 208 pp.

ISBN

8417822852

Official Website

Book's description on Shackleton Books (accessed: August 11, 2021). 

Genre

Chapter book*
Illustrated works

Target Audience

Children

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Lisa Dunbar Solas, drlisasolas@ancientexplorer.com.au

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, ehale@une.edu.au

Elzbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, elzbieta.olechowska@gmail.com

Female portrait

Peakaboo Animation (Company)

Peakaboo Animation is an independent studio and distribution company based in Barcelona that specialises in development and production of animation works for children. Previously, the studio has created works for television and digital platforms. It also creates storyboards and illustrations for publishing companies.


Company's profile on LinkedIn (accessed: April 10, 2021).


Bio prepared by Lisa Dunbar Solas, drlisasolas@ancientexplorer.com.au


Male portrait

Eduardo Acín Dal Maschio (Author)

Eduardo Acín Dal Maschio graduated from a university degree majoring in Philosophy in 1974.  He has devoted much of his professional life to the publishing world, contributing to numerous projects related to philosophy, science and history. He is the author of two volumes of philosophical disclosure ("divulgación filosófica"), following Plato and San Agustín and also co-authored Persiguiendo a Einstein with Antonio Acín. Acín has written numerous books for children regarding  important historical, artistic and scientific figures, including Socrates, Plato, Pablo Picasso, and Louis Pasteur.

Since 2019, Acín has been the partner and publishing director of Shackleton books. As outlined on its website, the company's vision is to help readers explore other "fascinating regions of knowledge and culture" ("fascinantes regiones del saber y la cultura"). Meanwhile, its name was inspired by the famous Anglo-Irish explorer, Ernest Shackleton, who led three expeditions to Antarctica.


Sources: 

Author's profile on Shackleton Books (accessed: July 7, 2021).

Author's profile on LinkedIn (accessed: July 7, 2021).


Bio prepared by Lisa Dunbar Solas, drlisasolas@ancientexplorer.com.au


Female portrait

Carla Pascual Riog (Author)

Carla Pascual Riog graduated from the social sciences and humanities in Barcelona in 1987. Between 2003 and 2009, Pascual studied political science at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona. At the same university, she then completed a Masters in Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Thought (Estudios Comparativos de Literatura, Arte y Pensamiento) between 2010 and 2013.

Pascual has devoted much of her professional career to the publishing world, specialising in children's literature. Since 2015, Pascual has worked at Shackleton Books as an editor of children's and adolescent literature. Under this publishing company, she has published a number of books, including Malala Yousafzai, a children's book about the life of the Pakistani activist who advocated for children's rights. She has also collaborated with Eduardo Acín to create numerous books, including Charles Darwin


Sources: 

Author's profile on Shackleton Books (accessed: July 7, 2021).

Author's profile on LinkedIn (accessed: July 7, 2021). 


Bio prepared by Lisa Dunbar Solas, drlisasolas@ancientexplorer.com.au


Summary

La Odisea is an adaptation of the classical Greek epic poem, The Odyssey, by Homer. The illustrated chapter book narrates the adventures of Ulysses (Ulises in Spanish), the king of Ithaca, on his long and treacherous journey home from Troy after successfully winning the war against the Trojans. Ulysses faces many challenges on his journey. He battles with supernatural, terrible and ghastly monsters and creatures, loses his members of his crew and possessions, but still he perseveres, motivated by the desire to see his wife and son once more. 

Ulysses' voyage is divided into six main chapters, each one concentrating on a particular challenge that takes place in a different geographical location in the Mediterranean. A stylised geographical map of the region is displayed at the start of each chapter and serves to help orientate the reader through the landscape. It also summarises the main events of the chapter. For example, the heads of the monsters, creatures and people that Ulysses encounters are depicted on the location. 

Analysis

La Odisea is an entertaining adaptation of the homeric poem, which centres principally on the trials and tribulations of the ancient Greek hero, Ulysses. Notably, the role of other characters, including his son Telemaco are reduced. La Odisea casts Ulysses as a "much-enduring" hero. He demonstrates qualities, such as courage, perseverance and bravery. Such qualities underpin the modern notion of a hero. Hero narratives are prominent in contemporary popular culture. They serve a range of human needs, including the desire to be inspired, gain understanding and wisdom as well as to extract meaning from experiences.* Notably, the concept of the hero is riddled with paradoxes**; for example, terrible experiences can bring out the best in people. While hero narratives have been told throughout history, their associated meanings are tied intimately to their cultural and historical context. Following this, in the ancient Greek world, Ulysses possessed qualities that made him an atypical hero.*** In the original poem, his experiences are linked linguistically to the classical idea of labour, or aethlos, which carries associations with "toil and suffering".**** Like other Greek heroes, such as Achilles, Ulysses demonstrated the ability to take on an aethlos, a contest or test, and this was a highly-valued attribute in Ancient Greece.*****. Yet, in contrast to Achilles, Ulysses did not undertake a contest of his choosing or one that leads to an early death.****** Meanwhile, he was also bestowed with the epithet, polutlas, meaning "much-enduring".******* As Hall (2018) has argued, Ulysses' journey represents an ancient transitional rite of initiation.******** La Odisea's portrayal of Ulysses arguably serves to inspire the reader by providing a mythological example of how it is possible to overcome adversity through perseverance and by building resilience.

The narrator is portrayed as an ancient Greek female citizen and plays a vital role in helping the reader relate to Ulysses and understand the severity of his ordeals. She appears at the start and end of each chapter and is depicted wearing a chiton, a tunic that fastens at the shoulder and was worn by both men and women. Meanwhile, her hair is also adorned with a stylised olive branch, another symbol associated with the values of peace and victory in ancient Greece. The narrator provides key background information, as well as explains and summarises key information and events. In particular, she highlights major differences between our modern world and that of ancient Greece. For example, in chapter one, she explains the treacherous nature of travel in the ancient Mediterrean region. As she says, "Without roads or modern vehicles, the distances became enormous and the times, endless" ("Sin carreteras ni vehículos modernos, las distancias se hacían enormes y los tiempos, eterno" (Acín and Pascual 2019). Meanwhile, she also encourages the reader to develop empathy for Ulysses. At the start, she summarises his journey, explaining how he faced many challenges and difficulties, but persevered. She then clarifies his motivation; she notes that he persevered because he wanted to return to his wife and son. At this point, the narrator alludes to a major moral of the story; heroes do not always seek to undergo trials and do not always win, but regardless of what happens to them, they keep trying. Meanwhile, they are not motivated to take on these contests because they are seeking fame, approval or praise; instead, they are driven by deeper emotional needs. Throughout the narrative, she continues to foster a relationship between the reader and Ulysses by expressing a range of emotions, including happiness, concern and sadness.  For example, at the end of Ulysses' journey, when he loses 11 ships, the narrator is depicted as weeping. In this critical scene representing the story's climax, the authors' also utilise the narrator to build suspense; she asks whether Ulysses and his remaining crew will make it to the end of their journey. 

The authors' decision to portray the narrator as an ancient Greek girl is significant. While the homeric poem includes a range of characters that are complex, there is a clear distinction between the roles of men and women and these reflect ancient Greek ideas and notions regarding gender.********* For instance, women and female supernatural beings play small and supportive roles in the story.********** The authors do not attempt to subvert these ancient characters and ideas. The female Greek narrator is still cast in a supportive role but it is central to the story. Her importance is also reinforced in the story's illustrations; where she is present, she is most often represented in a close and front-facing profile, as if looking directly at the reader. Her dominant presence arguably also helps to make the narrative more relatable to female readers. 

Another key element of the adaptation are the language techniques employed to engage the reader. For instance, key phrases, events and actions are highlighted in bold and colour. Meanwhile, onomatopoeia is used often to animate the characters. For example, "Ñam, ñam," represents the sound of the giant royals of Isla Eolia eating at the great banquet (Acín and Pascual 2019). Meanwhile, the narrator asks questions and comments related to major events to encourage the reader to reflect on their nature and potential meanings.

La Odisea is an engaging adaptation of the homeric poem, which can serve to inspire discussions about the nature of endurance and resilience throughout time and how we can overcome adversity by building resilience and focusing on the things that are truly important to us.  


* Allison, Scott T., Goethals, George R., "Hero Worship: The Elevation of the Human Spirit", Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 2016, pp. 187-210.

** Allison, Scott T. and Goethals, George R.,  "The Seven Paradoxes of Heroism". Published 3 December, 2012 (accessed: April 20, 2021).

*** Finkelberg, Margalit, "Odysseus and the Genus 'Hero'", Greece & Rome, Vol. 42, No. 1 (Apr., 1995), pp. 1-14.

**** Ibidem, p. 2. 

***** Ibidem, p. 2-3.

****** Ibidem, p. 2. 

******* Ibidem. 

******** Hall, Edith, The Return of Ulysses: A Cultural History of Homer's Odyssey, 2008. London  I.B. Tauris.

********* Gailey, Tonhi, Gender Roles and Hero Myths: Can Gender Inequality Ever Be Justified?. Published in 2017, (accessed: Ausgust 11, 2021).

********** Ibidem.


Further Reading

Allison, Scott T., Goethals, George R., "Hero Worship: The Elevation of the Human Spirit", Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 2016, pp. 187-210.

Allison, Scott T. and Goethals, George R.,  "The Seven Paradoxes of Heroism". Published 3 December, 2012 (accessed: April 20, 2021).

Finkelberg, Margalit, "Odysseus and the Genus 'Hero'", Greece & Rome, Vol. 42, No. 1 (Apr., 1995), pp. 1-14.

Gailey, Tonhi, Gender Roles and Hero Myths: Can Gender Inequality Ever Be Justified?. Published in 2017, (accessed: Ausgust 11, 2021).

Hall, Edith, The Return of Ulysses: A Cultural History of Homer's Odyssey, 2008. London  I.B. Tauris.

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