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Lucy Coats, Beasts of Olympus, ill. by Brett Bean, a series, New York: Grosset & Dunlap, Penguin Group, 2015–2018:
Part 1, Beasts Keeper, 2015.
Part 2, Hound of Hades, 2015.
Part 3, Steeds of the Gods, 2015.
Part 4, Dragon Healer, 2015.
Part 5, Centaur School, 2016.
Part 6, Zeus’s Eagle, 2016.
Part 7, Gods of the North, 2017.
Part 8, The Unicorn Emergency, 2018.
Excerpts can be read at penguinrandomhouse.com (accessed: July 31, 2018).
Action and adventure fiction
Children (ca10 yo )
We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.
Author of the Entry:
Anna Mik, University of Warsaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, email@example.com
Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Brett Bean (Illustrator)
Brett Bean is an American cartoonist and illustrator originally from Seattle who currently resides in California. His work has been featured in TV, films, comics, games (digital and analog) manuals and more. Brett Bean is also the creator of the Zoo Patrol Squad and the illustrator of Battle Bugs.
Official website (accessed: April 1, 2021).
Author's profile of CGMA (accessed: April 1, 2021).
Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar Ilan University, email@example.com
, b. 1961
Lucy Coats is an British writer for children. She holds an MA in English Literature and Ancient History from the University of Edinburgh. She is also a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. In her books we can mostly find motifs from various legends and myths that she adapts for young readers. She published several picture books (including King Ocean’s Flute, The Animals Bedtime Storybook), as well as novels for teenagers and young adults (including Chosen, Hootcat Hill). Among those inspired by Greek and Roman Mythology, besides the Beasts of Olympus series, Coats also wrote Atticus the Storyteller’s 100 Greek Myths and Great Beasts and Heroes – a 12 Book Series. She also runs a blog and goes to school for reading sessions.
Official website (accessed: July 4, 2018).
Twitter profile (accessed: July 4, 2018).
Bio prepared by Anna Mik, University of Warsaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
Beast of Olympus (series). The most recent instalment published August 2018:
· Part 1, Beasts Keeper, 2015.
· Part 2, Hound of Hades, 2015.
· Part 3, Steeds of the Gods, 2015.
· Part 4, Dragon Healer, 2015.
· Part 5, Centaur School, 2016.
· Part 6, Zeus’s Eagle, 2016.
· Part 7, Gods of the North, 2017.
· Part 8, The Unicorn Emergency, 2018.
The protagonist of the series is a young boy called Demon (his full name is Pandemonius) who was taken from his mother by the god Pan (his father) to Olympus to be a Beast Keeper (this is also the title of the first book in the series). The theme of mythological animal-like monsters oppressed by gods (adults) and rescued by Demon (a child) would indicate a pro-animal approach. The main character develops friendships with his protégés; he can talk to animals - both "real" and mythical -, cure them and protect them. Demon seems to be the only one who really understands beasts, while no one else seems to care about them.
In each part of the series, he deals with different problems concerning the well-being of the various mythical creatures. These are mostly health-related issues, but almost always, the real problem is a god or goddess. Although along the way, various myths are introduced to the young readers, they are "smuggled" in by the author to create a new, hopefully, more attractive story.
As the title of the series - and those of each volume - suggests, the main issue raised by Coats is the well-being of mythical and of "real" animals. The stories themselves are not very complex; the plot centres (most of the time) around the gods' or goddesses' problems with particular creatures. These problems (sick Cerberus causing trouble to Hades, winged horses not prepared for a race between gods, gassy dragon polluting the Olympus, etc.) need to be solved by Demon. All the beasts (and Demon himself) are controlled by gods (representing powerful adults) and must surrender to their will. Demon does not choose his fate – he is forced to serve as a Beast Keeper (Coats, 2015a: 6). All the creatures are either used by gods, "killed" by them (as they are immortal, they suffer death over and over again) or kept as pets, etc. Neglected stables, where most of the creatures are kept, may represent an oppressed unit of our society, where powerful men enclosed all they perceived as less worthy than themselves or inconvenient. The world of mythical fauna is neglected, and it is the child’s mission to save it.
Even though Demon is forced to perform his job at the beginning, at the end of the first book, Pan (his father) says to him: "I know how much you love animals, and how they love you back. Of course you have a choice." (Coats, 2015a, p. 17). This might seem like a glimmer of hope for both, animals and children, that if they take care of each other, they will survive the regime of adults in a union with the Others. Interestingly, Demon's best friend among the gods is Hephaestus (the excluded god), who likes the concept of the union with the Others. What is curious is that Hephaestus plays the role of the Other too: he is not like the rest of the gods; thus, he teams up with the "weirdos" - Demon and his beasts. He is caring, hardworking, and nice, not like the rest of the gods. This "company of the excluded" is being progressively joined by someone new in each volume: women, other children and creatures, minor gods, etc.