Title of the work
Country of the First Edition
Country/countries of popularity
First Edition Date
First Edition Details
Elena Paige, Hercules Finds his Courage, Taki and Toula Time Travelers, Book 1. Moonee Ponds, Vic.: Angelos Publishing, 2018, 31 pp.
Children (5–10 (primary school age))
We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.
Author of the Entry:
Ayelet Peer, Bar-Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Lisa Maurice, Bar-Ilan University, email@example.com
Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Josef Hill (Illustrator)
Elena Paige (Author)
From her website: “Elena Paige is a children's and teen author with a background in counselling psychology.” She has written numerous series for children; among them Taki and Toula Time Travelers, The Magicians, Evie Everyday Witch and more.
Official website (accessed: September 24, 2019)
Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar-Ilan University, email@example.com
In the first installment of this time-traveling series, two modern day Greek children from Crete, Toula (8 years old girl) and Taki (6 years old boy) find strange traditional Greek shoes called tsarouhia in their mother’s chest. They find out that wearing these shoes enable them to time-travel to ancient Greece. In this book, they arrive to find a frightened man hiding from a large bull. The children help him by calming the bull with some food. The man reveals to them that he is Hercules and that he is actually scared of everything. The children then help Hercules find courage to complete his tasks. At the end of the story there is very brief information about Hercules, explaining that he was part god and agreed to serve King Eurystheus.
The aim of the series is to empower children to discover their inner strength and confidence. The big mythological heroes are thus described as frightened and in need of help, and the two young children help them and save the day.
In a twist of the myth, the children engage in the following conversation with Hercules:
‘“But you are just a myth,” said Toula.
“That means you aren’t real,” added Taki.
“I am as real as you are,” said Hercules.
“But in the stories you are strong and brave,” said Taki.
“Now that is a myth,” said Hercules.’ (pp. 16–17).
What is real and what is a myth? Hercules is real in this story, but the “heroic Hercules" is a myth, unrelated to the actual man the children meet. Hercules admits he is just lucky, not brave. Thus the children’s courage is real and they become the true heroes of the story, and not the allegedly heroic character; they are stronger and more courageous than Hercules. They encourage him to believe in himself and continue fulfilling his tasks (which are not specified).
The pedagogic message here (the author emphasizes her knowledge of psychology) is that self-belief is more important that physical strength and that every child can become a hero. Courage is not a matter of muscles or appearance, but it lies within, in the willingness to admit and face our deepest fears.