Icarus was Ridiculous- Pamela Butchart illustrated by Thomas Flintham

Izzy and the escapades of Wigglesbottom Primary have become cult legendary stories in recent years thanks to Pamela Butchart’s narrative voice that is like the conversational style of a child in juniors of Primary School albeit perhaps a bit of a precocious oral storyteller, and so children resonate with Both the voice and the humour.

This special short story edition featuring Greek Myths is just perfection for me as an Ancient History graduate, and such a fun and accessible way to explore some of the Greek myths and legends which can often be filled with difficult and adult concepts yet is here is accessible and entertaining.

The book is divided into four stories inspired by the behaviours or actions of her classmates.

Icarus

Tells the story of King Minos of Crete asking Daedalus to build the Labyrinth to house the Minotaur without the weird ‘Greek God as a bull wife-humping’ origin and touches on Theseus and Ariadne before leading on to the escape from the Labyrinth and Icarus flying too close to the sun.

But all in class Izzy style featuring threats to rip off eyebrows and tantrums from King Minos and stroppy teenage mini kebab hoarding behaviour from Icarus!

Narcissus

Warns against rudeness and a friends selfie vanity by retelling the story of Echo and Narcissus, the former whom was cursed to only repeat back another’s words and the latter who drowned because he couldn’t bear to take his eyes off his own image.

The Trojan War

Retells in truncated but classic Izzy style the saga from marriage to the aftershock of the Fall of Troy, missing the gorier and adult bits focuses on the silliness of it all from Odysseus’ tummy trouble to barbecue binging and terrible hairstyle choices.

King Midas

Izzy retells two stories warning against foolishness as King Midas is cursed twice , once by his own choice of turning everything to gold and another by lapse in manners causing him to grow donkey ears after telling stories to make oneself great.

Littlefae

I like myths and legends and Izzy makes them funny. I know that they wore Togas and not tshirts because I have books but I like how she makes them silly. My favourite story was Icarus and now I want mummy to buy me the Shakespeare one too!

As someone with a lifelong love of mythology and oral storytelling I thought this was a brilliant collaboration between Nosy Crow and The British Museum making these stories less ‘lofty academic’ and more accessible to young children for the fun and exhilarating stories they are- and I hope that some more myths, legends or folktales get the Izzy Treatment!

Icarus was Ridiculous by Pamela Butchart & illustrated by Thomas Flintham is published by Nosy Crow.

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