Title: Dragonfly Song
Author: Wendy Orr
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Pajama Press
Release Date: October 13, 2017
The little girl found under a bush has no name and cannot speak. Is she a miracle child who escaped the raiders, or is she a bad-luck child, the one who called the Bull King’s ship to the island? No one sees the mama-stone around her neck, with the sign of the dragonfly. And only Luki, in training to leap the bulls, knows that she charmed the viper who would have killed him. When the girl turns twelve, she discovers her name – Aissa – and she knows that her one chance to live freely is to become a bull dancer, and be taken away to the island of the Bull King.
This is a unique middle grade story.
I love Greek mythology so I loved how this story was done in the style of a traditional Greek epic. A lot of the story was told in verse, like the epic poems The Odyssey or The Illiad. This style may be unusual for many young readers, but it will expose them to a traditional style of writing. Orr does a great job of weaving verse in with the prose of the story. Many other aspects of Greek mythology also appear in the story, such as sacrifice and animal imagery.
Though Aissa’s story is happening centuries ago, she still faces issues that contemporary children have to deal with. Young readers could relate to her problems with bullies. She is bullied by Half-One and Half-Two and is eventually kicked out of the servants circle.
I really enjoyed this story. However, if I read it when I was in elementary school, I don’t think I would have liked it as much. This story would be a great introduction to the Ancient Greek style for young readers, if they also have some guidance from an adult.