Monday, March 11, 2013

Medusa Jones by Ross Collins


"'Pleeeaase can I turn them to stone?' Medusa begged.  
"It's not the polite thing to do, dear.' said Medusa's Mom. 
 'They're not polite,' Medusa said.  'They were mean about my hair again today.'
'Sticks and stones, Medusa,'  said Medusa's mom.  'You can't go turning everyone who's mean about your hair to stone.'
'Gran did.'  Medusa scowled.
'Gran is insane and lives in a cave.  Your father and I didn't raise you like that...'"

Medusa Jones is "a gorgon, but apart from that, pretty normal.".  Not that it's easy having snakes for hair.  Medusa's snakes turn back the pages of the books she's reading if she turns them too quickly,  and fight for the warmest spot when she goes outside.  They writhe around under her hat, bite the local hairdresser until his hands puff up like balloons, and make Medusa a target for the local bullies (the nasty Perseus, the dumb-as-a-log Theseus and the worrywart Cassandra).  It's so annoying, having powers and not being allowed to use them!

This book's straightforward underdogs-prove-stronger/braver-than-heroes plot (Medusa and her friends end up rescuing the scared-stiff "champions" on a field-trip-gone-awry on Mount Olympus) is really just a foil for some mighty funny characterization.  Medusa, her friends Chiron and Mino (the minotaur), the mean teacher Miss Medea, and the mythical heroes-turned-schoolyard-bullies are all played off each other for lots of laughs.  This easy chapter book reads aloud well and plenty of pictures add to the atmosphere.   

Medusa and friends greeting sour-faced Miss Medea.

Medusa wants a haircut, but her snakes aren't so keen.

Medusa and her three-headed puppy, Cerebus.