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The Story Of Antigone

Antigone is another tale in the “Save the Story”, library which is published by Pushkin Children’s Books. Their aim is to “share tales from different languages and cultures”… and to reflect the best stories, whether classics or current best-sellers, for children of today.

This story is an ancient story of Greek Mythology, and also about the aftermath of war. Some of their other publications include Captain Nemo, the story of Don Juan, and the story of Gulliver.

This book is an A5, soft covered book, which is aimed at competent readers, or would greatly lend itself to being read aloud, or produced as a play. On the flap of the front cover is a precis of the story, so we understand the plot and the theme of bravery and courage.

Cleverly, the story begins with a crow, and we see the crow emerge as the narrator of the story. The story is set outside the city walls of a town, after the fighting is over. This is ideal as the crow is removed from the intimate emotions and dangers on the ground but can hear and see all that happens. This is a very clever ploy so children can feel slightly removed from the aftermath of war; having said that the crow comments on which part of the human body is it’s favourite to eat.

Antigone has two brothers who fight to the death. One is called a hero; the other is left outside the city walls for the dogs and crows to feast upon. Appalled by this treatment, Antigone defies the new king, her uncle, and covers her brother’s body and pours a wine offering on the ground.

She is caught by the king, and even though she gives clear and passionate reasons why respect and dignity should be granted to all, the king is unmoved. He is warned that Antigone’s death will create his own downfall, but stubbornly goes ahead with his plan for her demise.

Beautifully told by “an old, tough- hearted, worldly wise black crow”, this is a marvellous introduction to a play written by Sophocles around 442 BCE.

The explanation of the story and why the theme of, “what matters to a human being”, is explained at the back once again by the crow. It is very good reading and also thoroughly explained for the student.

Author Ali Smith
Publisher Faber Factory
ISBN Ali Smith
Distributor Allen & Unwin
Released December 2015