Zeus and the other gods at the Mount Olympus Pet Center are finally working together like a well-oiled machine. . . until they discover a multi-headed monster looming over Greece. And on top of that, a pesky new arrival is trying to join the Olympians.
It turns out defeating the monster is only one challenge on a long list of trials. Zeus and his team of gods—Athena, Demeter, Poseidon, and Ares—are facing their toughest quest yet. Even with some unexpected help from a feathered friend, can they succeed? Or have Zeus the Mighty and his Olympians met their match?
The Trials of Hairy-Clees mixes Greek Mythology, animals, and plenty of mayhem into an entertaining story that will have readers laughing out loud. In the third installment of the Zeus the Mighty Series, Hermes (a hen) makes a spectacular entrance. From the start, Ares (a pug) wants to help Hermes, because of her bravery. In a desperate attempt to get Hermes to leave, Zeus tells the hen that she can’t be an Olympian because she’s not immortal. Unfazed, Hermes is determined to complete the labors of Heracles, become immortal, and join the Olympian flock.
Readers who aren’t familiar with Greek Mythology will easily understand the book because the pet store owner listens to a podcast, “Greeking Out,” about the Greek myths; this allows the reader to get a quick lesson on the mythology that is necessary to fully appreciate the book. The book’s plot parallels the information given in the podcast, which helps readers understand key events.
In The Trials of Hairy-Clees, everyday objects become the relics and monsters of ancient Greece. For example, the animals believe a misting fan is the Hydra, a snake with many heads. The high-action plot, humorous situations, and black and white illustrations blend to make a fun series that will keep readers turning the pages. Each illustration shows the Greek gods, which gives the reader a visual and helps them understand the plot and the gods’ emotions. Plus, large illustrations appear every one to five pages.
In the end, Hermes plays a vital role in defeating the Hydra and even Zeus admires Hermes’ bravery and determination. After Hermes’ brave deeds, the Olympians decide to help Hermes complete all Heracles’ labors, which will have readers eager to read the fourth book in the series, The Epic Escape From the Underworld. Readers who love humorous stories about brave characters should put the Zeus the Mighty Series at the top of their must-read list. For more humorous books that put a spotlight on mythology, check out the Odd Gods Series by David Slavin and The Unicorn Rescue Society Series by Adam Gidwitz.
- While getting ready to attack the sea monster, “Zeus the Mighty’s world turned black and white. He had been swallowed by what seemed like an endless cloud of dirty white fluff . . . The stuff tickled his nose and poked into his mouth. It was like he was being crushed by a feather duster.” When the hen notices Zeus, she introduces herself.
- The pet owner saves Hermes the hen from certain death. Hermes “was in line to receive the Kentucky-fried treatment.”
- Much of the book’s humor and violence comes in the form of the cat, Athena, chasing Hermes. For example, when Athena sees Hermes for the first time, Athena leaps out. “The hen leapt backward with a flurry of wings, just a feather’s breadth from Athena’s claws. . . The cat sunk low, preparing for a second pounce, her tail twitching.” When Demeter yells at Athena, the cat stops the attack and “peered around sheepishly, her eyes no longer wild.”
- As Zeus and Demeter are talking, they hear “a bloodcurdling hiss . . . Hermes was scrabbling below, her wings held wide, as if she were trying to take flight. Hot on her tail was Athena, claws out.” Hermes is able to escape.
- In order to complete one of the labors of Heracles, Hermes must take on the Hesperis. Hermes “pulled the small wooden Zeus figure from beneath her wing. She threw it at the lead Hesperis. The flaming creature squealed when it struck her in the chest.” Hermes realizes the Hesperis aren’t as dangerous as they appear, and she is able to complete the task
- Athena tries to attack Hermes. “Just as Athena was about to crash into her would-be prey, Hermes raised a wing and batted the cat aside. Athena tumbled gracefully, and then rolled to her feet. Her eyes remained focused on Hermes, but they no longer had that crazed look.” When Hermes stops running from Athena, Athena no longer wants to pounce on her.
- Hermes, the Olympians, and the Amazons work together to kill the Hydra (a fan). “The monster’s five heads raged above [Zeus]. They swiveled to aim their foul fog at the Amazon flock, which was closing in fast. . . One after another, the birds release their payloads. The boulders [tennis balls] sailed through the air toward the Hydra’s chest. . . the five spinning heads slowed. The gale winds decreased.”
- The fight against the Hydra continues as Zeus “yanked off his cloak and tossed it at the monster’s heads. . . In the next instant, the cloak slipped through the helmet’s bars and dropped directly onto the Hydra’s spinning heads. . .” The Hydra is defeated when it “detached from the wall and crashed to earth.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- Athena is put in Ares’s dog crate. When Zeus talks to her, he says that “Ares’s place smells like pug butt.”
- Poseidon calls someone an oaf.
- Zeus finds a lion squeaky toy, that Athena thinks is “an incredibly potent relic. . . Whoever wears the hide of the Nemean lion is imbued with its powers. In other words, you’d be indestructible!” Zeus puts the squeaky toy over his head and the toy saves him from harm several times.