Edinburgh international book festival



Our Children & Education Programme Director, and general children’s book guru, Janet Smyth recommends The Iliad, retold by Gillian Cross and boldly illustrated by Neil Packer.

‘This is a beautifully sumptuous retelling of Homer’s Iliad in a way that is wonderfully accessible for readers from around 8 upwards, whilst still appealing to more mature readers. Neil Packer’s illustrations have richness, depth and character that complement the simple narrative by Gillian Cross. A perfect introduction to this timeless story.’

Perfect for: children aged 8+ with a fascination for myths & legends.

Creators.com / Books make the best presents



“‘The Iliad’ for kids?” asked a friend. And yes, it works. Gillian Cross’ retelling of Homer’s epic story captures the heroism and savagery of war and proves why “The Iliad” has been called the greatest literary achievement of Greek civilization.

Neil Packer’s colorful, detailed illustrations draw the reader into the emotions and struggles of the characters and also capture the beauty around them. The active text is appropriate for readers eight to 14, but with all the magnificent illustrations, it’s beautiful enough to be more than just a novel.


Lee Littlewood: The Creators Syndicate.

Wall Street Journal, the best books to give children.

Very happy to see that The Iliad has made it onto the Wall Street Journal’s Christmas round-up. Genuinely thrilled to have my my work described as “arrestingly weird” possibly the nicest thing anyone has ever said about it.

The Iliad / Neil Packer


Something of the same logic pertains with Gillian Cross’s excellent retelling of the first Homeric epic in “The Iliad” (Candlewick, 160 pages, $19.99), which, like her retold “Odyssey” (2012), gains richness and power from Neil Packer’s arrestingly weird illustrations. Children ought to know about this cultural treasure—not just the famous bit about the Trojan Horse, which brought an end to the Greek armies’ 10-year siege of ancient Troy, but also the petulance of Achilles, the nobility of Hector and the whims of the fickle gods of Olympus.


Meghan Cox Gurdon / The Wall Street Journal.

Booklist Review / Iliad




Booklist Reviews 2015 October #1
Similar in concept and format to Cross and Packer’s The Odyssey (2012), this handsome companion volume offers a pared-down, prose version of Homer’s epic, telling how “a quarrel that began on Olympus boiled over into the human world.” Paris, a prince of Troy, is asked to select the most beautiful of three goddesses. Bribed by Aphrodite, he chooses her and takes the king of Sparta’s wife, Helen, as his prize. Outraged, the Greeks sail for Troy and wage war against the city for nine long years of battles, heroism, honor, dishonor, and sorrow. Cross writes well, setting up and vividly recounting particular scenes rather than simply summarizing the plot. While the large cast of characters can be confusing, a useful double-page spread displays the names and faces of 12 significant figures on each side of the conflict. The striking mixed-media artwork varies from large, richly colored scenes to others using a minimum of color very effectively. Packer uses forms, particularly human forms, in expressive, inventive ways. An eye-catching introduction to the classic story. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.