The Race of the Golden Apples

by Claire Martin

Hardcover, 1991



Call number

292.13 Mar

Call number

292.13 Mar

Local notes

292.13 Mar



Dial (1991), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 320 pages


A Greek princess, raised by bears in the forest and then returned to her rightful place in the kingdom, refuses to marry unless the man can outrun her in a footrace.

Physical description

320 p.; 8.75 x 0.5 inches


0803702485 / 9780803702486



User reviews

LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
The Greek myth of Atalanta, the abandoned daughter of King Iasus, who is raised in the wild by Crona the she-bear, and watched over by the goddess Diana, is told in picture-book form here by author Claire Martin and illustrators Leo and Diane Dillon. Eventually returning to the human world,
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Atalanta is accepted by her father, who hopes to arrange a marriage for her. Cold-hearted, as the result of her early abandonment and the slaughter of her bear relatives, swift-footed Atalanta stipulates that she will only marry the man who can beat her in a race. When Hippomenes - the young man who slew Atalanta's bear-sibling years before, thinking her in danger - sees her again, he falls in love, and determines to win her. Beseeching the help of Venus, Hippomenes enters the race with three golden apples, whose strategic use will win him his heart's desire...

There are a number of different myths about Atalanta, depending upon the classical source. In some accounts, she accompanies the Argonauts on their quest for the Golden Fleece, while in many tellings, she is also a participant in the hunt for the Calydonian boar. The story of her race with Hippomenes, and the use of the three golden apples of Venus/Aphrodite seems to be the one that is most often retold however, particularly in the pages of children's literature. The Race of the Golden Apples, one of only two titles from Claire Martin - the other being Boots and the Glass Mountain - is the second picture-book retelling of this story that I have read, following upon Shirley Climo's Atalanta's Race: A Greek Myth. On the whole, I liked it better than the Climo title, enjoying both Martin's retelling and the gorgeous artwork of the Dillons. Unlike a friend of mine, I was not bothered by the use of some Roman names here - Diana rather than Artemis, Venus rather than Aphrodite - as this tale is taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses, and no doubt reflects the mixture of Greek and Roman names used in that work. Recommended to young mythology lovers, and to anyone who appreciates the Dillons' amazing illustrative work.
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(7 ratings; 4.1)
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