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Book Review

The One-Eyed Giant by has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the first book in the “Tales from the Odyssey” series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Odysseus lives on the isle of Ithaca, enjoying life on his farm with his beloved family. When a messenger from Agamemnon, king of the Greeks, calls him into the service of Agamemnon, Odysseus does not wish to leave his family, but he does to fight in the Trojan War.

The war lasts 10 years. Finally, Athena, goddess of wisdom and battle, inspires Odysseus with the idea for the Trojan Horse. While the majority of the Greeks pretend to sail away, Odysseus and other soldiers hide in the belly of this wooden horse. The Trojans wheel the horse into their city. That night, the Greeks sneak out of the wooden horse and open the gates of Troy. This allows the Greek army to enter and win the war.

As Odysseus makes his journey homeward, he and his men land on a strange island. When three of his scouts disappear, Odysseus finds that the Lotus Eaters fed his men magical lotus flowers to make them forget their past. Odysseus forcefully drives his men away from the island, and they set sail again.

Next they land on the island of a Cyclops named Polyphemus. Odysseus and his bravest men find themselves trapped inside Polyphemus’ cave. Polyphemus eats some of Odysseus’ men. So Odysseus gives the giant wine and gets the Cyclops drunk. Polyphemus falls asleep.

Odysseus heats and sharpens a wooden stake. He plunges it into Polyphemus’ eye. Blind and enraged, the giant sits at the cave entrance to keep the men from leaving. Odysseus and his remaining men hide under the bellies of sheep, and they leave when the giant lets his sheep leave the cave. Once he is free, Odysseus taunts Polyphemus, and the Cyclops prays to his father, Poseidon, the god of the sea. He asks that Odysseus be cursed and never reach home.

Odysseus and his men land on the island of King Aeolus next. Odysseus tells such good tales that the king grants Odysseus the gift of wind to help him on his journey. His men don’t know what gift was given, but they do see the bag that it’s in. They leave for home.

After nine days of good sailing, Odysseus finally sees Ithaca and allows himself to sleep. Odysseus’ men greedily open the bag containing the winds, wanting part of the gift for themselves, and a storm rises and destroys the ship. Odysseus returns to King Aeolus to ask for the gift of the winds again, but Aeolus, realizing Odysseus is cursed, refuses. Odysseus, despite these obstacles, determines to find a way back to his family.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems

The ancient Greek gods of Mount Olympus play significant roles throughout this story, and Odysseus and others worship and pray to them periodically. Athena appears to give Odysseus the idea of the wooden horse. Zeus sends lightning upon Odysseus and his men. Poseidon disrupts the sea and curses Odysseus.

The flowers of the Lotus People contain magic to make a man forget his past.

Authority Roles

Odysseus misses his son’s childhood due to the Trojan War. Odysseus’ mother commits suicide, convinced that her son will never return. Odysseus’ father lives a secluded life when Odysseus does not return.


A Trojan named Paris kidnaps Helen, which ignites the Trojan War. Agamemnon’s messenger puts baby Telemachus, Odysseus’ son, in front of Odysseus’ plow to break Odysseus’ act of insanity and test if he would actually kill his son. He does not.

Polyphemus kills six of Odysseus’ men by bashing out their brains and then eating them. Odysseus drives a stake into Polyphemus’ eye. Odysseus’ mother commits suicide when she believes Odysseus is lost forever.



Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss- books.

Additional Comments/Notes

Lying: Odysseus feigns insanity, hoping he won’t have to fight for King Agamemnon in the Trojan War. A Greek spy lies to the Trojans about the purpose of the Trojan Horse. Odysseus lies to Polyphemus twice — once about the condition of his ships and the second time about his name.

Stealing: Odysseus’ men steal the flock of sheep from Polyphemus.

Alcohol: Odysseus got Polyphemus drunk on wine that he’d brought for the ruler of the island.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

9 and up




Mary Pope Osborne






Record Label



Hyperion Books for Children


On Video

Year Published





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