Tim Baker and the Ancient Curse is the first in Stella Tarakson’s Gormless Gods and Hapless Heroes series, and is a fantastic story about an ordinary schoolboy, named Tim Baker, and the less ordinary Greek God, Hercules.
The story begins with Tim having lost his father, and his mother working long hours to support the family. As a result Tim is left to tidy and clean the house, earning him the nickname ‘Cinderella’ by the school bully.
One day while cleaning Tim accidently drops his mother’s antique Greek amphora, and – in an Arabian Night’s ‘genie in a bottle’ premise- Hercules appears to help Tim adapt to his new life.
Illustrator Nick Roberts’ images are reminiscent of ancient Greek pottery, and effectively show the physical strength of Hercules. He may be strong but he unfortunately isn’t so smart, causing his well-meant attempts to help Tim to end in chaos. The fact that only Tim can see Hercules makes things even more difficult.
Stella Tarakson’s book is not only funny but it is also touching, with the exploration of Hercules’ personal homesickness in a lovely juxtaposition of physical strength and emotional sensitivity.
There is a lovely balance of images and text and is ideal for a young independent reader.