by David Elliott

David Elliott turns a classic on its head: this rough and rowdy retelling of the Minotaur myth in verse will have readers reevaluating one of mythology's most infamous monsters.  



  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9781328596338
  • ISBN-10: 1328596338
  • Pages: 224
  • Publication Date: 03/26/2019
  • Carton Quantity: 24

About the book

David Elliott turns a classic on its head: this rough and rowdy retelling of the Minotaur myth in verse will have readers reevaluating one of mythology's most infamous monsters.  



Garnering six starred reviews, this update of the timeless story of Theseus and the Minotaur has been called “beautifully clever,”  “a literary feast fit for the gods,” "powerful and engrossing," "irresistible, slick, and sharp," "a genre of its own," and "rude...crude, and it's a whole bunch of fun." 


Resurrected from the dark depths of the labyrinth, this fresh, deliciously shocking, and darkly comedic novel-in-verse takes on the Theseus and Minotaur myth and shines a light on one of history's most infamous monsters. 



About the author
David Elliott

David Elliott is a NY Times bestselling children's author. His many titles include: And Here's to You!, The Transmogrification of Roscoe Wizzle, The Evangeline Mudd books, Finn Throws a Fit!, Jeremy Cabbage and the Living Museum, and In the Wild. His most recent titles include On the Wing, This Orq. books, and Nobody's Perfect.  Born in Ohio, David has worked as a singer, a cucumber washer, and a popsicle stick maker. Currently, he lives in New Hampshire with his wife and a three-footed dog. If you'd like to know more about David and his books, visit him at davidelliottbooks.com or follow him on Twitter @DavidElliott10.



There beneath the palace walls 

the monster rages, foams, bawls, 

calling out again and again, 



No other sound 

but the scrape 

of horn 

on stone, 

the grinding cranch of human bone 

under callused human foot.



Whaddup, bitches?

Am I right or am I right? 

That bum Minos deserved what he got. 

I mean, I may be a god, but I’m not 

Unreasonable, and when I am, so 


Like I said, 

I’m a god. 

Reason’s got nuthin’ 

To do with it.

But let’s get back to where it all started: 

Minos comes to me, 

Mewling like a baby, 

Frowny-faced, heavy-hearted. 

He’s got a hunger, he says, 

A hankering, a jones, a thing. 

But not for a woman! 

This jerk wants to be king! 


An island so dazzling 

It could cure the friggin’ 

Blind. But it’s not the friggin’ 

Scenery this friggin’ 

Minos has in mind.

Not the harbors or the shores, 

The god-possessed waters. 

Not the sheep, the trusty shepherds, 

Their warlike sons, their lusty daughters. 

Not the olives or the figs, 

The sacred, long-lived trees. 

Not the amber honey 

Or the honey-making bees. 

Not the thyme-drunk lovers 

Who sigh among its flowers.


All this clown wants 

Is a little power. 

He’s got an appetite for obedience, 

But no imagination. 

And he doesn’t ask for much—? 

Just his own private nation.

So he wonders 

If I’d give the people 

An omen, 

A sign, 

Something impressive, 

He says, something divine. 

Anything to prove 

He’s the man 

For the royal job.

So what the fuck, I think. 

I’m gonna help this slob.

Why not? 

I got plenty o’ nifty tricks 

Up this metaphorical sleeve. 

And you mortals? 

You’re ready to believe 

Anything to prove 

A god’s on your side. 

Besides, I got no dog in this fight. 

No skin off my hide. 

So, I wave my trusty trident; 

Ain’t nuthin’ for me. 

And abra-cadabra!

A milk-white bull 

Comes walking 

Out of the wine-dark sea.

The oldest trick in the book! 

A piece o’ cake. 

But it doesn’t take 

Much to bring you 

Mortals to your knees.

Yeah, you’re hard to respect 

But easy to please.

So Minos gets it all—? 

The palace, the power. 

Big Man on Knossos. 

Man of the Hour.

But all of a sudden, 

He won’t play nice.


He was supposed to sacrifice 

That bull 

To me! 

Poseidon, baby! 

King of the Sea! 

Tamer of Horses! 

Old Earth-Shaker! 

And one helluva troublemaker 

When some jerk shirks 

His responsibility and 

Won’t keep his word.

So this Minos, 

This “king,” 

This two-faced 


Hid my bull and 

Sacrificed another. 

Like I’m some kind of mark! 

A pigeon! 

His younger brother! 

A harebrain! 

An idiot! 

A jamook! 

A snot-nosed kid!

The guy’s all ego.


I could have turned his eyes 

Into a nest for seething wasps. 

I could have turned his face 

Into a snapping clam. 

I could have given him hooves 

Or studded the roof 

Of his mouth with thorns. 

Could have fitted him with horns. 




Made him smell like an outhouse. 

Covered him with zits. 

Turned his arms into eels. 

His teeth into snails. 

Bleat like a sea cow. 

Blow like a whale. 




A snout! 

Turned his 




I could have. 

But I didn’t.

Parlor games. 

A touch too mild. 

Child’s play. 

And Poseidon’s no child.

He needed something 

He’d remember 

His whole stinkin’ life. 

That’s why I bypassed him . . .

And went after his wife.

When you play with the gods, 

You’re playing fast and loose. 

Enough small talk—? 

I’ve got a sea nymph to seduce.


"Beautifully clever."—Weekend Edition Saturday 


? “Razor-sharp rhyme schemes and sly, vicious humor make Bull a bawdy yet sophisticated romp, a literary feast fit for the gods.” – Shelf Awareness, starred review 


? "Elliott contemporizes the ancient story of blackmail, betrayal, and revenge with humor, poignancy, and profanity . . . . the personalities and voices Elliott brings to these mythical characters make this powerful and engrossing book a genre of its own." —Publishers Weekly, starred review 


? "...Elliott’s clever verse version of the classical story of the Minotaur: its title, Bull, is topically and colloquially apt." —Horn Book, starred review 


? “There’s nothing half-blooded or Disneyfied in David Elliott’s energetic, multi- voiced verse novel retelling . . . . Brief, useful notes explain both the liberties taken with the myth and choices of form for each character. Nods to Hamilton are inevitable, but whether or not Lin-Manuel Miranda had anything to do with inspiring what we hope will be a trend of transforming old stories into hip-hop gold, all readers and educators can say at this point is keep ’em coming.” —Bulletin, starred review 


? "Elliott's absolutely magnetic rhythms will wake up any high school class, and the book could also work as a play. Irresistible, slick, and sharp (no bull!)—with plenty of bull to dissect." —Kirkus, starred review 


? "This striking reexamination of the Greek myth Theseus and the Minotaur [is] a conceit that easily could have floundered; in Elliott’s capable hands, it soars."  

— Booklist, starred review 


"Elliott’s contemporary take on the classic myth incorporates modern slang, profanity, and a bawdy sense of humor into an accessible, highly entertaining, and original novel... Recommended for most large collections, particularly those in need of engaging interpretations of classic myths." —School Library Journal 


"It's rude, it's crude, and it's a whole bunch of fun."—BookPage 


“David Elliott’s Bull does for mythology what Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s Hamilton has done for U.S. history. Teens of all genders and reading levels will devour this salty, quick-witted retelling and the timely truth of this story: It takes a god to make a boy into a beast, but it is us humans who turn him into a monster. I loved this book.” —Allan Wolf, author of The Watch That Ends the Night and New Found Land 


“Stunning, explosive, and brilliantly-crafted. BULL is a perfect addition to the new canon of classics.” —Liz Wright, Brazo Books 


“Dark, disturbing, and devastatingly good.” —Elana K. Arnold, author of Infandous and Sacred 


“What an extraordinary book! Saucy and thoroughly modern, Bull feels both ageless and of our time, and is, above all, a bracing, unforgettable read.” —Jane Brox, author of Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light 


“The voices in this poem—as much hip hop as epic—taunt in a spirit that is at once modern ghetto and ancient philosopher. As a lover of the Greek tales, I'm so grateful for this dizzying ride.” —Donna Jo Napoli, author of Sirena, Bound, and Beast 


"Irreverent and witty, the book is a fantastic labyrinth of its own, with new turns and twists that deliver us to the wisdom at its center." —Kyoko Mori, author of One Bird and Shizuko’s Daughter 


“A remix told in striking and affecting verse, BULL offers a modern, haunting look at this story of power, lust, love, and revenge” —Sara Grochowski, Brilliant Books 


“An entirely refreshing twist on the indelicate undercurrents of Greek Mythology, BULL will inspire today’s readers to rediscover the classics.” —Sara Hines, Eight Cousins Books