In spite of its flaws, I adore Disney's Hercules. This book constitutes a bitter insult to that memory.
First and foremost, Hercules threw a discus into a cloud and "caus[ed] a torrential downpour". Let's ignore the fact that I suspect most four year olds won't understand the word "torrential". Instead, I want to take a moment to marvel at the fact that Hercules is so strong, he somehow bent nature to his will and caused rain... with a discus. Alright then. Moving on.
Or not. Because a few pages later, Hercules flies Pegasus into a storm cloud for no reason other than that both of then were too oblivious to notice the storm. (How do you not notice a storm when you're literally right beside the cloud? I have no idea.)
And then--I shit you not--Hercules plucks a lightning bolt from the sky. Because sheer inhuman strength somehow lets him. Because that makes perfect sense.
Of course, Herc is an idiot and managed to start a forest fire; Daddy Zeus quickly cleans up his mess, warns him with a cliche about what makes a true hero, and sends him in his way.
Next day, Mercury/Hermes shows up to get Herc's help in protecting Corinth from an invading army. Don't ask me why. Just because.
And of course he only makes things worse. He accidentally throws boulders at the citizens he's supposed to be protecting. He floods the town. And when he finally manages to get rid of the invaders, how does he do it? He offers to help them, which they find so terrifying that they flee immediately.
All in all, this book was simply nonsensical. As a midquel to the movie, it flies in the face of canon (as I've been told the midquel t.v. show did, as well). Hercules is the same bumbling idiot as in the movie, but that's where the comparisons stop. Phil has insta-confidence in Hercules, totally out of character and in a scene directly contradicting the corresponding movie scene. Hercules has powers he most definitely shouldn't, with no explanation of why he suddenly had them.
But I think the worst of it all is Hermes. Before Herc's training even really begins--in a totally different way than in the movie, might I add--Hernes wants him to save Corinth.
Uh, why? A) You don't even know him. B) Isn't the army, you know, a little more qualified than some teenager? C) He hasn't even been to Thebes yet, so he's never even tried anything like this before. D) Even the gods know he ruins everything he touches.
This plan is bad all around. It's contrived, and it's stupid... but then again, so is the rest of the book. *sigh*
Wanna teach you kids a moral using Hercules? Turn on the movie. It's funny and smart, even if the mythology's wrong. This, in the other hand...