Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Lightning Thief

Riordan, Rick. 2005. THE LIGHTNING THIEF. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 0786856297 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-8]

Sixth-grader Percy Jackson finally finds out why odd things—sometimes strange, dangerous things—keep happening to him: while his mother is mortal, his father is Poseidon, a god. Assorted Furies, Fates, and monsters are all after him. The only safe place is Camp Half-Blood, where young demigods learn about their heritage and train for their destinies under the unwillingly sober eyes of Dionysus. As this first book in a projected series unfolds, Percy—along with a satyr and a daughter of Athena—undertakes a quest that demonstrates that the entire Greek pantheon is alive and well and mostly living in America. SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL’S starred review calls it “an adventure quest with a hip edge.” BOOKLIST’S review concludes, “Percy is an appealing, but reluctant, hero, the modernized gods are hilarious, and the parallels to Harry Potter are frequent and obvious. Because Riordan is faithful to the original myths, librarians should be prepared for a rush of readers wanting the classic stories.”

Riordan’s informal style is entirely believable in the mouth of twelve-year-old Percy. His protagonist’s good humor about almost everything (including his ADHD diagnosis) ensures that even the more horrific encounters are suspenseful without being terrifying. Chapter titles like “I Become Supreme Lord of the Bathroom” are sure to please readers. While thoroughly entertaining, the smattering of Greek and Latin, as well as the solid grounding in Greco-Roman mythology are educational, too.

Research the original Greek myths using the author’s web site: Compare favorite myths.
Trace Percy’s journey from Long Island to Los Angeles.

Books about Greek mythology:
D’Aulaire, Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire. D’AULAIRE’S BOOK OF GREEK MYTHS. ISBN 035015836

By Julie Brinker

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