Friday, May 11, 2012

Nathaniel Fludd Beastologist Book One: Flight of the Phoenix by R. L. LaFevers
134 pgs
Age 8-12
Rating - Wizard

Synopsis from back cover
"Nathaniel Fludd's life has taken a turn for the worst. With his parents declared lost at sea, the ten-year-old lands on the doorstep of a distant relation. Aunt Phil is the world's last remaining beastologist, and Nate learns he is expected to carry on in the family business. Before he can unpack his suitcase, Aunt Phil whisks him off on his first expedition -- to the sands of Arabia, where the world's only phoenix prepares to lay its new egg. When disaster strikes, Nate quickly finds himself alone. Will he be able to see the phoenix safely hatched, keep Greasle, his accidental pet gremlin, out of trouble, and rescue Aunt Phil from the Bedouin? If he fails, nothing will stand between the world's mythical creatures and extinction. Too bad Nate's not the sort of boy who enjoys adventure...yet."

This was a very enjoyable and clever book and an auspicious beginning to the Beastologist series. Many young children will find it easy to identify with young Nate. He feels a bit of a failure because he's convinced the adventure gene bypassed him all together. That all changes wen he's shipped off to live with a relative. His Aunt Phil, the world's last remaining beastologist, sort of reminds me of Sherlock Holmes because she's so focused on her latest job that without a second thought she whisks Nate off on his very first adventure in Arabia. There is plenty of humor and great illustrations. This is the story of a reluctant adventurer and an even more surprised hero. It's about discovering the bravery that was always there. Readers will also learn a bit about culture, mythology, history and geography. The author includes a glossary and maps.

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