October 11 – 17
Percy Jackson thinks he's a normal kid, just like his other classmates. Until he gets attacked by a teacher on a school field trip and discover that his professor's pen is really a sword. Strange things keep happening to him, so when his mom explains that she is mortal and his father is a god, it seems to sort of make sense. Percy is a demigod and all demigods are monster-bait. The only safe place for him to go is Camp Half-Blood, which is pretty much like a year-round summer camp where demigods can go and be protected by their parents from the monsters that would like to see them killed. It's at Camp Half-Blood that Percy makes new friends and finds himself embarking on his very first quest: to find Zeus's missing lightning bolt and return it safely back to him.
Riordan, R. (2005). The lightning thief. New York: Disney/Hyperion Books.
I could not put the book down! Let me rephrase, the first time I tried to read the book I wasn't very into it and didn't get past the second chapter. On a second try, however, I found it absolutely riveting and went back to my library to get the rest of the series to read! I can't remember any other time where I actually learned about cool things while reading a book of fiction. I think I can now name all the Greek gods and goddesses. Riordan did such a great job of interweaving elements of suspense, mystery, humor, action, and maybe a little romance so that it is a must-read for all ages.
From Kirkus Reviews:
Edgar Award-winning Riordan leaves the adult world of mystery to begin a fantasy series for younger readers. Twelve-year-old Percy (full name, Perseus) Jackson has attended six schools in six years. Officially diagnosed with ADHD, his lack of self-control gets him in trouble again and again. What if it isn't his fault? What if all the outrageous incidents that get him kicked out of school are the result of his being a 'half-blood,' the product of a relationship between a human and a Greek god? Could it be true that his math teacher Mrs. Dodds transformed into a shriveled hag with bat wings, a Fury, and was trying to kill him? Did he really vanquish her with a pen that turned into a sword? One need not be an expert in Greek mythology to enjoy Percy's journey to retrieve Zeus's master bolt from the Underworld, but those who are familiar with the deities and demi-gods will have many an ah-ha moment. Along the way, Percy and his cohort run into Medusa, Cerberus and Pan, among others. The sardonic tone of the narrator's voice lends a refreshing air of realism to this riotously paced quest tale of heroism that questions the realities of our world, family, friendship and loyalty. (Fantasy. 12-15) 384pg. VNU EMEDIA, c2005.
[Review of The Lightning Thief]. (2005 June 15). Kirkus Reviews, pp 690.
From School Library Journal:
Gr 5-9. An adventure-quest with a hip edge. At first glance, Perseus Jackson seems like a loser (readers meet him at a boarding school for troubled youth), but he's really the son of Poseidon and a mortal woman. As he discovers his heritage, he also loses that mother and falls into mortal danger. The gods (still very active in the 21st- century world) are about to go to war over a lost thunderbolt, so Percy and sidekicks Grover (a young satyr) and Annabeth (daughter of Athena) set out to retrieve it. Many close calls and monster-attacks later, they enter Hades's realm (via L.A.). A virtuoso description of the Underworld is matched by a later account of Olympus (hovering 600 floors above Manhattan). There's lots of zippy review of Greek myth and legend, and characters like Medusa, Procrustes, Charon, and the Eumenides get updates. Some of the Labors of Heracles or Odysseus's adventures are recycled, but nothing seems stale, and the breakneck pace keeps the action from being too predictable. Percy is an ADHD, wise-cracking, first-person narrator. Naturally, his real quest is for his own identity. Along the way, such topics as family, trust, war, the environment, dreams, and perceptions are raised. There is subtle social critique for sophisticated readers who can see it. Although the novel ends with a satisfying conclusion (and at least one surprise), it is clear that the story isn't over. The 12-year-old has matured and is ready for another quest, and the villain is at large. Readers will be eager to follow the young protagonist's next move.Patricia D. Lothrop, St. George's School, Newport, RI. 377pg. CAHNERS PUBLISHING, c2005.
[Review of The Lightning Thief]. (2005 August 1). School Library Journal, pp 134.
Library Setting Uses:
I think it would be great to have an after-hours pajama Percy Jackson party for teens. The activities should relate to Camp Half-Blood and have a summer camp feel to them. Arriving students should spin a dial, draw a name out of a hat, or complete a quiz to determine who their immortal parent is in order to divide them up into cabins. And as souvenirs they can take home a necklace (made with hemp and pony beads) just like the ones the campers get at the end of each summer.