The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, 2005
D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Mythology is a book that is ALWAYS checked out at the library. The oversized illustrations and bite sized stories of Olympus are favorites with lots of children but especially with the gifted and talented group. I know it was the first book my first born entling ever purchased with her own money.
The Lightning Thief is a new take on the myths that will give these kids another great book to read.
We believe that the time of the Olympians has passed. The Greek myths were just a quaint way of explaining forces of nature to an ancient people, right? Well, what if the gods were still hanging around and getting involved with mortals and having kids like Hercules et al.? What if you were one of those kids but you did not know it?
Percy Jackson is a dyslexic, ADHD, underachieving, social misfit. He has changed schools so many times he has lost count. His only friend is a weird little guy named Grover who gets picked on by bullies. One day on a class field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art Percy's pre-algebra teacher turns into a Fury and tries to kill him in front of a Greek marble frieze. If this is not shocking enough, his Latin teacher suddenly appears and tosses him a pen which turns into a sword in his hand that he uses to vaporize the Fury. When no one, including his Latin teacher seems to remember the math teacher or have noticed the event Percy begins to doubt his grip on reality. Percy soon discovers the truth of his parentage and then he is running for his life.
The story follows a traditional line: three young ones undertake a quest to save the world. In this case they must recover Zeus’s master bolt which has been stolen. The book is a fun and quick read with lots of action. If you are a kid who knows that the name of the three headed dog guarding the entrance to the Underworld is NOT "Fluffy" but Cerberus I can promise you that you will LOVE this book. If you do not know much about the Greek myths, this book will send you running for D'Aulaire's.
The great news is that this is Book 1 of a series and Riordan told me that someone has already picked up the movie rights. Riordan has worked as a Latin teacher himself and now lives in San Antonio, Texas with his family. His website has a terrific reading guide for teachers and reading groups.