Monday, November 26, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Beastologist

Today’s pick:  Flight of the Phoenix (Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist, Book 1)
by R.L. LaFevers

Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2009

From Amazon:
Ten-year-old Nathaniel Fludd is the reluctant hero of Flight of the Phoenix (2009), the madcap debut of the American author R. L. LaFevers’s Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series and a Junior Library Guild selection. The year is 1928, the setting England, and Nate’s wayward parents have just been reported lost at sea. Nate is sent that very day to his Aunt Phil’s house in Batting-at-the-Flies, but not for long . . . The morning after he arrives at the renowned beastologist’s doorstep, she whisks him away to the Arabian desert to witness a phoenix lay an egg! Kelly Murphy’s cartoonish black-and-white pen-and-ink illustrations add charm and humor to an already delightful adventure sure to please fans of mythology, maps, camels, and gremlins. Includes a glossary of terms from “cartographer” to “Tidy Sum".

My Take:

Such a fun adventure! I loved Nathaniel’s character right from the beginning, with his awkwardness and poor sense of direction. And I especially liked the way he carried his sketchbook everywhere. The idea of a Beastologist really captured my attention and is a good premise for a series. I’m curious about the mysterious Book of Beasts and would read on to the next book to find out more about it. This is a quick, fast-paced story that will appeal to readers ages 7 to 11.

As a writer, this book reminded me that it’s okay to follow your imagination and see where it takes you when you’re writing a story.

Favourite quotes:
“She was tall with lots of elbows and knees and angles poking about, which reminded him of a giraffe.”

“His hopes began to grow, filling up and spreading out until there was hardly any room left over for fear.”

Other info:
R.L. LaFevers traveled on many adventures of her own when she was a child, and now writes from her ranch in Southern California.

These words of wisdom on writing from Robin’s blog are a great reminder that I added to a sticky on my computer:  “The plot is not the story. The plot is simply (ha! nothing simple about plotting!) the device or vehicle that gets all the elements together so that the real story can happen.”
In an interview with R.L. LaFevers at The Enchanted Inkpot with eleven-year-old Summer in 2010, she gave this inspiring advice: “Courage comes in all shapes and sizes. No matter how small or timid you are, you have the capacity to do heroic things.

Other books written by this author include:
The Unicorn’s Treasure (Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist, Book 4), 2011

The Wyverns' Treasure (Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist, Book 3), 2010

The Basilisk's Lair (Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist, Book 2), 2010

Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh (Theodosia Throckmorton, #4), 2011
Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus (Theodosia Throckmorton, Book #3), 2010
Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris (Theodosia Throckmorton, #2), 2008

Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos (Theodosia Throckmorton, #1), 2007

For more, visit R.L. LaFevers’ website.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was dreamed up by the incredible Shannon Messenger. Visit her blog for an up-to-date list of all the bloggers who are participating and posting about middle grade books today!


  1. Thanks for reminding me that I want to read this one. It sounds like a great story I'm reading Grave Mercy right now and it's really good.

  2. Although I don't like that the parents are lost at sea (how come the parents can't just be on a vacation of their own, or a work commitment or something), the rest sounds superb!

  3. this looks like a lot of fun! Thanks for sharing it.... now I want to go find a copy and read it myself.

  4. This reminds me of the YA book The Monstrumologist, although this is a fun twist (that book was CREEPY). I'll have to check it out, I love adventurous books. Thanks!

    1. I haven't read that one, though I've heard a lot about it. I should check it out!

  5. I love this cover! The book sounds like such fun and I like what it reminded you about imagination. I want to read this one! Thanks for sharing.

    1. The cover is so cool! I love it when covers attract attention. That's how my kids always pick their books.

  6. I love how you always include favorite quotes in your reviews!

  7. Thanks, Car. I don't always, but I do like to notice good or meaningful writing.


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