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THE LIGHTNING THIEF
By Rick Riordan
Hyperion Books for Children, 2005
Reviewed by Shirley H. Wetzel
Move over, Harry Potter, there's a new hero in town, and his name is Perseus "Percy" Jackson. Twelve-year-old Percy, son of a single mom and a mysterious, rich and powerful father who one day went out to sea and never returned, is a misfit even in a school for misfits. He's dyslexic, has ADHD, and odd things just seem to happen to him wherever he goes. When his class from Yancy Academy takes a field trip to a museum in New York City, things get more odd than usual. He even suspects his Latin teacher, who's always been hard on him, might not be human. Kids often think this about their teachers, but in this case he just might be right.
The field trip proves to be a turning point for Percy and his mother. Fleeing from unknown danger, the two are separated, and Percy ends up at Camp Half-Blood and discovers who he really is. Percy, you see, is the son of a Greek god. His dyslexia is a plus in reading ancient Greek, and his ADHD traits are helpful in fighting mythic creatures and escaping from some really, really bad guys -- and girls. Percy and his friends encounter modern-day versions of the ancient Greek legends as they undertake a quest that leads them to the very depths of the underworld.
Riordan is the author of several award-winning mysteries for adults. THE LIGHTNING THIEF is Book 1 of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, and his first children's book. As a middle school teacher for many years, Riordan knows whereas he writes. Kids will love this series, and grownups probably will too. I know I did. The second book in the series, THE SEA OF MONSTERS, is now available.
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