Tuesday, October 14, 2014
The Second Percy Jackson Book (What took me so long?)
Riordan, Rick (2006) The Sea of Monsters New York: Hyperion
The thing I love most about this book is that the monsters initially attack Percy Jackson under the cover of a dodgeball game. (I love this because when I was in middle school, I was often attacked by monsters while playing dodgeball, though the monsters who attacked me were just other kids.)
Percy Jackson, as I am sure almost everyone on the planet knows, is the son of Poseidon, the hero of Rick Riordan's Olympian's series, and a very compelling protagonist. The plot of this book involves Percy and his friends going on a quest to save Camp Halfblood and their friend Grover. Along the way we meet a nasty Cyclops (and a good one), an embittered rival, evil villains on a cruise ship, and lots of hippocamps (look it up). The story is gripping as usual; the references to Greek mythology cause plenty of collateral learning; and well read kids will find plenty of inside jokes to remind them that they are clever.
This book also has some powerful themes about friendship, kindness, and the good that can come from being nice to those who will most certainly lower your coolness status. Typically this book is a staple of classroom libraries, but I would love to hear what happens if a teacher uses this as a text to discuss in class. If your curriculum doesn't have room for that, get it for your classroom library at the very least. My fifth grade daughter is enjoying the books a great deal. Good fourth grade readers would like it too. I don't think there is an upper limit on this one. My college students enjoy reading it and so do I (and I am 48, and in at least 29th grade.)
I haven't read the graphic novel version of this yet (though I imagine there must be one out there), but the pictures that Riordan paints with words in my head left me plenty satisfied.