July 29, 2012
Fiction Friday: Chapter 7
Oops! I didn't get Fiction Friday written and posted on Friday. I'm so sorry! I hope you guys still posted and will link up now to keep our catalogue of great book reviews growing.
As y'all know, I'm in Seattle for a wedding of an old friend from high school. They are actually the third couple in my group of highschool friends to marry their high-school sweetheart.
This is our high school prom picture and all those girls in white, yup, they married the men behind them. Pretty amazing, huh? (I'm on the far left.) The bride and groom are the couple in the middle. They actually spent 6 years apart, but are back together for good and all is right in the world.
Anyway, I had big plans to write about my two books Thursday, but I got caught up with the wedding festivities and...well...it just didn't happen.
So, back to books...this week I read two more books and I enjoyed them both.
First up was a mix of fantasy, adventure, and historical fiction.
Flight of the Phoenix
by R.L. LaFevers
This is the first book in the Nathaniel Fludd Bestologist series. When Nathaniel's parents are declared lost at sea, he is sent to live with his eccentric Aunt Phil. Nathaniel is a quiet and reserved little boy who loves to draw. He has not quite grown up into the adventurer he is meant to be. Aunt Phil, the last remaining beastologist (a person who studies mythological beasts), takes Nathaniel under her wing and begins his training. Together they set off to Arabia to watch the rebirth of a phoenix. When Aunt Phil is taken by the Bedouin, it is up to Nathaniel to save Aunt Phil and ensure the safety of the phoenix. He may just discover his inner adventurer yet.
Set in the 1920's, Flight of the Phoenix is a quick read full of adventure and fun. Nathaniel is a very likable character with a good heart. You are rooting for him from the beginning. Aunt Phil is a hoot and readers will love her quirky ways and sense of adventure. I enjoyed the tie in to mythological creatures and the whole idea these creatures do exist but only a few very special people know about them. Who doesn't want to believe that a phoenix is real or that the dodo bird is still kicking? The pictures throughout the novel are Nathaniel's drawings and offer a nice break in the text for a young reader. It is the perfect book for a 3rd grader and beginning 4th grader and would be a good read aloud for primary grades.
My second book this week was all about adventure and was the first Mike Lupica book that I have read that wasn't about sports and I loved it!
Hero by Mike Lupica
Zach Harriman thought he knew his father. He knew his father worked for the president and he knew his father was a hero, but didn't quite understand how far his hero qualities went. When Tom Harriman's plane mysteriously crashes, Zach's life changes in more ways than just loosing a parent. He is faster, stronger, fearless, and has the eyesight of a hawk. Zach's world is shaken when a stranger appears to test and train him saying he knew his father and he needs to be prepared. The same people that wanted his father dead want Zach very much alive. Meanwhile, his Uncle John is feeding him very different information. Who knows the truth? Who can be trusted? More than ever, Zach needs his father around to help him become what he never expected...a 14 year old hero.
I started reading this book on the plane and the pages just flew by. The story is fast paced and fills the reader with endless questions. The first chapter is actually narrated by Zach's father on his last mission for the president. All subsequent chapters are narrated by Zach. As you continue reading it is fun to see the similarities between the two.
This book is very high-interest, jam-packed with action and mystery, while having a low-readability level. These kind of books are hard to find, so I seriously suggest adding it to your class library. It would be the perfect book for kids that would love to read the Alex Rider series, but may not be ready for that level of reading. The books is also very clean and has action without lots of guns and violence, so you can feel good about the recommendation if you know a student has sensitivity issues.
I could absolutely see myself reading this aloud to my class, highlighting questions and predicting. Your more astute readers will pick up on the clues to figure things out towards the end, but a majority of the class will be captivated by the mystery of it all and try to figure things out along with Zach. You could also use the first few chapters in guided reading and/or a whole group mini-lesson. You will hook readers right away and be able to generate a huge list of questions, predictions, and inferences.
The more the story developed the more I enjoyed this book. I'm hoping for a sequel as the ending was a bit abrupt and not nearly enough of my questions were answers. I would love to read about Zach's future adventures. Hero is a 2012-2013 Bluebonnet Award nominee.
So, that's it for this week...even if it is bit late. I hope y'all will still link up and share more books, reviews, and lesson ideas.
Please don't forget to grab my linky button and toss it into your post so others can easily link back.