Thank you, Kate M.
Without the wonderful Kate, I might have gotten out the door without having to rush yesterday morning.
Without Kate, I might have gotten some more work done at home.
Without Kate, I might not have rushed home after work the past few days to stick my nose in a book.
Yes, it was Kate who forced me-- even she admits that she forced me--to finally read The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. I am ever so grateful. It was well worth ignoring other chores and even being almost late several times to read this exciting, funny, wonderful book.
The Lightning Thief is the first in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Number five, The Last Olympians, is due out in May of 2009. I have a feeling I will not be the only person ready and waiting for its arrival at the bookstore.
Although Percy Jackson struggles with ADHD and dyslexia, his life is not too rough. Sure, his father was "lost at sea" before he was born and his mother has since married a rather obnoxious and very smelly guy, but things could be worse. Percy has been kicked out of several schools for behavior problems, but that happens to the best folks sometimes. He just considers himself to be a pretty normal kid. In sixth grade, however, things start to get a little strange. Monsters appear at school and on field trips--monsters that want to kill him. A pen his teacher gives him turns into a sword just to in time to help him slay his math teacher, who is a monster in the most literal sense and not just a bad teacher with a short fuse. What in the world is going on?
This is when Percy learns that he is a demigod, the son of a mortal woman and a Greek god. He also learns that those Greek gods he has been studying still exist. In fact, Mount Olympus is currently located on the 600th floor of the Empire State Building. All is not well in the world of the gods and Percy has been called to Half Blood Hill, the summer camp for demigods, and will soon have to prove his worth.
What follows is a road trip across America like none you have ever imagined. It seems that the gates to the underworld are located in Los Angles and Percy must travel to the underworld to help straighten things out for the entire world. He is accompanied two friends--a daughter of Athena and a well-meaning, if sometimes a little nervous, young satyr. There are battles of the most outlandish kinds. (Did you know that ADHD can be a real benefit if you are in a battle? It makes you able to see things going on all around you, helps pick up activity on all sides, and allows you to act impulsively. Percy also learns that his dyslexia is because he is programmed to read ancient Greek which he realizes he reads and understands with little effort.)
The story is also jam packed with humor and typical middle school worries. Social comments are generously sprinkled throughout. It seems even the gods are troubled with pollution, overcrowding, political in-fighting, and financial worries.
I just checked out Rick Riordan's website and discovered lots of interesting things. If you are writing a report about the books he even has a section of "biographical info for school reports". He has been a middle school English teacher for many years, something that I am guessing makes him so aware of how middle school operates and how middle school students would react to attacks by monsters from the underworld. We missed his "Mythology Bee" but maybe we could stage our own if any of you are interested.
So, thank you, Kate. I had a great time with Percy. Guess what I started reading last night? Right--The Sea of Monsters, book two of the series.