Rummanah Aasi
  Combining history, fantasy, and adventure is a winning trend for children's literature. I'm finding it that kids get more excited about learning facts through fiction instead of reading them in a dry, boring textbook. The Flight of Phoneix by R. L. LaFevers is sure to have high appeal to younger readers who are anxiously waiting to go on a great adventure.

Description (from Goodreads): Nathaniel Fludd’s life has taken a turn for the worst. With his parents lost at sea, he lands on the doorstep of a distant cousin—the world’s last remaining beastologist. Soon Nate is whisked off on his first expedition, to Arabia, where the world’s only phoenix prepares to lay its new egg. When disaster strikes, Nate quickly finds himself all alone.
   Will he be able to see the phoenix safely hatched, keep his accidental pet gremlin out of trouble, and rescue his guardian from the Bedouin? If he fails, nothing will stand between the world’s mythical creatures and extinction. Too bad Nate’s not the sort of boy who enjoys adventure . . .yet.

Review: Nathanial Fludd, who lives with his governess, has been anxiously waiting since his eighth birthday to be summoned by his parents, who are beastologists. Unfortunately, the only summoning comes from the family lawyer, who explains that Nathanial’s parents have been lost at sea. Nathanial must now live with a distant relative, who might as well be a complete stranger to him. Nathanial has only just settled in to his new "home" when he finds himself being whisked along to Arabia in a new adventure, where he witnesses the birth of a phoenix, an event so rare it only happens every 500 years.
  Flight of the Phoneix is a fast-paced story that successfully combines fantasy and history into an entertaining, believable world. The characters are definitely likable. Nathaniel is a reluctant adventurer and more of an artist who loves to draw, but does prove to himself and others that he can be brave and resourceful. LaFevers provides some details about the extensive Fludd family tree and the origins of beastology, but there are still plenty of mysteries left for a sequel. While the historical details may not be completely accurate, and the book uses the general tropes of traditional English boys' adventure stories as well as implies colonial clichés about the Bedouin culture, the book is exciting. Straightforward, simple sentences along with a linear narrative and short chapters with lively illustrations should make this book very exciting to beginning and middle grade readers.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 2 to 5.

If you like this book try: The Basilisk's Lair (Nathaniel Fludd Beastologist #2) by R.L. LaFevers,
The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull
10 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    Sounds like a cute story! I love the cover of this one, are there illustrations in it as well? I don't read too much middle grade, but I have cousins who are just getting into reading so this might be good for them:)

  2. Yes, Jenny. There are illustrations that depict what's going on in the book. They definitely add to the story and are really cute. :)

  3. Anonymous Says:

    This sounds very cute and I love the belt on the cover..

    I think Ill have to check this out for a mommy reads to the kids one...;D

  4. Hmmm...I do love books about Phoenixes. It sounds really cute. It's been a little bit since I dipped my hand into MG. I think I may for this one. I think it looks like one I should pick up from the library.

  5. I'm a facts through fiction gal, myself. If I have to study history, it better be through fantasy or all hope is lost. LOL

  6. Lauren M Says:

    I love the cover, too! The illustration is really well done! Anyway, this one sounds like a lot of fun. I really miss the adventurous stories that are more prevalent in middle grade fiction. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Rummanah! :)

  7. LoriStrongin Says:

    Sounds cute! The blurb definitely hooked my interest, and I totally agree with you that historical fiction is so important nowadays since a lot of kids don't want to crack open a textbook or watch documentaries on the History Channel.

    Thanks for reccing this one!


  8. I adore the cover, and this sounds like such an enjoyable young MG read. I need to review a few younger titles, and I think this totally fits the bill for me. Brilliant, thoughtful review :)

  9. This sounds like a great MG adventure story. Not my thing but perfect for my nephews :)

  10. Small Review Says:

    This sounds so cute. I just read the first book in her Theodosia series and I loved it. It sounds like this is for a slightly younger audience?

    I'm with those kids, I much prefer learning facts through fun fiction :)

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