Nathaniel Fludd's life has taken a turn for the worst.
With his parents declared lost at sea, ten-year-old Nate leands on the doorstep of a distant family cousin--the world's last remaining beastologist. Before he can unpack his suitcase, he is whisked off on his first expedition, to the sands of 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 recuse 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.
I knew I would like Flight of the Phoenix by page four, when Nate thinks, "His parents' work was much too dangerous for a young boy. Especially a yound boy like himself, one who liked quiet walks, reading, and drawing. Clearly he wasn't suited to a life of adventure. Nate was a little disappointed--he thought he had felt the smallest beginning of an adventurous spark."
Let me assure you, that little spark burns a lot brighter by the end of the book. The story's premise is fantastic--a family of adventurers who carry the secret that mythological creatures exist? Awesome! Nate gets to watch a phoenix be reborn, and it sounds like each subsequent book will feature a different animal. With ongoing clues to the Fludd family history (I want to know more about the black sheep of the family!) and Nate's parents' disappearance (they are obviously not dead....rule #1 of reading books: unless a death is shown on page, do not believe it!).
Oh, and I loved that it is set in Arabia! How many books have I read that take place in the Middle East? Not very many, and most of those were non-fiction. So cool to read about camels and oases and nomads in a fictional story!
My one squabble is that, well, its a middle grade book! I wanted something longer and more detailed. It's nice to read a book in an hour, but...that is not something I can sink my literary teeth into. Still, for its audience, it is wonderful!
Four out of five spitting camels.
Release Date: September 2009
Reading Level: Grade 3+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection: BLUESTEM