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LaFevers, R. L.
New York : Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2009
IL 3-6, RL 3.6
ISBN 0547238657

(2 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

With his parents declared lost at sea, 10-year-old Nathaniel Fludd finds himself sent to the home of a distant 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 protect the egg until it is safely hatched, keep his new pet gremlin out of trouble, and rescue his cousin? If he fails, nothing will stand between the world’s mythical creatures and extinction. If he succeeds, he might just earn the right to carry the Fludd family compass, and to continue his training as a Beastologist---a protector of mythical creatures.  (New Hampshire Great Stone Face nominee, 2011)

Booktalk #2

Excerpt from Chapter Five:
“Very glad for the rope that anchored him to the plane, Nate stood up. Struggling to keep his balance, he crawled out of the cockpit and lowered his feet over the side until they touched the wing. Gripping the side of the plane for dear life, he shuffled his feet along the wing, inching closer to the propeller. The plane bucked and dipped, adjusting to his shifting weight. Even with the slower speed, the wind screamed past him, tugging at his shirt, his helmet, his body, trying to dislodge him from his wobbly perch. His heart hammering in his chest, Nate kept his eyes glued to the nose of the plane and tried not think about how far down the ground was.” (p. 44)

Ten-year-old Nathaniel Fludd is on the wing of his cousin Philomena Fludd’s plane, fixing the propeller. They’re flying on an expedition all the way to Arabia. See, cousin Phil is a beastologist, just like Nate’s parents, just like so may Fludds before them. Beastologists study and care for mythical creatures all over the world, and cousin Phil is on her way to make sure the world’s only phoenix lays an egg, a feat that only happens every 500 years! Nate doesn’t much like adventure; he’d rather be drawing in his sketchbook. But after learning that his parents are lost at sea after being on an expedition for the past three years, he’s been sent to live with cousin Phil, and apparently that means flying to Arabia with her. Cousin Phil is a bit strange, with a talking dodo bird in her house, (Nate didn’t even know they really existed!) maps of the world, and her very own airplane. Nate isn’t sure if he likes flying: it’s pretty terrifying, especially the whole climbing out on the wing thing! But it’s also kind of exciting. He finds a trouble-making gremlin named Greasle on the plane, and agrees to carry her in his backpack for the rest of the trip. Once they get to Arabia, though, things don’t go exactly as planned. Cousin Phil gets kidnapped by a Bedouin, leaving Nate and Greasle stranded. Nate has got to save her and make sure the phoenix gets to lay its egg, otherwise the phoenix will become extinct! Will Nate be able to overcome his fear, rescue cousin Phil, protect the phoenix, and keep Greasle out of trouble? Will he find his adventuresome spirit after all, become a true Fludd beastologist, and help protect all of the mythical creatures of the world?  (Kate Folmar,, librarian)

SUBJECTS:     Animals, Mythical -- Fiction.
                        Orphans -- Fiction.
                        Phoenix (Mythical bird) -- Fiction.
                        Cousins -- Fiction.
                        Bedouins -- Fiction.
                        Middle East -- Fiction.
                        Adventure and adventurers -- Fiction

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