The Book Reviews – Website

August 30, 2009

The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief

Author: Rick Riordan

Page Length: 375

Reading Level: 6

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Greek Mythology

PLOT SUMMARY: Percy Jackson, a 12 year New Yorker, is labeled as a troubled kid and has been kicked out of 6 schools. He has ADHD and is dyslexic. His father left home before he was born and Percy is at odds with his disgusting step father. Nothing is going right for him at his new school – Yancy Academy. His mother finally sends him away to yet another school where he befriends a boy named Grover. He thinks that his pre-algebra teacher is a monster and tried to kill him so Percy accidentally vaporizes his teacher. Percy is constantly protecting Grover because the others are picking on him. One night Percy is having trouble focusing on studying for final exams and notices that Grover is missing. He begins to search for Grover. In the basement of the school, Percy overhears Grover speaking with one of their teachers. On his way home, Percy finds out that Grover is actually his “protector”. Percy’s mother finally realizes who Percy is and gets him to camp Half-Blood for safety, or so she thought. There he finds out that Grover is also a satyr when he comes to save Percy and his mother from an attack by a minotaur. Percy and Grover narrowly escape but Percy’s mother disappears in a gold shower. Percy, also known as Perseus, learns that camp Half-Blood is a secret camp and training ground for young demigods. Percy also learns that Poseidon is his real father. Poseidon has been accused by Zeus of stealing his lightning bolt. It has now become Percy’s duty to return the lightning bolt or humankind will be destroyed. Thus the adventure begins with Percy’s encounters with characters from Greek mythology. The danger, suspense, and thrills ensue. Does Percy return the lightning bolt? What happens to Poseidon and Percy’s mother? What happens to Grover? Is humankind saved from destruction?

REVIEW:  The Lightning Thief is a great book based upon allusions to characters of Greek Mythology. It is full of suspense, thrills, and dangers. The reader’s attention is captured and maintained throughout the entire book. One is constantly making predictions trying to figure out what is going to happen next. The several examples of foreshadowing elements present in The Lightning Thief add to the excitement of Percy’s adventures.   

AREAS FOR TEACHING: main idea and supporting details, theme, setting, characters, point of view, conflict, plot, compare/contrast, cause/effect, sequence of events, inference, conclusions, generalizations, predictions, voice, mood, tone,  5 steps of the writing process, foreshadowing.

RELATED BOOKS: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Fablehaven by Brandon Hull, The Time Paradox (Artemis Fowl, Book 6) by Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer,  Books by the same author: The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, The Last Olympian, The Sea of Monsters, The Demigod Files, The 39 Clues (The Maze of Bones, Book 1)

MOVIE CONNECTIONS: The Lightning Thief (scheduled for release 2010), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (2005), The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008), The Incredibles (2004), Spider-Man (2002)

ART CONNECTION:  http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/greeks/art/greekart/htm

RELATED WEBSITES:

http://www.rickriordan.com/

http://www.state.lib.la.us/empowerlibrary/LIGHTNING%20THIEF.pdf

http://www.edsitement.neh.gov/view_lesson_plan.asp?id=234

http://www.wingedsandals.com/

http://www.content.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3395  (ADHD topic)

http://www.nancykeane.com/booktalks/riordan_lightning.htm   (book talk)

http://www.rickriordan.com/Teachers_Guide_Lightning_Thief.pdf

REVIEWED BY: Tammy Leitzel

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