24 September 2017

Percy Jackson Books

Bedtime Story Time is still going strong even though I have failed to post about a single book that we’ve read since February, and there have been many:  Kathy Appelt and Alison McGhee’s Maybe a Fox; Marguerite Henry’s 1949 Newberry Medal winning book King of the Wind; Henry Winterfeld’s Mystery of the Roman Ransom, the sequel to the book Detectives in Togas that I wrote about on February 21, 2017; Miriam E. Mason’s A Pony Called Lightning; and the first three books in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series.

In August, the boy child chose the 4th Percy Jackson book, The Battle of the Labyrinth, for story time, and then, upon its conclusion, coaxed his sister into choosing the fifth and final book, The Last Olympian.  With only half of the chapters remaining, we are certainly going to miss the adventures, antics and attitudes of the characters. Percy, Annabeth, Grover, Thalia, Nico, Tyson, and a host of Gods, Goddesses, monsters, mortals and demigods have made this series truly memorable.

A few years ago, my son began reading the first book, The Lightning Thief, and because I AM THAT MOTHER, I read it too.  Afterwards, he and I  both devoured the other four books in the series, watched the two movies that corresponded loosely with the first two books, and read Rick Riordan’s other Percy Jackson titles Greek Gods and Greek Heroes.  To say we enjoyed them all would be an understatement.  My son even got an orange Camp Half-Blood tee-shirt that he wore proudly in his school’s character parade and for nearly every week thereafter until he sadly outgrew it.

I don’t know exactly what the allure is, since we are now almost finished reading the entire collection for a second time, only this time aloud and with my daughter, but I think it has much to do with the wit and the sarcasm of the author.  The mythology of the Greek Gods, with all of their bad behavior and familial intrigue in tow, as well as the tales of their oft-times doomed half-human progeny have new life breathed into them.   There is nothing dry here, just a rollicking progression of mishaps and monsters and monstrous mishaps that pique your interest for the ancient myths and give you a hearty chuckle on almost each and every page.

These are great books to read aloud, especially if you have a penchant for voices, since there are many, many characters that you will have to give voice to.  But the benefit of all of these characters is that there is someone, or in many cases some thing, that everyone can relate to: the nature lovers, the book nerds, the underdogs, the neglected, the handicapped, the special and on and on and on.  My daughter’s favorites are the studious Annabeth and the artsy Rachel Dare.  Mine and my son’s, the simple but crafty one-eyed Tyson.  My husband’s–well he is not presently here to ask!

We are cheering on the half-bloods as the final battle against the Titans draws close.  And even though we don’t know if the heroes will be able to stop Kronos, or if the Titans will once again reign supreme (well my son and I do), reading the books in the evening before bed has certainly slowed time down for my family, even if just for a short while, and given us many nice memories; and for that, I am and will always be eternally grateful to Mr. Riordan, Kronos and the fighting demi-gods of Camp Half-Blood.

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