Flight of the Phoenix — "Nathanial Fludd, Beastologist" Series
This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family Thriving Family, a marriage and parenting magazine. It is the first book in the "Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist" series.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
When 10-year-old Nathaniel Fludd's adventurous parents are proclaimed dead in 1928, he's sent to live with Aunt Philomena (Phil), a beastologist. He learns from her talking dodo that Aunt Phil studies and helps endangered and mythical creatures. Aunt Phil takes Nate to Arabia (now known as the Arabian Peninsula) in her ancient two-seater plane. There, they must oversee the birth of a phoenix, a phenomenon that only happens once every 500 years. En route to Arabia, Nate pulls a gremlin named Greasle from the place in between where the propeller meets the plane.
Aunt Phil tells him to throw the nasty thing overboard, but Nate keeps her. When Aunt Phil is captured by Bedouin, a nomadic tribe, Nate and Greasle must ensure that the phoenix emerges from the fire they've built. Once they've seen to the phoenix, Nate and Greasle sneak into the Bedouin camp to rescue Aunt Phil. They try to frighten the Bedouin by claiming that Greasle is capable of causing them misfortune.
Greasle inadvertently finds oil, and Aunt Phil tells the Bedouin how much it's worth. The Bedouin set the group free, and Aunt Phil promises to begin Nate's formal adventure training at once.
Other Belief Systems
As beastologists, Aunt Phil and Nate hunt for creatures that are sometimes considered mythical and magical. Greasle calls Aunt Phil a witch when she becomes angry, not because she practices any type of witchcraft. Aunt Phil's Book of Beasts elaborates on the phoenix. It says if a sick or injured man hears the phoenix's song or gets a pinch of ash from the phoenix's fire, he'll be healed.
Drinking phoenix tears leads to eternal life. Phoenix feathers possess unknown magical properties. After the phoenix finishes his nest, he gathers twigs and ash into an egg and carries it to the temple of the sun god as an offering. The Arabians believe in jinnis, elemental spirits that can be controlled by sorcerers and told to do bad things.
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Lying: Nate lies to Aunt Phil to keep Greasle out of trouble. He and Greasle also convince various Arabians that Greasle is a jinni, a creature whose powers they fear. Aunt Phil tells the Bedouin she is alone so they won't discover and capture Nate.
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Readability Age Range
7 to 11
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
Great Stone Face Children's Book Award, 2010-11