Great Illustrated Books

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson series)

By Rick Riordan

Hyperion, 2005
Pages : 384
Suggested Ages: 10 and Up
ISBN: 9780786856299

      “Look, I didn't want to be a half-blood.

      If you're reading this because you think you might be one, my advice is: close this book right now. Believe whatever lie your mom or dad told you about your birth, and try to lead a normal life.

      Being a half-blood is dangerous. It's scary. Most of the time, it gets you killed in painful, nasty ways.”

Who could stop reading after a first page that starts like that? You think you have problems in school? Meet 12-year-old Percy Jackson, a dyslexic ADHD kid at Yancy Academy, a private boarding school for troubled kids in upstate New York. The chapter headings are most instructive and, actually, accurate, as in Chapter 1: "I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-Algebra Teacher." On his sixth grade class field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, Percy tries to stay out of hot water. But redheaded kleptomaniac classmate, Nancy Bobofit, pushes all his buttons and makes him mad. After he pushes Nancy into the museum fountain, Mrs. Dodds, Percy's inhumanly mean math teacher, wants to kill him. Literally. And Percy is about to find out the truth about the father he's never met. "Lost at sea" is all his mother has ever told him. Well, Percy's father is a god. A Greek god. A real one. And that makes Percy a demigod, a half-blood. He's also in mortal danger. There are lots of creatures out there who want him dead.

Readers will be eager to delve into Greek myths to understand Percy’s many encounters with gods and goddesses in modern day dress in this first book of a riveting five-part series, Percy Jackson & the Olympians. The fun continues with The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian. Both Rick Riordan's own website, and the Hyperion site,, are fabulous and not to be missed.

Reviewed by : JF.


If you love this book, then try:

Alcock, Vivian. Singer to the Sea God. Delacorte, 1993. ISBN-13: 9780385308663

Alexander, Lloyd. The Arkadians. Dutton, 1995. ISBN-13: 9780140380736

Billingsley, Franny. The Folk Keeper. Simon & Schuster, 1999. ISBN-13: 9780689844614

Collins, Suzanne. Gregor the Overlander. Scholastic, 2003. ISBN-13: 9780439678131

Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee. The Conch Bearer. Roaring Brook, 2003. ISBN-13: 9780689872426

Farmer, Nancy. The Sea of Trolls. Atheneum, 2004. ISBN-13: 9780689867460

Gantos, Jack. Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key. Farrar, 1998. ISBN-13: 9780064408332

Ibbotson, Eva. The Secret of Platform 13. Dutton, 1998. ISBN-13: 9780141302867

Langrish, Katherine. Troll Fell. HarperCollins, 2004. ISBN-13: 9780060583064

Levine, Gail Carson. Ella Enchanted. HarperCollins, 1997. ISBN-13: 9780064407052

Osborne, Mary Pope. Favorite Greek Myths. Scholastic, 1989. ISBN-13: 9780590413381

Pratchett, Terry. The Wee Free Men. HarperCollins, 2003. ISBN-13: 9780060012380

Riordan, Rick. The Battle of the Labyrinth. Hyperion, 2008. ISBN-13: 9781410410184

Riordan, Rick. The Sea of Monsters. Miramax/Hyperion, 2006. ISBN-13: 9781401322250

Riordan, Rick. The Titan's Curse. Miramax/Hyperion, 2007. ISBN-13: 9781423101451

Spinelli, Jerry. Loser. HarperCollins, 2002. ISBN-13: 9780060540746

Yolen, Jane, and Robert J. Harris. Odysseus in the Serpent Maze. HarperCollins, 2001. ISBN-13: 9780064408479

Critics have said

"Readers will be eager to follow the young protagonist's next move."
Patricia D. Lothrop, School Library Journal

"Best for older, action-loving kids, this book offers nonstop adventure and terrific exposure to Greek mythology."

"This wild romp of a book will intrigue and amuse middle schoolers, whether they know the Greek myths or not. "
Elisabeth Greenberg, Children

"The sardonic tone of the narrator's voice lends a refreshing air of realism to this riotously paced quest tale of heroism that questions the realities of our world, family, friendship and loyalty."
Kirkus Reviews