When his Aunt Phil flies to the western Sudan to recapture an escaped basilisk, she takes Nathaniel Fludd along, reassuring him that he is only to "watch and learn." Instead, he and his gremlin friend, Greasle, play important roles. This satisfying middle-grade adventure features a hesitant, unskilled hero, a miniature sidekick straight from Where the Wild Things Are and an exotic setting in colonial British West Africa in 1928. The basilisk is appropriately scary, and straightforward storytelling leads to an exciting climax. Readers won't get and don't need the entire back story from Flight of the Phoenix (2009), the first in the Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series, but those who have read it will surely enjoy the return of the supposed orphan and his formidable aunt. Murphy has provided a full-page pen-and-ink illustration as well as several smaller sketches for almost every chapter, and Nathaniel contributes drawings, too. Sharp-eyed readers will realize that the chapter numbers are counted in animal bones. This story is complete in itself, but the ending promises more adventure to come.
Robin was recently interviewed by 11-year old Summer Oh over at The Enchanted Inpots blog. It's a completely charming post, and I learned some things about Robin I never knew. Like what beast she pines to be! That's some serious investigative journalism, Miss Summer! You won't want to miss this one. Robin and Summer's interview
Please join me in congratulating Robin on the wonderfully successful series that clearly fills a much needed niche for kids ready to cut their teeth on some accessible fantasy for young readers. Robin excels at finding those places in the market and for creating such fresh, unique, characters in historic settings. That is an extraordinary talent!
And of course, you can :::WIN::: a personally autographed copy of Robin's book for yourself or your favorite little beastie. If you'll look at the cover above, there is a very short little creature in desperate need of waxing standing near Nate. What's his/her name? Let us know in the comment section and you'll be entered to win. And the winner of last week's contest to win a copy of Love and Pollywogs from Camp Calamity is the soon-to-be-launched herself, Kimberly Griffiths Little. I'm so glad for you, Kimberly! Please email me offline here and I'll get that out right away.
Have a most wonderful week, everyone!