Books are a lot like that. Luckily, I've been so danged busy, I haven't really even thought about the impending reviews for Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist. Until my editor emailed them to me. The first one is from Kirkus, always a nail-biter!
When his parents are declared lost at sea in 1928, ten-year-old Nate is sent to live with a cousin, who whisks him off to Arabia to watch the fiery death and rebirth of a phoenix. In this series opener, Nate learns he is heir to a long tradition of mapmakers and beastologists, people who study animals thought to be mythological or extinct. He acquires a gremlin friend, Greasle, and proves himself worthy of the Fludd family compass. The series has a promising premise and this first installment is well paced and complete, although tantalizing loose ends will frustrate readers who will want to know NOW about the missing letters, the mysterious thief and the actual fate of Nate’s parents. Playing freely with historical detail and using traditions of English boys’ adventure stories and colonial clichés about Bedouin culture, this American author has crafted an exciting tale. Straightforward sentences, chronological narrative, short chapters and Murphy’s plentiful black-and-white illustrations make this appropriate for middle-grade readers looking for a series to grow with.From Kirkus? I'll take it! This is only the third book of mine they've reviewed, they ignored the other five. And it is certainly the best review I've gotten from them. Of course, I cringe a little at the 'colonial cliche' bit, but I'm trying to shrug it off. These books travel the globe, trying to give kids a taste of geography and the cultures and traditions associated with those geographies. And they're short books. I like to think of the portrayal as more of a snapshot...an introduction, if you will.
And then yesterday, from School Library Journal:
Gr 3-5–This is a solid start to a new series. Ten-year-old Nathaniel Fludd’s parents have been off on an adventure for three years and are now, in 1928, declared lost at sea at the North Pole. Thus begin Nate’s own escapades as he goes to live with his Aunt Phil A. Fludd in Batting-at-the-Flies and learn the family business of mapmaking and beastology. Even though Nate has always resisted adventure, he now finds himself meeting an extraordinary talking dodo bird and talking gremlins, and he and Aunt Phil fly to Arabia to oversee the birth of a phoenix. When his aunt is taken by the Bedouin, Nate must summon his courage to protect the phoenix and save her. The story is packed with adventure and mythological creatures. Children who love fantasy, myth, exotic settings, and even a little dose of history will relate to Nate as he discovers his inner hero and carries on the Fludd family tradition. The characters are strongly developed and the period illustrations done in line, including some of Nate’s own sketches, enhance the tale. A quick and enriching read that will appeal to a wide variety of children.–Jane Cronkhite, San Jose Public Library, CAI love how this reviewer got that Nate was struggling to find his inner hero. Spot on! And of course, I'm pleased as punch she thought the characters were strongly developed--no small feat in only 18,000 words!
And now, because I feel like I've been talking about my writing process so much that I've neglected readers, I'm going to give away an ARC for Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist. If you are a book blogger, a librarian, a teacher, a parent, or a rabid reader of kids books (I think I got everyone!) just leave a comment in this thread to enter. Be sure I have a way to contact you if your name is drawn, either your blogger profile or a link to your website/blog. To enter the drawing, simply post a comment in this thread. The contest will run until Sunday night (Aug 23) and I'll announce the winner Monday morning! Good luck!