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Flight of the Phoenix

Flight of the Phoenix

4.3 40
by R. L. LaFevers

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Nathaniel Fludd’s life has taken a turn for the worst. With his parents lost at sea, he lands on the doorstep of a distant cousin—the world’s last remaining beastologist. Soon Nate is whisked off on his first expedition, to Arabia, where the world’s only phoenix prepares to lay its new egg. When disaster strikes, Nate quickly finds himself all


Nathaniel Fludd’s life has taken a turn for the worst. With his parents lost at sea, he lands on the doorstep of a distant cousin—the world’s last remaining beastologist. Soon Nate is whisked off on his first expedition, to Arabia, where the world’s only phoenix prepares to lay its new egg. When disaster strikes, Nate quickly finds himself all alone.
       Will he be able to see the phoenix safely hatched, keep his accidental pet gremlin out of trouble, and rescue his guardian from the Bedouin? If he fails, nothing will stand between the world’s mythical creatures and extinction.
Too bad Nate’s not the sort of boy who enjoys adventure . . .yet.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
Quiet, young Nathaniel (Nate) Fludd finds himself at the doorsteps of P. A. Fludd, Beastologist. Phil Fludd is his appointed guardian and his father's cousin with whom he is to live with now that his parents have been declared lost at sea. Prior to the declaration, Nate was left in the care of Miss Lumpton until he was old enough to join his parents on their adventures. Now his life takes an unexpected turn. Ready or not, Nate with trepidation is flying off to Arabia with Phil to observe the hatching of the phoenix which occurs once every five hundred years. Phil is surprised that Nate's parents had not started the Fludd training and fills Nate in with some of the Fludd family history and traditions. How will Nate survive his first expedition with gremlins, camels, and the Bedouin when his stomach drops and he starts out gripping the side of the platypus (plane)? This fast paced story is the first in the adventure series of "Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist." There are some hints about the next adventure, along with some mysterious characters that are yet to be revealed. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
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, CA
Kirkus Reviews
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 cliches 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. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Nathanial Fludd, Beastologist , #1
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Sales rank:
640L (what's this?)
File size:
49 MB
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Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

It was one of the most important moments in Nathaniel Fludd’s young life, and he was stuck sitting in the corner. Miss Lumpton had promised him an overnight trip to the city to visit the zoo. Instead, he found himself in a stuffy office with their suitcases at his feet and his sketchbook in his lap. He’d been given clear instructions not to listen in on Miss Lumpton’s conversation with the lawyer. The problem was, they sat only three feet away and the lawyer spoke rather loudly. Nate tried to concentrate on his drawing.

"Thank you for coming on such short notice," the lawyer said.

Nate drummed his heels on one of the suitcases to try to drown out the sound of their voices. Miss Lumpton shushed him.

He stopped kicking.

"You said you had news?" Miss Lumpton asked.

The lawyer lowered his voice, and Nate felt as if his ears grew a bit, straining to hear. "We’ve had word of his parents." Nate’s head jerked up.

Miss Lumpton caught him looking. "Keep drawing," she ordered, then turned back to the lawyer. Nate kept his eyes glued to the sketchbook in front of him. But even though his pencil was moving dutifully on the paper, every molecule of his body was focused on the lawyer’s words.

"On May twenty-third of this year, the airship Italia crashed on the ice near the North Pole."

Nate’s pencil froze. His body felt hot, then cold. He hadn’t even known his parents were on an airship.

The lawyer continued. "After months of searching, only eight of the sixteen crew have been found. The boy’s parents were not among them."

Miss Lumpton put a hand to her throat. "So what does that mean, exactly?" Her voice wobbled.

"It means that, as of this day, September fifth, 1928, Horatio and Adele Fludd have been declared lost at sea."

"I thought you said they crashed on the ice?" Nate blurted out. Luckily, Miss Lumpton was too busy fishing for her handkerchief to notice he spoke out of turn.

"Yes, well, technically, the ice was frozen seawater," the lawyer said. "But either way, I’m afraid your parents aren’t coming back." Miss Lumpton began to cry quietly.

Nate hadn’t seen his parents in more than three years. Of course, he’d missed them horribly when they first left. He’d been comforted only when they promised to send for him on his eighth birthday.

"You need a little more time to grow up," his father had said. "When you’re old enough to travel well and your sense of adventure has developed, we’ll send for you then."

Time had passed. On his eighth birthday, Nate had been excited, but nervous, too. He wasn’t sure his love of adventure had shown up yet. But his parents’ letter asking him to join them never showed up, either. "Just as well," Miss Lump-ton had sniffed. "Their job is much too important to have a youngster tagging along, getting in the way."

On his ninth birthday Nate had been hopeful. Miss Lumpton told him not to be silly. His parents’ work was much too dangerous for a young boy. Especially a young boy like himself, one who liked quiet walks, reading, and drawing. Clearly he wasn’t suited to a life of adventure. Nate was a little disappointed—he thought he had felt the smallest beginning of an adventurous spark.

By his tenth birthday, Nate had buried the memory of his parents and never took it out anymore. Much like a toy he’d outgrown, he told himself. But the truth was, thinking of them hurt too much.

And now he would never see them again.

Miss Lumpton dabbed at her eyes with the handkerchief. "So the poor boy is all alone in the world?"

Nate wished she’d stop crying. It wasn’t her parents who’d been lost at sea.

"No, no, my dear Miss Lumpton," the lawyer said. "That is not the case at all. The boy is to live with a Phil A. Fludd."

Miss Lumpton stopped crying. "Phil A. Fludd? Well, who is that, I’d like to know."

The lawyer studied the paper in front of him. "A cousin of the boy’s father. Lives in Batting-at-the-Flies up in North County."

Miss Lumpton sniffed. "Well, what about me?"

Suddenly Nate understood why she’d been crying. She hadn’t been worried about him at all.

"They’ve left you a Tidy Sum, Miss Lumpton. You shall not want."

Miss Lumpton’s tears disappeared. She sat up straighter and leaned forward. "How much?"

The lawyer told her the amount of money she would
receive. Her cheeks grew pink with pleasure. "Well, that should do very nicely."

"In fact," the lawyer said, "my clerk is holding the
funds for you. If you’d like to check with him when we’re done—"

Miss Lumpton stood up. "I think we’re done."

Nate looked at her in surprise. He didn’t think they were done. He didn’t understand why he couldn’t stay with Miss Lumpton. Why couldn’t things go on the way they had for the past three years?

His governess came over to where he sat and gave him an awkward pat on the head. "Good luck, dear boy." She grabbed one of the suitcases and left the room in search of her Tidy Sum.

Nate did feel like crying then. Instead, he blinked quite fast.

"Now," the lawyer boomed, "we must go, too." He pulled a pocket watch from his vest and looked at it. "You have a train to catch."

"A train?" Nate asked.

"Yes. Now put that book of yours away and come along." The lawyer closed his watch with a snap. "Eh, what have you drawn there?" he asked. "A walrus?"

"Er, yes." Nate shut the sketchbook quickly, before the lawyer could recognize himself.

"Well, do hurry. It wouldn’t do to miss the train. It wouldn’t do at all." The lawyer came out from behind his desk and grabbed Nate’s suitcase.

Nate stood up and tucked his sketchbook under his arm. The lawyer clamped his hand onto Nate’s shoulder and steered him out of the office.

Nate had to take giant steps to keep up. The train station was only two blocks away, but Nate was out of breath by the time they got there.

"All aboard!" the conductor called out.

"Here." The lawyer thrust the suitcase at Nate and shoved a ticket into his hand. "Hurry, boy! They won’t hold the train for you." His voice was gruff and impatient. Nate wondered if the lawyer would get a Tidy Sum for getting him on the train.

Once he was onboard, Nate hurried to the window to wave goodbye, but the lawyer had already left.

Meet the Author

Robin LaFevers lives in Southern California. Learn more at her website: http://www.rllafevers.com/

R.L. LaFevers lives in Southern California. Learn more at her website: http://www.rllafevers.com/

Kelly Murphy grew up surrounded by swamps and marshes that she explored with her six other siblings in southern New England. If you'd like to see more of Kelly's work, please visit www.kelmurphy.com 

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Flight of the Phoenix 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
In-love-with-reading More than 1 year ago
Got this book for my granddaughters so I wanted to give it a quick look-see before passing it on to them (have to check everything these days for adult content) and was thoroughly charmed. Read it straight through and am looking forward to the next installment. Highly recommend for all ages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book really touched me. Tip on reading on your nook: get some music on pandora on. Then, press the home button and press this book. Know youcan listen to music while reading. I just finshed and i still have the music going.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
On September 5, 1928 ten-year-old Nathaniel Fludd's parents are declared lost at sea. Alone in the world with no other close relatives and a governess eager to abscond with her Tidy Sum from the Fludd estate, Nathaniel is sent to live with Phil A. Fludd--a mysterious cousin Nate has never met, let alone heard of in Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist: Flight of the Phoenix by R. L. LaFevers with illustrations by Kelly Murphy. It turns out an eccentric cousin is the first of many things his parents never told him. The Fludds come from a long line of Beastologists: explorers who travel the world documenting and protecting rare beasts the world has long forgotten, including one rather unique bird that resides with Nate's eccentric cousin. When Nate is whisked off with his Beastologist kin, he finds himself in a world of adventure traveling to Arabia to ensure the safe hatching of the world's only Phoenix. But no one said being a Beastologist was easy. When trouble strikes Nate is once again all alone faced with the daunting tasks of protecting the Phoenix egg (and his secret pet Gremlin) while hatching a clever plot to rescue his guardian from the Bedouin. The book comes equipped with a glossary of real (and imagined) terms to help readers better make sense of the Steampunk world of Beastologists and the era of 1928 which create a unique Flight of the Phoenix is a brilliant story. LaFevers' writing is charming. She evokes Nathaniel's world with wit and humor that is complemented well by Murphy's endearing illustrations. Together the two provide a strong opening to what I hope will be a long series of books. Possible Pairings: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
After his parents are lost at sea, ten-year-old Nate is sent to live with a distant relative and learns the amazing truth about his family's history. Before he can even unpack, Nate is whisked away on an adventure to Arabia. But Nate isn't the adventurous type. When disaster strikes, Nate is left with only his accidental pet gremlin to help him care for the world's only remaining phoenix egg. If he fails to keep the egg safe long enough for it to hatch, the mythical creature will become extinct. Fast-paced and full of fun, this is a great choice for the reluctant reader in your life . . . and any other reader, for that matter. I immediately liked Nate and enjoyed the journey as he became NATHANIEL FLUDD, BEASTOLOGIST. I'm looking forward to book two and can't wait to see what adventure LaFevers will write Nate into next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was an interesting journey about a boy protecting the phoenix's nest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book. I love the detaails
Stephen Beers More than 1 year ago
this book is great for kids in grades 3-5
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have too say i enjoyed this book even though i finished it on one night. The only thing that i didnt like was the illistrations because to me it looks like a cchild drawing. I guess my opinion would actually be invalid for it was technically a child drawing these pictures. So all in all, its good but it would be great if it were longer.
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Read the others to they're perfect
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is the best book iv read i love iti want to read all
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Sydney H More than 1 year ago
It rocks
Nancy Livingston More than 1 year ago
This book was great , full of adventure and suspense
Anonymous More than 1 year ago