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The Unicorn's Tale (Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist Series #4)
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The Unicorn's Tale (Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist Series #4)

4.1 9
by R. L. LaFevers, Kelly Murphy (Illustrator)

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Is there no rest for the travel worn and weary? Not if you’re Nathaniel Fludd, the world’s youngest beastologist-in-training! All Nate really wants is to track down his missing parents, but when a unicorn falls mysteriously ill, Nate’s Aunt Phil makes it clear where a beastologist’s duty lies: to the beasts. 

And if taking care of


Is there no rest for the travel worn and weary? Not if you’re Nathaniel Fludd, the world’s youngest beastologist-in-training! All Nate really wants is to track down his missing parents, but when a unicorn falls mysteriously ill, Nate’s Aunt Phil makes it clear where a beastologist’s duty lies: to the beasts. 

And if taking care of the world’s beasts isn’t difficult enough, Nate and Aunt Phil must also keep them safe from the villainous Obediah Fludd, who intends to do them harm. With all this taking up every last bit of his energy and time, will Nate ever find the parents he is so absolutely convinced are alive?

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Katie DeWald
Nathaniel Fludd comes from a long line of beastologists who are advocates for and healers to the world's mythological beasts. In book four of the "Nathaniel Fludd: Beastologist" series Nate is coping with the mysterious disappearance of his parents and dealing with the pressure of learning all he can as a beastologist-in-training with the help of his dear Aunt Phil, an experienced beastologist. As Aunt Phil and Nate attempt to rescue a guivre, or dragon, on their way to help nurse a unicorn back to health they are also on the lookout for the evil Obediah Fludd. Obediah is on a quest to steal a secret book containing the location of every rare beast in the world. Nate learns about himself and the animals he encounters as they teach him about what it means to be a true beastologist. Greasle, a gremlin, and Cornelius, a dodo bird, are Aunt Phil and Nate's traveling companions. Along the way they are greeted by a faun or half man-half goat among other creatures. LaFevers presents an imaginative twist on the wizard genre allowing exotic, extinct, and fantasy animals as well as their respective histories and mythologies to take the forefront of the story. Animal lovers, unicorn enthusiasts, and readers seeking adventure will enjoy this tale with elements of mystery, magic, and wonder. Reviewer: Katie DeWald
From the Publisher

Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist : Book One, Flight of the Phoenix by R.L. LaFevers (fall 2009)
– A Junior Library Guild selection
– Nominated for the 2009 Cybils awards
– Exclusive Chinese and German rights sold

Praise for The Flight of the Phoenix (Book 1):

“A solid start to a new series. . . . A quick and enticing read that will appeal to a wide variety of children.” —School Library Journal

“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.” —Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist Series , #4
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.80(d)
730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
October 1928

"I still don’t understand why we had to come to France," Nate grumbled as he dragged his rucksack on the ground behind him. Not liking the bumpy ride, his pet gremlin, Greasle, scampered up the pack’s buckles and straps to Nate’s shoulder.

"We came to France because our lives can’t stand still while we wait for news of Obediah Fludd to surface," Aunt Phil explained. "We still have a job to do, Nate. And today, being a beastologist brings us to France."

She stopped walking and Nate bumped into her. "Sorry," he mumbled, embarrassed.

Aunt Phil reached out a hand to steady him. "We have scouts everywhere, keeping an eye out for Obediah. If he’s spotted, we’ll know soon enough. Now, pull yourself together. We’ve work to do."

Cornelius, Aunt Phil’s talking dodo, sniffed. "If the boy were a true Fludd, he wouldn’t snivel so much."

As Nate glared at him, Greasle piped up. "Seems to me there was a certain dodo doing an awful lot of sniveling this morning. Something about nots wanting to be left home alone."

Cornelius raised his beak into the air and fluffed his feathers. "I wasn’t sniveling. I was being cautious. I’d already been attacked once, you know."

"You weren’t attacked!" Greasle scoffed. "A door accidentally falled on you."

"Enough!" Aunt Phil said.

"He started it," the gremlin muttered.

Nate let himself fall a few paces behind and lowered his voice. "Bickering with Cornelius is not going to help convince Aunt Phil to let me keep you," he pointed out.

Greasle’s shoulders drooped. "I know. But I can’t stand it when that overstuffed pigeon be’s mean to you."

"Are you two planning on joining us anytime soon?" Cornelius drawled.

Nate looked up to see that the dodo and Aunt Phil had reached the farmhouse, and he hurried to catch up. A flock of chickens had stopped scratching in the dirt to stare curiously at Cornelius.

Nate sent the dodo a sly look. "Relatives of yours, Cornelius?"

The dodo clacked his beak in annoyance.

"Don’t worry about him," Greasle told the chickens. "He’s just a big fat chicken who can’t even lay eggs."

Just as Aunt Phil whirled around to give everyone another scolding, the farmhouse door burst open. A short, round man tumbled out into the yard. He wore a black cap and smelled of garlic and sausage. "Dr. Fludd! I had nearly despaired of your arrival!"

"I’m sorry, Monsieur Poupon. We came as soon as we got your message. It does take an hour or two to cross the channel—even in an airplane. Now, what’s all this about a guivre infestation?"

"Le dragon showed up in my well two days ago and won’t budge."

"One guivre can hardly be considered an infestation," Aunt Phil pointed out. "Besides, you are having an unseasonably warm autumn. Perhaps this one just needs to cool off for a bit—"

"Non! He may not cool off in my well. Le guivre, he carries disease, the plague! All my family, my animals, will become sick if you do not remove him at once."

"Nonsense." Aunt Phil bristled. "That is merely an old rumor started in the Middle Ages. It has long been proven false. Guivres carry no diseases."

The farmer’s face grew red and he clenched his fists. "Are you saying you won’t remove him?"

"No. I am simply pointing out that you have nothing to fear but inconvenience. Come along, Nate. Let’s go see to the guivre. We’ll let you know when we’ve finished, Monsieur Poupon."

With that, Aunt Phil headed back down the walkway. "I don’t want that poor guivre around him any longer than necessary," she muttered to herself.

She was so annoyed with the farmer that she marched right past the path leading to the well. Not wanting this to take any longer than it had to, Nate stopped and called her back. "I think this is the way," he said, pointing to a low wall of thick gray stone.

"Now, that is clever," Cornelius drawled. "Finding a well in plain sight. I take back everything I ever said about your lack of Fludd skills."

"If you can’t say something helpful, then don’t say anything at all," Aunt Phil told the dodo. To Nate, she said, "Thank you."

When they came to a stop in front of the well, Greasle whispered in Nate’s ear, "What’s a guivre, anyway?"

"I don’t know," he said. "But we’re about to find out. Now, be quiet so I can pay attention." He didn’t want to miss a thing. Aunt Phil might quiz him on it later. Or it could turn out to be a matter of life and death. One never knew with her.

She set her pack on the ground, then leaned over the well. "Hello?" she called out, her voice echoing down into the dark depths.

In answer, a great gushing stream of water shot out of the well. Aunt Phil leaped back, avoiding the hosing. Unfortunately, Nate didn’t. The jet of water cascaded down on his head.

"Sorry about that," Aunt Phil said as he wiped the water from his eyes. "I should have warned you."

Nate wrung the water from his coat, glad they were having a warm autumn. On his shoulder, Greasle gave a quick shake, flinging the water from her oily skin.

Aunt Phil turned back to the well. "Thank you, dear, but I didn’t need any water today," she called down. "I actually wanted to have a little chat with you. Do you have a moment?"

The splashing stopped, then slowly, something big and slithery began to rise up out of the well’s depths.

Meet the Author

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

Kelly Murphy grew up surrounded by swamps and marshes that she explored with her six other siblings in southern New England. While not as interesting as the Fludds' destinations, she's has seen her fair share of the strange and mystical. If you'd like to see more of Kelly's work, please visit kelmurphy.com

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The Unicorn's Tale (Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist Series #4) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
MamaK89 More than 1 year ago
My son is in the third grade and loves these books - he is reading the whole series.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
The Unicorn's Tale by R. L. LaFevers, illustrated by Kelly Murphy (2011) Book 4 in the Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series Since I have already reviewed book 1, book 2 and book 3 of the Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series I decided that for book 4 I didn't need to go in depth with background information. SPOILER: I loved all of the books. Much as it pains me to say this, we're really at the point in the series where you have to read the previous books to keep up. In addition to featuring one of my favorite mythical creatures (I'm on Team Unicorn) this book gets back to basics established in book one. Nathaniel and Aunt Phil stay together for the entire story, Cornelius the Dodo is back. And we learn more about Nate's parents. The mythological beast story was charming and worked well with the more ongoing story of Nathaniel's missing parents. We are also treated to an excerpt from the Book of Beasts (instead of a glossary) filled with information on the various kinds of unicorns. As usual Murphy's illustrations are gorgeous and add a fun dimension to the story. I love this series and am kind of obsessed with it. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for an old fashioned adventure-fantasy for the younger set.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was sooooooo good but alittle sad because nates parntes are still missing.
TheZentangleMaster More than 1 year ago
Even as a teen, I loved these books! So adorable and detailed! Would recommend this book to anyone 7 or older! Read the whole series!
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Dranea More than 1 year ago
The fourth installment of Nathaniel Fludd's journeys brought us to the beautiful and well loved unicorns. The Fludds have documented several different types of unicorns several of which the Fludds have recorded and never seen again. But when Nate and his aunt trek out to help a unicorn in need, will Nate find the clues he needs in order to save his parents? This is a cute story for any child who is interested in the fantastic world. It will introduce or make them a little more familiar with all sorts of fantastic beasts. This was a fun story, and leaves plenty of mystery to make the young readers wait in anticipation for the next book!! The action in this book is appropriate for a younger crowd, keeps the plot moving along without being scary for younger readers.