Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist, Book Two: The Basilisk's Lair
by R.L. LaFevers, illustrated by Kelly Murphy
9780547238678, $15, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Pub. Date: June 2010
I'm so excited about this series! It's the perfect blend of text and pictures, adventure and fun, risk but happy endings.
In this second book, Nathaniel and Aunt Phil (who's really a cousin), and of course, Greasle the Gremlin, have received an urgent telegram telling them about the escape of a Basilisk, a creature known as the King of the Serpents. The Dhughani people have been protecting the Basilisk's lair, but someone has found a way to get it out. Nathaniel, as a beastologist-in-training, is only supposed to watch and assist Aunt Phil in recapturing the Basilisk. As in the first novel, things go awry, and it is up to Nathaniel and Greasle to save the day. How exactly does one go about capturing a creature who can kill you with its breath, its smell, its touch, and its gaze? You'll have to read to find out, but I think we all know the answer is very, very carefully.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second book in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Harry came up against a Basilisk, too. While that fight scene was frightening (to me!) and ended in the Basilisk's death, that is not the same situation in the Nathaniel Fludd book. No one is seriously harmed, and the Basilisk looks more like a type of dragon. It is captured and returned to its cave for the Dhughani people to watch over.
This series, though very different from Harry Potter, might be a good way to judge if your child is ready for reading that older series. If someone gets scared reading Nathaniel Fludd, it's too soon for Harry Potter.
The most exciting part of The Basilisk's Lair came at the end, when Aunt Phil decided it was time to start on home. I can't wait to read book three, where I hope we'll find out more about what might have happened to Nathaniel's parents, and whether they're still alive.
If you haven't read the first one, don't miss it!
Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist, Book One: Flight of the Phoenix
9780547238654, $16, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt