How do I know that Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief is a good book? Here's how:
The other day my son was home sick with an ear infection (he's fine now). Even when he's sick, he normally never stops moving around, playing sports, doing his usual stuff.
However, on this day he sat in his bed for four and a half hours reading Percy Jackson. All of it. More than 200 pages.
He didn't even stop for lunch - I had to give him a sandwich in bed.
OK, so the ear infection played a part. But I think it was mostly this book that stopped my son in his tracks and kept him reading for the whole day.
I'm reading the book now, before we all go to see the movie. I think it's appealing to certain kids because it's a very fast read and it has tons of action. Even before you find out Percy is half Greek god, there's lots of physical stuff happening.
If your child has ADHD, this book has an added bonus. Percy Jackson and the other half-blood kid protagonists in the book have all been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and/or learning disabilities. Then, of course, we find out that they're all heroes. If your child has been similarly diagnosed, this book may help to boost his self-esteem and help him see his potential. Well, not to become a Greek god (I hope) - but you know what I mean.
The book is a bit easier to read than I thought it would be. It might be good for older kids who are somewhat reluctant readers. The content is more mature (fights, battles, general mayhem) but with the exception of the Greek words and names of the gods, the vocabulary is fairly light.
I have an idea for the author, however. In the back of each book, include a pronunciation guide for the names of the Greek characters. I thought that my son was getting a bit of an education on Greek mythology--and he is--until he said some of the names aloud and I realized that he's pronouncing them in his head very differently from the way they're normally pronounced. For instance, "Chiron" as "Cheer-on" rather than "Ky-ron." Don't worry, I set 'im straight.
Until the author takes me up on my fantastic idea, here's an online pronunciation guide to Greek mythology.
Here's a link to the Percy Jackson website.