Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Series Review

By DJD

One book series I have always enjoyed reading is Percy Jackson and the Olympians, or PJO for short, written by Rick Riordan. It has a simple premise: Greek Mythology is alive and well, and roaming through New York City and elsewhere on a day-to-day basis. But as the books continue, you realize that this series is much deeper and more intriguing than it seems at first glance.

Book 1: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (2005)

This is the first book in the series, and acts as an introduction to the world of modern Demigods, a.k.a. The “Riordanverse”. We start by meeting the main character, Percy Jackson, and are shortly introduced to multiple characters, such as Grover Underwood, Percy’s best friend, Mr. Brunner, the ‘cool’ history teacher at Yancy Academy, the school Percy goes to, and Nancy Bobofit, the class bully.

As the first chapters continue, we listen to a recounting of who, exactly, Percy Jackson believes he is. However, weird things start happening on a class field trip, and Percy starts to think about all the strange things that have happened to him throughout his life. And on the way back to his apartment at the end of the year, he sees something… strange. Something he can’t quite understand.

As the story goes on, we meet a plethora of characters: Sally Jackson, Percy’s mother, Gabe Ugliano, (yes that’s his real name) his jerk step-father, Annabeth Chase, a blond-haired brainiac daughter of Athena, and many more. Identities are revealed, such as Grover being a Satyr, and monsters are fought. An oracle gives a mysterious quest, three are chosen, and a crazy adventure ensues. At the end of the day(er, book), everything ends out ok… or does it…

Book 2: The Sea of Monsters (2006)

This book starts off with a foreboding dream of Grover, Percy’s best friend, running from something, muttering about how he needs to warn them about something. After a chase, Percy wakes with a start. His mom calls him out of bed for his last day of school, and after a breakfast of blue eggs and waffles, he goes down to class. Here we meet Tyson, a homeless kid whom Percy and his Mom have a soft spot for, Matt Sloan, the school bully at Merriweather academy, and a few others.

After a monster attack during PE, with Annabeth showing up and, along with Tyson and Percy, taking out the monsters, they hitch a ride to Camp Half-Blood on the Chariot of Damnation and discover that not all is going well at Camp. A poisoned pine tree, a careless new head counselor, and many other things, and Percy, Annabeth, and Tyson have to sneak onto a monster-infested cruise ship to find Grover, the Golden Fleece, and, most importantly, the answers to what is happening around them.

As the book continues, we see the questers defeat countless monsters and win the day! However, at the end of the book, something happens. Something… strange.

Book 3: The Titan’s Curse (2007)

A few months after SOM, we see Percy, Annabeth, and Thalia Grace, daughter of Zeus, head to a military school where Grover has found two new demigods: Nico and Bianca di Angelo, children of Hades.

After a surprise encounter with a Manticore ending with Annabeth getting kidnapped, the gang is saved by Artemis, goddess of the Hunt. Bianca becomes a hunter and they get a ride to camp in Apollo’s Maserati/Magic School Bus/Sun Chariot. Once there, they get a Prophecy from the Oracle while playing Capture-the-Flag, and leave on a quest with the team of 5 being Percy, Grover, Bianca, Thalia, and Zoë Nightshade.

Along the way to save Annabeth and Artemis, who was also kidnapped a bit after Annabeth, they encounter living skeletons, (the human and kitty cat kind) monsters of all shapes and sizes, gods and goddesses, and much more. Once they find Annabeth, they fight an intense battle, with Percy having to hold up the sky, Luke Castellean (who’s evil btw) making an appearance and going hand-to-hand combat, knife on sword, and Zoё being tragically killed by her own father, the Titan Atlas, when defending Artemis, her leader. The battle seems to be taking a turn for the worse, however, when hundreds of monsters march up from Luke’s cruise ship. Hope seems lost, when… Well, you’ll have to read the book to see what happens! 

Book 4: Battle of the Labyrinth (2008)

In this book, we start with Percy going to see a new school he’s going to- Goode High School, where Sally Jackson’s boyfriend(and Percy’s future step-dad), Paul Blofis, works as a teacher. However, it wasn’t meant to be, as Percy gets ambushed by two Empousa, the entire band room at Goode explodes in flame, with Percy fleeing to Camp Half-Blood. When there, they meet Quintus, the new combat instructor, and Mrs. O’Leary, his tamed Hellhound.

After introducing himself to the duo, Percy heads to lunch. Afterwards, before Capture-the-Flag, Annabeth and Grover show up at his cabin, and they discuss what they need to do: Plan a quest into the Labyrinth. After a near-fatal game of CtF, they receive a prophecy from the Oracle and set off in a group of 4: Percy, Annabeth, Grover, and Tyson. They meet gods, monsters, and demigods, face tough trials, and traverse the confusing territory of the labyrinth.

Some of the challenges faced are as follows: Percy facing the 3-bodied rancher, Geryon, in battle, Annabeth facing a Sphinx in a duel of intellect, Grover and Tyson tracking down Pan, god of the Wild, and Percy taking on a near-immortal gladiator in an arena of earth, and the gang + Nico di Angelo and Quintus, now revealed to be Daedalus, taking on a whole horde of monsters in the center of the Labyrinth.

They see Luke taken over by Kronos and almost kill Percy (it’s ok though Rachel Elizabeth Dare [a mortal who can see through the Mist] hits Kronos in the eye with a hairbrush), and Percy almost dies again after exploding Mt. Saint Helens to kill the Telkhines trying to kill him and let Annabeth get away, and ends up releasing Typhon, a massive giant that can destroy the gods. At the end of the book, Daedalus sacrifices himself to destroy the Labyrinth, and the majority of Kronos’s forces along with it.

 Book 5: The Last Olympian (2010)

The final book in the series, the finale of this quintuplet of books, The Last Olympian is a fast-paced, incredible last book for this series. It has all our favorite characters in a group of battles to the finish, with events such as Percy taking a dip in the River Styx to give him immortality, Charles Beckendorf, son of Hephestus, sacrificing himself to destroy the Princess Andromeda, Kronos’s main attack force, in a fiery explosion, Percy going blade-to-blade in a battle against Hyperion, Titan of light, and weakening him enough that the Satyrs could turn him into a massive oak tree in Central Park, Silena Beauregard and Clarisse La Rue, daughters of Aphrodite and Ares respectively taking on the drakon that Kronos released on Manhattan and killing it, and Annabeth going hand-to-hand, scythe-on-knife against Kronos himself, and Luke making the bravest choice of using Annabeth’s knife to kill himself, effectively killing Kronos as well, and saving the world with one choice. 

In conclusion, this series is amazing, and you should really read it. Rick Riordan is still putting out books today, with his most recent series, Trials of Apollo, finished up last fall. (I would recommend reading this series before that one, though.) Other series I recommend for kids my age (12+) are:

(Dates are when the first book was released)

Thank you for reading!

Percy Jackson Paperback Book Set

Best Educational Box Subscriptions for Homeschool

For an easy way to make learning fun, you can choose from so many educational box subscriptions that are perfect for adding into your homeschool activities. Many of the boxes provide everything you need for the activities inside, and some require a minimal purchase. Here are some of our favorite educational box subscriptions. **Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

Best Educational Box Subscriptions for Homeschool

BookRoo – BookRoo is a box subscription that sends new books to your door every month. This is a perfect was to grow your home library and read new books with your kids. The nice thing about BookRoo is that the books are chosen by someone else so it introduces kids to books they may not have chosen themselves. Subscriptions are appropriate for ages 0-10, with three options: board books, picture books, or chapter books.

Raddish – Raddish Kids is a children’s cooking subscription box that delivers kid-friendly recipes to your door every month. Inside the box you get a new kitchen tool and three recipe cards with step by step instructions to guide kids through the steps of preparing the meal. The recipe cards include the featured culinary skill such as chopping, peeling eggs, or using a box grater, as well as suggested ways to modify the recipe and an educational element that touches on math, science, or language. You have to get the ingredients yourself but the box includes a pre-printed shopping list for each recipe, a set of table talk cards to get the family talking over dinner, and an activity to complete related to the box theme. Raddish subscribers can also log on to the website and download lesson plans, playlists, free bonus recipes, and substitutions for food allergies and sensitivities.

Kiwi Crate – What started out as Kiwi Crate has now expanded and become five different boxes that are appropriate for different age groups that provide hands-on learning and experience-based play with an emphasis on science, art, and exploration. The Cricket Crate is for age 0-2 and includes activities to engage in pretend play and strengthen fine motor skills. Koala Crate (ages 3-4) includes activities and engaging stories to support inquiry based learning. Kiwi Crate (ages 5-8) inspires kids to be innovative and creative and includes science-based activities to build and crafts to complete. Doodle Crate (ages 9-16+) includes hand-on creativity based projects that teach art and design techniques like candlemaking and inkwash painting. Tinker Crate (ages 9-16+) includes STEAM-based projects that teach scientific concepts like building a trebuchet, a hydraulic claw, and fiber optic stars.

Little Passports – Little Passports is a subscription box for kids that teaches about culture, geography, science, and the world around us. Each month kids will explore a new theme or destination on their global adventure with Little Passports. There are now four subscription options available. Early Explorers (ages 3-5) takes kids on an adventure to learn about a new world theme like dinosaurs or the ocean. World Edition (6-10) uses souvenirs and hands-on activities to introduce kids to a new country every month. USA Edition (ages 7-10) teaches kids about two new states every month with state journals filled with activities. Science Expeditions (ages 9+) teaches science concepts through hands-on activities and science experiments.

GroovyLab -Groovy Lab In A Box is a science themed subscription box ideal for ages 8 and up and includes hands-on activities to teach kids about science, technology, engineering, and math. Children will learn about scientific inquiry and the engineering design process, which will help them create amazing inventions and improve critical problem solving skills all while having fun. Past Groovy Lab boxes have included projects like building and launching a rocket, making an ice lantern, and making an electric dance pad.

Magic School Bus Science Club – The Young Scientists Club presents the Magic School Bus science club with a selection of box kits that teach science concepts explored in the Magic School Bus books and television shows through hands on science experiments. The boxes include everything you need to perform multiple experiments, plus you receive a log to write down you observations and results. Young scientists will learn about a variety of things like acids and bases, fossils, magnets, and the human body.

Do you have a favorite subscription box that you use for your learning adventures? Share it with us!

 

Nonfiction Activity Page: Kaluga Sturgeon

Nonfiction Activity Page

I teach language arts at home and I bounce around between topics so my kids don’t get bored doing the same activity. We use the LifePac language arts workbooks from Alpha Omega as our foundation. This way we always have something we can open and go to. But workbooks can be dry and repetitive when you do them everyday. So I like to change it up by adding my own activities now and then.

We have journals that we use for different things. My first grader chooses something to learn about (usually an animal) and she draws a picture and writes two to three sentences about what she learned. She can read and write on her own but still needs help with spelling, so she tells me what she wants to write, I write it down on a small dry erase white board, and she copies it into her writing journal. My fourth grader uses his to write short stories or keep notes that he wants to remember and come back to later. He copied down all the roman numerals in his so now he comes back to it every time he needs to refer to it for his math assignments.

I also make my own worksheets. I try to make them interesting, about something they wouldn’t generally learn about in a textbook or frame it in a fun way. The worksheet I’m sharing here is about the Kaluga Sturgeon, an ancient fish that is endangered because it is frequently caught and used for caviar. I highlight and define new vocabulary words directly in the worksheet and include a few questions about the main idea, details, and text features. Download your copy below. Enjoy!

Kaluga Sturgeon_With Questions_BookwormHomeschool