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Zeus and the Thunderbolt of Doom (Heroes in Training) Paperback – August 7, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
Book 1 of 12 in the Heroes in Training Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 2-4-This funny chapter book retells the story of Zeus, Cronus, and the Olympians. Many kids will already be familiar with Cronus, King of the Titans, who swallows his children so that they might never steal his throne. Zeus, the youngest of the Olympians, is smuggled out to a mountaintop sanctuary, and it is from this haven that he is kidnapped by some hungry, none-too-bright giants. Along their journey to Cronus, Zeus, who has always heard voices foretelling some great destiny, is helped by a number of mythological creatures. The voices and some strange clues he finds along the way lead him to think that the Olympians trapped inside Cronus are the key to his survival, even though he doesn't know the truth about who they are. This is a fun read, casting Zeus in the role of relatable kid, and there is a nice balance between his primary goal of survival and his sense of destiny and adventure. Drawings throughout illustrate particularly dramatic scenes, but for the most part, Zeus and his world are left to readers' imaginations. The story ends with him freeing the Olympians, who he is surprised to find are kids like himself. He agrees to travel with these new friends to find the rest of the Olympians, setting up the future of the series nicely. Share this title, and likely more to come, with those still too young for Percy Jackson's adventures.-Heather Talty, formerly at Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, New York Cityα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

With its tales of heroism and intrigue, Greek mythology provides the perfect fodder for engaging children in literature. Ten-year-old Zeus knows very little about his infancy and his parents, and he certainly cannot explain why he has been struck by lightning innumerable times. When he is kidnapped by Titan giants who eat humans for sport, his true Olympian powers become even harder to explain and control. After he pulls a lightning bolt from a stone, he can no longer deny his immortality, and the hilariously annoying anthropomorphic bolt becomes his sidekick. The tale is narrated by omniscient and clairvoyant Pythia, the Oracle of Delphi, whose blurry vision of the future makes for some fun wordplay. Clearly, there is some profound rewriting of classic Greek tradition in this tale, but in spite of some artistic license, it is a good primer for kids on the major players of mythology and will be equally well received among existing fans of the genre. Frequent black-and-white illustrations offer up general, action-y visual breaks. Grades 3-6. --Erin Anderson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 570L (What's this?)
  • Series: Heroes in Training (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin; Original edition (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442452633
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442452633
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The other reviewers have gone into the plot, so I won't bore you with yet another. I homeschool my son and this year we are studying the ancients. I am always on the lookout for fun fiction for my son to read for each period/area we study. I picked this book up at my local brick and mortar book store (yes, they still exist!) to go along with our studies of Greece. My son is dyslexic and I thought this would be fun and easy enough for him to read on his own. It sat on our desk for a few days when he decided to pick it up and flip through it. He immediately starting reading and was on page 14 before he knew it. I actually had to tell him to put it down so we could start school. He said it was fantastic and he couldn't wait to get back to it. I was so happy I nearly cried. Any book that makes him want to read and actually enjoy it deserves 5 stars in my book. He can't wait for books 2 and 3 to come out.
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Format: Paperback
My son and I read and reviewed this book for Mother Daughter Book Reviews. Here's what we think:


What I liked and disliked about it:

I really liked the story because it was a good adventure. The Harpies were cool but also scary. At first I thought they would take Zeus somewhere bad, but they actually saved him. That was nice.

It was funny how Zeus had a pet thunderbolt that was stuck to his hand. I wish I had a pet thunderbolt. I would pet it like a kitty cat [insert Mom rolling her eyes and saying, "Focus, focus son!"]. It was cute how the goat and bee looked after Zeus and it was different because usually people take care of animals, but here the animals take care of the person.

It was funny how Pythia the Oracle kept pronouncing things wrong and saying the wrong words because her glasses were foggy; like saying "underwear" instead of "underworld" and saying "greasy" instead of "easy" and "Goose" instead of "Zeus". The tiny rock was cute because it had a tiny voice that used Chip Latin - that was funny.

I liked the pictures in the book. One of them was kind of scary - the one of the Harpies carrying Zeus. That would be scary in real life because I'd be scared that they would drop me from so high up.

I didn't like that there were people in Cronus' tummy - it was bad and I was glad that they got rescued. But it was a yucky way to get out.

My bottom line:

I really, really liked this book and I can't wait to read the next book. I would recommend it to boys and girls 9 years and under.


What I liked and disliked:

The writing team of Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams did not disappoint - this book was fantastic!
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Format: Paperback
The mist surrounded Pythia, the Oracle of Delphi. The future whirled before her eyes and she could see a lot of danger. There were the Titans of the Underworld with fat old King Cronus leading them. Pythia could see the the were "out to destroy us all," but she could see something else, someone that just might save them. She could see a special godboy, a hero in the making. What she couldn't see was that King Cronus had YUM, slurped down some Olympian childgods in an attempt to keep them captive.

Poseidon, Hades, Demeter, Hera, and Hestia were anxious to escape, but they could see no way out of Cronus's belly. He had cast a magic spell that keep them forever young. Ten, ten, ten ... there was another mysterious boy who just happened to be ten years old. Zeus had been orphaned when he was a baby and had been raised in a cave by a nymph, a bee, and a goat on the island of Crete. Storms often raged on the island and bolts of lightning frequently struck him. "You are the one," the bolts called to him. What on earth did that mean?

An attack from the sky was one thing, but what about the half-giants that suddenly came upon him? "Stomp! Stomp! Stomp!" Zeus was quickly surrounded by Cronies, half-giants that were even scarier than the lightning bolts. Double Chin, Lion Tattoo, and Blackbeard were going to get him! Melissa was soon on the attack, but there was little a bee could do to stop King Cronus's men. It looked like Double Chin would be a problem. "Fee, fi fo, fun. I smell boy. Gonna eat me one! It sure did look like there were a lot of ten-year-olds who were in trouble. How could any of them get out of the predicaments they found themselves in?

This is a fantastic first in the series about the adventures of young Greek Olympians.
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Format: Paperback
A book for the younger age group, this is an exciting story that introduces kids to the world of Greek mythology. Set at the time when King Cronus, the Titan, has devoured the Olympians we start off with Zeus being an abandoned orphan now 10 years old. The book is pretty much all plot and action concentrating on Zeus and how he acquires his Thunderbolt. He meets up with half-giants, harpies and eventually the Titans themselves. Near the end of the book, fellow 10 year old Hera and Poseidon are introduced as the next quest is given to the threesome which leaves us ready for the next book. While taking many liberties with Greek mythology the basics are there and this book for the youngest readers could open up an interest in the topic for those not ready yet for such books as the Percy Jackson series. A fun story, very much action oriented.
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