Billed as a manual for newbies entering Camp Half-Blood, this miscellany of all things Percy Jackson may satisfy readers eagerly awaiting the final installment in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, due in May. Three previously unpublished stories in which the son of Poseidon narrowly escapes death while cracking jokes read like scenes cut from previous novels--which is a compliment. Spliced between stories two and three are brief, comic "interviews" with Grover, Clarissa and other campers. Bland illustrations depicting the contents of Annabeth's trunk, a map of Camp Half-Blood and a short "sneak peek" at The Last Olympian pad the contents (barely) to book length; the inclusion of a crossword puzzle and a word search makes the book difficult to share. Not a must-read--but try telling that to rabid fans. Ages 10-up. (Feb.)[Page 119]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Gr 5-9--This slim volume is clearly intended as a stop-gap product to tide eager readers over until the final volume of the series is released. In addition to three previously unreleased short stories about Percy and his companions, it also includes such filler as interviews with the same, along with word games, portraits of some of the Gods and their half-blood offspring, and the inevitable sneak preview of Book 5. The short stories are the meat of this book, and are filled with Riordan's trademark anachronistic humor. The first one puts Percy and his enemy Clarisse, the daughter of Ares, on the same team as she tries to retrieve her father's chariot, which has been hijacked as a prank by her two immortal brothers. The second story relates an incident that occurred during one of Camp Half-Blood's infamous Capture the Flag games, when Charlie Beckendorf, the camp counselor for Hephaestus, is captured by a horde of giant, poisonous ants, and has to be rescued with the help of a mechanical dragon. The final story brings Percy, Thalia, and Nico, the son of Hades, together at the request of Persephone to help retrieve Hades's stolen sword, the loss of which could be deadly to the Gods, and the resolution of which forms a lead-up to the probable events of Book 5. Despite the fact that this is more of a marketing package than anything else, the quality of and interest in the three stories likely justifies its purchase.--Tim Wadham, St. Louis County Library, MO[Page 117]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.