Flight of the Phoenix (Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist, Book One)

Written By: R.L. LaFevers

Illustrated By: Kelly Murphy

For parents of independent readers, we provide a set of questions that should give you insight into what your child is reading and help you engage him/her in meaningful conversations about literature. We recommend using the questions provided here as a springboard for deeper conversation about Flight of the Phoenix and what your child takes away from the book. Enjoy! 



When Nate discovers that his parents have been lost at sea, he is sent to live with a distant cousin, who just happens to be the last remaining beastologist in the world. Nate finds himself in a world full of mythical creatures and beasts that he didn’t even know existed and before he can settle in to his new home, he and Aunt Phil go on a journey to witness the world’s only phoenix lay its egg. Things take a turn for the worst  when Nate is left with the task of rescuing his aunt from a tribe of Bedouins, while also being entrusted with the precious phoenix egg. This adventure-packed story is sure to keep your child entertained while imagining the existence of gremlins, dodo birds and other fantastical creatures!

Discussion Questions

  1. Before leaving to live with Aunt Phil, what was Nate’s life like? From the little time that we see Miss Lumpton interacting with Nate, how do you think she feels about him? What is it about her behavior that makes you think this?
  2. Nate’s first encounter with the mythical world is when he meets Cornelius, the dodo bird (on page 16). How does he react? How would you describe Cornelius?
  3. Nate and Aunt Phil must travel to Arabia to oversee the birth of a phoenix egg. What is the significance of this event? What are some characteristics of a phoenix as described in the story? Why do you think the phoenix entrusted Nate with the egg?
  4. Nate decided to bargain with the Bedouins by offering the egg in exchange for Aunt Phil. Do you think he made the right decision? Why or why not?
  5. Are there any words or creatures that you don’t know in the story? R.L. LaFevers includes “Nathaniel Fludd’s Guide to People, Places, and Things” on page 136, so keep an eye out for unfamiliar creatures or places and refer to this section when you want to know more.
  6. The reason that Nate’s parents didn’t take him with them when they first moved away was because he was too young and hadn’t developed a love for adventure. How has Nate changed from his adventure in the story? What part of his adventure do you think demonstrated the most courage?
  7. This book is the first in a series of books by LaFevers. What clues in this story hint at the adventures to be had in the next installment?
  8. Arabia is a real geographic location that is a peninsula of Southwest Asia, including countries such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates. Check out this website about Arabian Peninsula Wildlife for more information on the real animals that inhabit this region.

Above all, be sure to engage your child in a discussion about the plot line and his/her thoughts and feelings about the book. Ask what s/he likes, encourage exploration related to the book, and every now and again, offer to read parts of the book aloud, just for fun!