At least it is here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE because I have two enticing new books from NGK to tell you about. First up is ZEUS THE MIGHTY—The Trials of Hairy-Clees, the third book in this fiction series.

I had not read the first two stories: The Quest for the Golden Fleas or The Maze of the Menacing Minotaur. Thanks to the two-page spread in the front that introduces the background of each character, I had no problem jumping in at Book 3.

Welcome to Mount Olympus, a pet supply and rescue center that sits high on a hill in Athens, Georgia. The overconfident hamster Zeus, wise cat Athena, and other rescued pets live there under the watchful eye of their caretaker, Artie, who’s obsessed with Greek mythology. The pets overhear her favorite podcast, Greeking Out, and now believe themselves to be the actual megastars of mythology!  Book 3 begins with a challenge: The Trials of Hairy-Clees are only for the bravest and most awesome gods of all. Who among them will become the ultimate champion? The pets of Mount Olympus Pet Center are a true team: They conquer epic quests as easily as Ares the pug scarfs down Mutt Nuggets and they vanquish enemies who are pricklier than the spines on Poseidon the pufferfish. But when a chicken named Hermes shows up one day, things take a turn, and before the team knows it, the Oracle has spoken and the mysterious Trials of Hairy-Clees begin! Who will become top god? And can Zeus learn to share the limelight to fight alongside Hermes?

If you love Greek Mythology this one is for you. The 32 chapters are a quick read and include many fun illustrations depicting the action going on in each scene. Humorous dialog can be found throughout. Although Zeus is in charge (sort of), I’d have to go with Hermes the chicken as my favorite character. Her brave, never give up attitude won me over.

A bonus comes in the back pages devoted to THE TRUTH BEHIND THE FICTION, MEET THE OLYMPIANS (brief bio of each of the 12 original Olympians the Greeks admired), THE MYTH OF HERACLES, and a sneak preview of Book 4, THE EPIC ESCAPE FROM THE UNDERGROUND due out next year.


In September I took part in the blog tour for THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF AFRICAN ANIMALS and today I can give you a few more details about what’s inside.

Eight-time Emmy award-winning filmmakers, Beverly and Derek Joubert, have assembled a stunning compilation of photos and facts about African animals. The eight chapters guide you on a journey like none other:


My first time through this gift worthy volume was just a look at the pictures. A few had me gasping out loud, especially the ones in a two page spread entitled MOMENT OF AWWW!! We’ve all seen photos of these beautiful creatures before but none quite like these depicting them in natural habitats while engaging in their normal behavior.

Next I went back and read the text. The information provided was clear and concise. I especially enjoyed each chapter’s JOURNEY WITH THE JOUBERTS as they detail their personal experiences and close encounters with wildlife. The book comes to a perfect end with what we can do to help these species stay around for generations to come.

With the holidays shining brightly ahead, you can’t go wrong with wrapping this up for the animal loving individual in your life. THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF AFRICAN ANIMALS truly is the ultimate gift.


(I received a copy of both books to use in my feature today)

Blogging about middle grade books or authors next week? Join the celebration.

Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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  1. Always love your National Geographic shares! I love that they’ve taken on Greek Mythology in a kid-friendly manner. Love the idea of a rescue center. What a hoot. And, my greats would enjoy the African animals. Obsessed with cheetahs, elephants etc.

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