Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X: 1

Author:  James Patterson
Illustrator: Juliana Neufeld
Published:  2008

Mikey told me that since I made him read The Giver, I had to read The Dangerous Days of Daniel X or what we call it at our home:  Daniel X.  "Ugh," I thought. "Isn't that by that guy who does the goofy middle school book commercials on t.v.?"  "Yes, it is."  I started reading the book and I thought that would be enough.  I could sneak in a game of Words With Friends and he would still think I was reading.  After a while I started feeling guilty.  I broke down and read the book.

I learned a few things.  Number one:  there is a part two to this book and I do intend on reading it.  The first book was fun to read.  Just up my alley - science fiction, triumph of the good over the evil, triumph over adversity, and lots of good alien butt-kicking.  Number two:  this one is a bit deeper, I think I've discovered that I mostly enjoy reading books written in the first person.  Is that normal?  I think it's that I like knowing what the person thinks.  I feel like I form a relationship with the characters.  (I remember reading the Harry Potter books years ago and thinking that I needed to get the house ready for Christmas.  I got so into the book, I blew off getting ready.  I could just pull out my wand and set everything up!  I'll write about that another time.)

I didn't get as wrapped up in this book as I did in the Harry Potter books, but it was fun.  My son kept asking me, "What part are you on?"  "Did you get to the part...?"  I think the most fun is having book discussions with my kids.

This book is about a boy, Daniel, who is an Alien Hunter.  He doesn't know much about his past because his parents were killed by an alien when he was 3.  Luckily, Daniel and his family were aliens too, but they are good aliens who are trying to save Earth from the  Outer Ones.  Here is how one of the aliens he battles is described, "part man, part jellyfish, part chain saw."  Yes, this book is not deep, but what elementary or middle school boy is not going to love that?

Daniel has special powers that help him battle the aliens.  He is trying to destroy a list of aliens his parents had compiled before they died.  The number one alien is Prayer, he is the one who killed his mom, his dad, and his unborn sister, Pork Chop.  He is learning about his strengths and is currently in pursuit of the number 6 alien, Ergent Seth.  Ergent Seth can change his look, but when he is in his alien form, he has a horse head and a big claw.  His purpose is to depopulate Earth and he kidnaps children for child labor on his spaceship, slavery, and even to use them as pets.

Ergent Seth is able to deceive Daniel and kidnap him.  He actually takes Daniel back to Daniel's original planet where he gets to meet his extended family and Ergent Seth finally meets his match!  I don't want to give it away.  As you can tell, I like things that are a bit gross and I can tell you the death of Seth is gross, but actually funny.

If you have free time, this book definitely beats out any romance book you might want to read on the beach this summer.  It was fun to read and there is nothing really earth-shaking - except for Seth's death.  I will read the next one and discuss it with Mikey.  I know he wants to read it.

I will have this book in my class for my students.  I have to say, this book wouldn't be for all of my students.  I definitely need to pick and choose who would be exposed to this.  I don't think there is anything wrong in the book and it's not even overly scary.  I have kids who read The Hunger Games, this is child's play compared to that.  I do, however, have some immature ( I don't mean that meanly) children who might be scared just because they are too young.  This will be for my more mature readers who complain that they do not have anything good to read.  The descriptions are enjoyable and the pictures of the aliens that I imagine make me want to learn:  What will Daniel X face next!?!

Check this out from your library!
James Patterson's Official Website

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