Monday, June 6, 2011

The Secret Zoo by Bryan Chick

Book Jacket

Something strange is happening at the Clarksville City Zoo.  Late at night, monkeys are scaling the walls and searching the neighborhood--but what are they looking for?

Noah, his sister Megan, and their best friends, Richie and Ella, live next door to the zoo.  Megan is the first to notice the puzzling behavior of some of the animals.  One day Megan disappears, and her brother and their friends realize it's up to them to find her.  Their only choice is to follow a series of clues and sneak into the zoo.  But once inside, will they discover there's much more to the Clarksville City Zoo than they could ever have guessed?


Animals, secrets, and siblings?  I should have loved this book.  Alas, I did not.

The problem, I think, is that it takes so long for anything to happen.  There are too many secret notes passed by animals.  The chapters are often too short, and instead of making the end of each into a cliffhanger, it simply feels like the end of a paragraph.  End of chapter cliffhangers only work in moderation!

Once the backstory was revealed and the adventure really began, I was slightly more interested.  The City of Species seems like a genuinely awesome place.  But the real problem is this:  The so-called Action Scouts take little action.  Mostly the animals or the muscley men do the fighting and the explaining.  Noah, Megan, Ella, and Richie just kind of tag along and wait for someone else to save them.  I couldn't understand in the slightest why they were supposed to be special.

The mythology was introduced too late to really be gripping, and regardless, it doesn't seem to be well-thought out.  To explain away Megan's absense, we are told the kids have a plan, if only they can make it work....and then we jump to a future point when everything is okay, so....I guess it worked?  I want to see it! 

Poor show.  I was disappointed.

Two out of five flying penguins.

Release Date:  June 2010
Reading Level:  Grade 3+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection:  J CHI

No comments:

Post a Comment