05. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Mystery · Tags:

Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs, 240 pages, read by Angie, on 03/03/2012

Henry the Hippo has gone belly up and Teddy decides that it is his mission to find out who exactly killed him. Henry is the mascot for FunJungle the zoo theme park where Teddy and his family live. It is supposed to be the perfect Zoo, but why did someone kill Henry and why are the adults trying to cover it up? Teddy and his friend Summer set about to investigate. There are chases through the zoo, suspicious characters, animals on the loose, smuggled emeralds, and other shenanigans.

This is a fun mystery that I think kids will enjoy. Teddy and Summer are smart and interesting. They think for themselves and they solve the mystery when the adults can’t. My only compliant about the book is the numerous environmental/conservation/animal education passages/messages in the book. They are sometimes rather long and they break up the flow of the plot. Most of it is good information and the message is good, but it is just this side of preachy and hitting you over the head. I wish it had been worked into the story a little more successfully. I get what the author was trying to do, but the execution didn’t always work. Wasn’t totally unsuccessful, but bordering on MESSAGE book at times. Aside from that I liked it and I think kids will too. I am not even sure they will notice the other stuff as much; they may just pay attention to the main plot of the book.

This is a 2012-13 Missouri Mark Twain Award Nominee.

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