Monday, August 29, 2011

The Secret Zoo by Bryan Chick

When Megan sees some escaped zoo animals, she runs to tell her older brother, Noah. But by the time he gets to where she saw them they are gone. He doesn't believe her and thinks she was seeing things.

A couple weeks later Megan disappears and the family is devastated. When an exotic bird from the nearby zoo flies into Noah's bedroom leaving him part of Megan's journal, Noah begins his own investigation into his missing sister. With the help of some highly intelligent animals he and his friends, Ella and Richie, discover the Secret Zoo, a place where extinct animals are hidden before they disappear on earth. It is in the Secret Zoo that Noah finds Megan has been captured by some evil creatures and he and his friends must try and rescue her.

The author does a great job with creating tension and the writing is descriptive. The characters are distinct with Richie being odd and Ella as an in-your-face kind of gal. The plot is clumsy in spots and not all the questions are answered. Perhaps they will in the sequel. The reader doesn't know why the Shadow guy has turned evil or what the kids tell their parents at the end. Also, the beginning starts from Megan's point of view and she's writing in her bedroom and then the story shifts to some frog's points of view. I remember reading it and going, huh? The end of the novel makes it clear what the author was hinting at but it was an awkward passage that jumped too much in time. I think it would have helped with a chapter on Megan doing some investigation on her own into the escaped animals. The story then shifts to Noah's point of view and is fine.

Readers should know that a child goes missing, a monster gets killed, the kids lives are in danger many times, and some of the animals have the same intelligence as humans. Nice pacing and tension. I can see why it is popular with the students in the Lower School Library.

Reading Level: 4.7

:-) :-) :-) 3 out of 5 Smileys


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