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|Zoo at the Edge of the World|
Author: Gale, Eric Kahn
Marlin, a stutterer, can talk smoothly and freely with the jungle animals that populate his father's zoo in South America--until a mysterious man-eating black jaguar that his father catches and brings back home talks back.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.80
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 168167
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.20
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 64361
Kirkus Reviews (08/15/14)
School Library Journal (07/01/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/10/14)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 07/01/2014 Marlin’s father, the conqueror and protector of the jungle, built a spectacular zoo on an ancient ruin in Guyana where wealthy people from all over the world come to visit. Marlin is happy to live there, but his stutter keeps him from feeling loved, particularly by his cruel and vindictive older brother. That all changes when his father brings back a man-eating jaguar, who magically gives Marlin the ability to speak with animals. Suddenly, Marlin is solving problems all over the zoo, but he also begins to uncover uncomfortable truths about animals in captivity and the troubling way his father maintains his reputation. When Marlin learns of his father’s greedy plans, he takes it upon himself to become the jungle’s true protector. Gale’s story seems to take place at the turn of the twentieth century, though Marlin’s vocabulary more often sounds contemporary. That’s a quibble, though, since the appeal is clearly not historical accuracy but rather the exotic setting, the playful banter of the animals, and Marlin’s stalwart bravery in the face of sometimes-scary danger. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 07/01/2014 Gr 3–6—Marlin, the second son of the owner of the exotic Zoo at the Edge of the World in Guiana, struggles with stuttering. But communication isn't Marlin's biggest hurdle. Following the capture of a black jaguar that has been blamed for the recent death of a zoo employee, Marlin receives a lick from the jaguar that not only heals a flesh wound but also gives him the power to understand and speak to animals. When Marlin's father announces that guests of the zoo will have the chance to watch the jaguar battle three apes to the death, the boy makes a bold move to stop the fight, putting himself, his family, the zoo's guests, and the animals in danger. The aftermath reveals that Marlin's father had been keeping important facts secret about the zoo and the jaguar, and Marlin again finds himeself facing a high-stakes choice. Well-paced action, a complex—but not too complicated—plot, healthy doses of suspense, and a wild, well-developed cast of characters (human and animal) make this an enjoyable page-turner.—Amanda Struckmeyer, Middleton Public Library, Madison, WI - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.