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Author: Gibbs, Stuart
#1--Twelve-year-old Teddy investigates when a popular Texas zoo's star attraction--Henry the hippopotamus--is murdered.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.60
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 137835
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 5.40
Points: 15.0 Quiz: 48693
Common Core Standards
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Craft & Structure
Kirkus Reviews (04/15/10)
School Library Journal (05/01/10)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (06/10)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 05/01/2010 Henry the hippo is dead. Yes, the signature denizen of America’s newest and largest zoo has been found belly up in his highly, uh, unsanitary habitat (hippos are extraordinarily regular in their habits, so to speak). But there’s worse to come when 12-year-old Teddy begins to suspect it’s murder most foul and—in the fine tradition of mysteries for youth—sets out to solve the crime by himself. Well, he does have some help from beautiful Summer, the 13-year-old daughter of the zoo’s fantastically wealthy owner. Who could have dunnit? Large Marge, the surly security guard who has a cold spot in her heart for Teddy? Charlie Connor, the midget clown who’s hated Henry ever since the testy hippo took a bite out of him? Or could it be a guerrilla act perpetrated by the anti-zoo Animal Liberation Front? First-novelist Gibbs offers no shortage of suspects in his fast-paced story, which deftly mixes humor and suspense. Cleverly plotted—aside from one hippo-sized deus ex machina moment—this book is an auspicious debut that will leave readers clamoring for more. - Copyright 2010 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 05/01/2010 Gr 5–8— Teddy Fitzroy, 12, yearns for a little excitement at FunJungle, an animal theme park in Texas where his parents work. When star attraction Henry the Hippo dies under mysterious circumstances, Teddy is convinced that it was murder. Colorful suspects abound, from Large Marge, the security guard, all the way up to J.J. McCracken himself, billionaire owner of FunJungle. Teddy teams up with J.J.'s daughter to ferret out the culprit even as animal-related accidents begin to threaten his safety. A decomposing hippo disaster denouement will fill young minds with equal amounts of horror and glee. Dense with animal trivia, Belly Up will suit attentive readers who love mystery and random facts. Teddy's first-person narration allows readers to solve the mystery along with him, but his voice is oddly adult. The content and expression of his thoughts emerge as extraordinarily calm and rational, far from the typical preteen sensibility. His dialogue sounds much more realistic. Gibbs handles issues of animal welfare in a fair way without being preachy, and his motley cast of characters holds its own with quirky personalities and memorable details. Overall, this first novel brings together suspense, wild chase scenes, and enough character development to hold children's attention, despite a few incongruities. Hand it to fans of Gordon Korman's Swindle (Scholastic) and Jody Feldman's The Gollywhopper Games (HarperCollins, both 2008).—Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT - Copyright 2010 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 06/01/2010 Something is rotten in FunJungle, the huge Texas park that’s a cross between Disneyland and the San Diego Zoo, and it’s up to twelve-year-old Teddy, the son of the park’s primate specialist, to figure out what it is. The problem starts with the death of Henry, the foul-tempered hippo who’s the park’s mascot, and who turns out to have been deliberately killed. Teaming up with Summer, the daughter of the park’s owner, Teddy investigates the crime and stumbles into what looks like a conspiracy-but can he solve it before Henry’s killers come after him? Promotional copy connects Gibbs to Carl Hiaasen, and there’s definitely something of Hiaasen’s easygoing, direct style and ecology-related theme here. Even more than Hiaasen’s work, though, this is steeped in old-fashioned adventure, starring a kid with enviable freedom and opportunity, who’s tangling with classic crime (smuggling of emeralds!) and who’s backed by two strong, protective parents. The setting is key, and Gibbs draws a vivid picture of FunJungle, a kajillionaire’s pet project that’s torn between gate-turning revenue and animal-preservation respectability. Teddy’s free-range access to myriad animal enclosures is an alluring fantasy, which the book firmly supports with clear-eyed information about animal behavior and zookeeping logistics. Touches of humor provide additional enjoyment, with many readers likely to find the high and low point simultaneously in the high-speed splatter of a long-rotting hippo carcass. Smart, unironic, and confidently bereft of cool, this is a solidly enjoyable action mystery, a useful complement to Anderson’s satirical Thrilling Tales titles (Whales on Stilts, BCCB 4/05, etc.). DS - Copyright 2010 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.