Monday, July 11, 2011

DCF number three

This evening I finished Stuart Gibbs' first novel, Belly Up. This book was surprisingly well written for a maiden novelist. Gibbs is obviously in his element as a writer, and particularly when writing about zoos and animals. The storyline is quick-paced, and the main character, Teddy, is a bright and lovable boy who has had an enviable life with globetrotting parents. Teddy inadvertently gets involved in investigating the murder of the hippo mascot of the zoo he lives at with his parents. The adults in the novel seem unable or unwilling to help, but at least one if them is willing to do anything to stop Teddy from finding out the truth. He finds himself in grave danger on several occassions. Teddy's mother tries to discourage him from investigating the murder. She points out on page 139, "This is different, Theodore. I knew you could handle yourself in Africa because animals aren't really that dangerous... But humans are different... What you've gotten yourself into isn't a game. This is dangerous and you need to behave accordingly." I strongly encourage my students to read this novel. It is great for both animal lovers and mystery fans.

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