Thumbs Up for “Belly Up”

February 24th, 2011 by

belly-up-stuart-gibbs-book-reviewLast week, I announced the big winner of the Cybils Award for middle grade fiction. But there were LOTS of great books in the running, and another finalist that I really enjoyed was Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs.

You know, over the years I never said to myself, “Gee, I could really go for a murder mystery set at a zoo. Oh, and the victim should be a grumpy hippo!” But now that I’ve ready Belly Up, I realize it’s been a hole in my life that I didn’t even know existed!

The hippo in question is Henry, the mascot of FunJungle, a spectacular new zoo where Teddy and his parents live (his parents work for the zoo). When Henry turns up dead, Teddy suspects foul play — and his investigations bring him into contact with the zoo’s short-tempered head vet, the zoo owner’s celebutante daughter, and quite a bit of danger.

You also get an insider’s access to the operations of a gigantic zoo/theme park, which I loved. Teddy pretty much gets free rein of the park (and sometimes sneaks into spots if he doesn’t), so following his adventures was like getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the place — but with a possible hippo killer on the loose!

Added bonus: If you’ve been suffering through an especially windy and snowy winter like most of the country, then this book makes for a great getaway to sunny Texas!

— Karen

Karen spent a summer in San Diego when she was eight, and she went to their famous zoo quite a lot. Her favorite memory? Eating ice cream in a waffle cone for the first time!

More about Karen »

2 Responses

  • Hahaha me writes:
    February 24th, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Wow, I never knew a book like that existed! I’ll try to check it out. The last time I was at a zoo (technically it was an “animal park”), I saw birds and bears and lionesses and moose but not any hippos. But I don’t think hippos appear that often in Maine, anyway. 🙂

  • morninglightmama writes:
    March 9th, 2011 at 12:45 am

    When Jennifer reviewed this on 5M4B, she was gushing with praise. I definitely have to get this from the library already!
    -Dawn, 5M4B

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