The Secret Zoo (Book #1)

by Bryan Chick

Paperback, 2010



Local notes

PB Chi





Greenwillow Books (2010), Edition: Reprint, 320 pages


Juvenile Fiction. Juvenile Literature. Mystery. HTML: A fast-paced and exciting read for middle grade fantasy, mystery, and animal buffs. Something strange is happening at the Clarksville City Zoo. Late at night, monkeys are scaling the walls and searching the neighborhoodâ??but what are they looking for? Noah, his sister Megan, and their best friends, Richie and Ella, live next door to the zoo. Megan is the first to notice the puzzling behavior of some of the animals. One day Megan disappears, and her brother and their friends realize it's up to them to find her. Their only choice is to follow a series of clues and sneak into the zoo. But once inside, they discover there's much more to the Clarksville City Zoo than they could ever have guessed... The author originally had the idea for The Secret Zoo when he was nine and wondered what would happen if zoo exhibits had secret doors that allowed kids to go insideâ??and the animals to come outside. He brings that sense of adventure and excitement to this story, making it a favorite for home and classroom reading along with such middle grade fantasy favorites as The One and Only Ivan… (more)


Triple Crown Awards (Nominee — 2013)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

320 p.; 5.13 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member wishanem
Leaving aside all ethical questions and concerns about zoos as an institution, I read this to my son, aged 4, and we both really enjoyed it. I think the ideal reader would be 8 or 9 years old, though, because there were a few moments that were too violent and some others that were too complex for a
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4 year old.

The broad concept, of a conspiracy involving animals and people, and the feature of magic unfolding slowly in a story for kids, really work well.
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LibraryThing member joerocklin
This book was a bit Stranger Things and a bit Willy Wonka. I was proofing it for consideration of having a 7 year old read it and determined pretty early on that it was not appropriate. There are many secrets kept from parents (by instruction of other adults) and kids running off in the middle of
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the night. It also felt like the author rushed through the ending of the book while trying to set up for a follow-on book.

Overall it was not a bad book in general, but it seems to be set in a time that doesn’t exist anymore and may give kids ideas for activities that are no longer considered safe.
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½ (35 ratings; 3.6)
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