DiscoverMiddle Grade

Rumble at the Zoo

By

Loved it! 😍

Rumble at the Zoo is a dynamic book and a fun and colourful story about a mystery at the Zoo.

Synopsis

Ethan and Matt receive a call for help from Lisa Moser, whose mom runs the “Skywalk Zoo”. Recently, the animals at the Zoo have been taking turns in behaving weirdly and aggressively, scaring visitors away. The police are no help and if Lisa doesn’t figure out why it’s happening, the Zoo will be shut down and the animals put to sleep...

As Ethan and Matt are local celebrities after solving the mystery of the legendary missing diamond Heart of the Island, Lisa wants their help. The boys meet Lisa, and after discovering a chilling fact, forge a daring plan to get to the bottom of this mystery. But their search for the truth draws them deeper into this deceit and betrayal filled adventure.

Will they find out why the animals behave so strangely? Can the boys find out who’s behind all this? And can they protect the animals and stay safe? Could Lisa become more than just a first client, and join the boys on their adventures....? Find out what happens in this nail biting adventure at the Zoo, full of wild animals and rotten villains.

"Rumble at the Zoo" is a dynamic, fun and colourful book about a trio of kids, working to solve the mystery of why the animals in Skywalk Zoo are behaving in a strange (and not always safe!) way. The unusual behaviour of the animals begins to scare away visitors, causing concern and putting operations at risk.


Lisa Moser helps her mom, Vicki, at their Zoo. She is passionate about the animals and sees them as friends. She likes them more than people and have great admiration, respect and love for them. Her father passed away and the Zoo is his legacy. When the animals start acting weird and scaring visitors, she contacts Matt and Ethan. The boys are famous for solving mysteries, and they come right away.


Using simple and direct language, with a sharp sense of humour that engages the young reader, the story flows with a very good rhythm, and it becomes hard to put the book down. The reader is constantly surprised by unexpected events – even a fight between a large gorilla and an enormous bear!


Betrayal is also in the mix, and comes from characters the young reader won't expect at first. And they definitely won't foresee the reasons behind it. Dialogues are clever and very relatable to middle grade readers. Through the word choices, as well as the characters' reactions and points of view, the author ensures connection and engagement.


Lisa, Matt and Ethan (the narrator) have to face dangerous people with greedy interests, wild animals, and their own fears to solve the mystery and ensure the zoo is safe. The characters are well-developed. Within the first chapters, we get to know about each of the lead characters and their stories. We also learn about their personalities and personal tastes. By the time we get to chapter seven, the three children are our best friends! And we do not like some of the other character... but I won't spoil it, so won't say who and why!


At the end the mystery is solved, new friendships are made and the reader gets the feeling that another adventure is on the way!


Perfect for individual reading, or for caregivers/teachers to read a chapter or two at a time, creating more suspense and engaging the young readers. A good book for children to find pleasure in reading. Recommend for 7 years and up.

Reviewed by

I’m a mother, teacher and book lover/advocate.

My goal with the Book Bug platform is to increase interest in reading, especially picture books, and assist parents and teachers. Also to provide resources, story telling, book reviews and advice.

Above all, I want to connect our bookworm community.

Synopsis

Ethan and Matt receive a call for help from Lisa Moser, whose mom runs the “Skywalk Zoo”. Recently, the animals at the Zoo have been taking turns in behaving weirdly and aggressively, scaring visitors away. The police are no help and if Lisa doesn’t figure out why it’s happening, the Zoo will be shut down and the animals put to sleep...

As Ethan and Matt are local celebrities after solving the mystery of the legendary missing diamond Heart of the Island, Lisa wants their help. The boys meet Lisa, and after discovering a chilling fact, forge a daring plan to get to the bottom of this mystery. But their search for the truth draws them deeper into this deceit and betrayal filled adventure.

Will they find out why the animals behave so strangely? Can the boys find out who’s behind all this? And can they protect the animals and stay safe? Could Lisa become more than just a first client, and join the boys on their adventures....? Find out what happens in this nail biting adventure at the Zoo, full of wild animals and rotten villains.

Prologue


Lisa Moser stuck her head out the door only to see the rain had finally started to fall. It had chased the already few visitors out of the small zoo. It was a cloudy mid-week afternoon, and the forecast said the rain threatened to ruin the next day as well. 

Lisa put on her thin, transparent raincoat and her yellow, knee-high rubber boots and stepped outside. She was wearing only shorts and a T-shirt underneath the rain gear, but the air was so warm and humid she was already sweating. She wore her oversized safari hat — a present from her dad a couple of years ago, just before he passed away. She knew that most other kids her age would simply stay inside, in a dry and cosy room, but she had always been a responsible child. Her mom used to say she’d probably be as good of a zoo manager as she was herself, even though Lisa was only twelve years old.

She closed the door to the small education and science center, a small building at the far end of the zoo where she was spending most of her time when not in school. The center was not much more than an office and a tiny lab, and a small, forty-seat movie theater where Lisa helped play educational movies for school visits and parents seeking learning opportunities for their bored kids. Adjacent to it, there was a not-much-bigger veterinary center, where the zoo’s vets could perform day-to-day checkups and small surgeries, if necessary.

She wiped the drops of rain off her big oval glasses and started her usual afternoon walk. Her long dark hair was going crazy in the humid air, and she found herself thinking about cutting off her out-of-control mane. She pulled a simple, cheap hair rubber band out of her shorts’ pocket and tied it up in a long, messy ponytail.

Almost every day, she’d go from enclosure to enclosure, all the way around the small zoo, saying hi to her ‘friends’ — checking up on the animals that she loved and cared for deeply. She didn’t have many human friends because other kids thought she was weird, but she really didn’t care. Animals mattered the most to her, and she knew she’d be living and working around them her whole life.

Hey guys! Pouring today, huh? Don’t worry, it’ll be bright and sunny soon. She smiled at the little meerkats peeking out from their holes in the dirt, hiding from the pouring rain bouncing off of the enclosure’s transparent plexiglass roof. 

The zoo didn’t have much more than two dozen enclosures and exhibits. As Lisa’s mom told her, they simply couldn’t afford to spread further and bring more animals in. That also meant that the money was tight, and they couldn’t afford to lose visitors, especially with the problems they’d been having with the animals lately. 

It must’ve been a week now, Lisa thought. The poor creatures are acting as if they’ve gone crazy — I’ve never, ever seen anything like it!

And she was right. It was unclear why, but some of the animals, usually the most visited ones — the biggest attractions — were changing their behavior from day to day, and acting weird at best, really aggressive at worst. Ferocious. Attacking the glass walls and the steel cage bars, causing the visitors — families and small kids — to scream in horror and flee, giving the zoo a bad name.

Lisa stood next to a solitary, spacious enclosure and watched Loki, the beautiful male cougar who had been living at the zoo for more than two years. Found on his own when he was still just a two-month-old cub, he’d been brought from the northern forests and grown up right here at the zoo. Normally, in weather like this, he would have stayed at the back of the enclosure, out of the rain, licking his paws and snoozing contentedly. But not today. Today, he was pacing back and forth, snarling at the big rubber tire hanging from a branch of one of the bare trees in the middle of the enclosure. His coat was soaked, and his whiskers hung limply with the weight of water.

Something was wrong. 

Lisa knew if she kept herself away from the safety fence and the steel bars Loki would probably not charge and smash himself against them. Not if he didn’t see her. She didn’t want him to get hurt, and she understood how animals behaved. She’d been volunteering at the zoo for several years now, ever since her mom took over as manager. So she just slowly backtracked, keeping herself out of sight, on the verge of tears, and went to finish her rounds, a growing sense of helplessness rising within her. 

A few hours ago, her mother had phoned the police. She’d turned on the speakerphone in her office so Lisa could hear everything, and explained the issues with the animals. The police officer wasn’t very interested and Lisa couldn’t stay quiet when he smugly told her mom that the police have better things to do than visiting zoos and petting the animals.

This is not OK! You can’t just hang up on us — there’s something going on here!” Lisa cried from her mom’s side. 

“That’s my daughter,” Lisa’s Mom said, “I’m sorry, but she’s just very upset with all this—”

“Look, ma’am, we have enough problems with the humans, you understand? You should call the Animal Control Service,” the police officer replied, and hung up.

Lisa knew that calling the Service would risk the animals being put to sleep if the situation did not improve, so both she and her mom wanted to avoid that call. But they were running out of options.

After finishing her rounds, Lisa stepped into the small computer room at the movie theater. She fired up her laptop and stared again at the website she’d found earlier while trying to figure out what was going on.

What have I got to lose? she asked herself.

She clicked the ‘Contact Us’ button, and started writing the message.

Hi, my name is Lisa, and I work at the Skywalk Zoo. I saw your website and I was wondering if you could come over so we could talk. I think I might need some help…”


About the author

David is a stay-home dad and an author of middle grade adventure books and for anyone who still feels like a kid. In his quest to entertain the young audience, David aims to take his readers on an action-packed, fun-filled and mysterious ride in the world created for his thrill-seeking characters. view profile

Published on July 14, 2020

Published by

30000 words

Genre: Middle Grade

Reviewed by

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