Tuesday, August 26, 2014
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The Zoo at the Edge of the World by Eric Kahn Gale
Balzer + Bray (August 26, 2014) 240 pages
My Rating: 5/5 stars
This little story had me rapidly flipping the pages, and I really didn’t want to put it down when I had to!
Marlin stutters. He has an extraordinarily hard time moving words from his mouth when he is around humans. He lives in the jungle with his father, Ronan Rackham, and his brother, Tim, where they own and run a zoo/resort, with the help of the natives of the land. When Marlin talks to the animals, words come freely from his mouth. The moment a human comes in the picture, the words freeze.
Tim is a bully. He especially gives Marlin a hard time, and with their father’s encouragement, compete with each other for a monkey paw. The one with the honor of holding the paw is the one who has gained favor in their father’s eyes at that given time. Thankfully, Marlin does have animal friends, especially his pet monkey, Kenji. He also meets a new girl, named Olivia, who gives much support through the story.
At the ending, a little light bulb of recognition went off in my mind, and I had to smile. It made me love the book so much more. If this light bulb doesn’t go off for you, I imagine you’ll hate the ending. The Zoo at the Edge of the World, to me, seems to be a prequel, of sorts, to a classic in the children’s realm. (Honestly, I don't know if that's what the story is suppose to be, but it came off that way to me.) I adore re-tellings, and if I’d known, I’d have picked it up even sooner than I did. I won't give details, because that would ruin things for you, but this story IS a fantasy!
From a parent’s viewpoint, there is plenty within this book to open discussion and thinking. From a child’s standpoint, there is plenty of action, adventure, and courage to keep them(and me) flipping the pages. I won’t hesitate to put this book on my boys’ bookshelf for a few years down the road! (perfect for girls, too, should you have any of those!) ;)
In case you couldn't tell, I highly recommend The Zoo at the Edge of the World! I loved it.
*Thanks to Balzer + Bray and Edelweiss for providing me with an e-ARC, in exchange for my honest opinion.