by Stuart Gibbs
AR Level 5.2, 11 points
Before you read Poached, be sure to read Belly Up. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to read it, because someone stole it off of my bookshelf in my classroom. I had two students who read it and told me how awesome it was, and that’s the last we’ve seen of it. Belly Up is the first book in the FunJungle series, and Poached refers back to the events several times. It isn’t necessary (Poached is a brand new problem and solution and the setting and characters are reintroduced), but it would probably be helpful.
Poached is about a boy named Teddy who lives in a zoo/theme park called FunJungle. His mom cares for the chimps and his dad is a wildlife photographer, and Teddy is a seventh grade prankster. We quickly learn he helped solve a murder (of a hippo) in Belly Up, but doesn’t have everyone’s trust due to the pranks he pulls. When a koala goes missing, Teddy becomes the number one suspect, and he has to prove his innocence throughout the novel, while trying to find the real koala-napper. It is a smartly-written “whodunnit” kind of book.
What I liked about this book was that it not only told a good story, but you couldn’t read it without learning a million new facts about wildlife. Although this was about a koala (and most of the facts were koala-related), I also learned about chimps, sharks, elephants, and big cats. At the end, Gibbs reminded the reader of why koalas are endangered, and encouraged the reader to learn more and take action. It’s almost like he was being sneaky and making me learn.
What I didn’t like about this book was that at times, it got to be a little too unrealistic. It is an adventure novel, so it makes sense that there would be a lot of action, and I should have expected it since Spy School was the same.
I was lucky enough to meet Stuart Gibbs at a book fair earlier this year. I wish I’d read his novels then so I could’ve told him how I felt about his writing (positive, of course)!
Book 22 of 40 (year 2)