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A great middle grades read

15 Jun


My fantasy as a kid was to live at a boarding school. I read books about girls who did so and we played boarding school in the tent trailer my parents set up in our driveway. Nowadays, kids probably fantasize about more exciting places like zoos and amusement parks. Teddy Fitzroy, the main character of Poached  by Stuart Gibbs gets to live out this fantasy. His parents work at Fun Jungle where his mom is an ape specialist and his dad a photographer, and they live on campus. It is every kid’s fantasy. But there is trouble afoot. A koala has disappeared and all the evidence indicated that teddy is the culprit.

This fast paced story is effectively narrated by Gibson Frazier. When i started listening, I thought he was reading a little fast, but a minute or two into the book and it seemed to be just the right pace for a middle school boy. As a man narrating a story about a young adolescent, you might think Frazier’s voice wouldn’t work, but it does and he manages to capture the voices of all the different characters rather effectively. Fortunately, he doesn’t attempt Texan accents for most of the characters; this would probably have been a an over the top turn-off. The one character he does portray with a Texas accent is well done.

I’d recommend this for the classroom, but there are several references to poop and vomit. Gibson portrays these in a manner that will surely get young boys laughing, without offending more sensitive ears.

Poached is the second book featuring Teddy and Fun Jungle. Gibbs’ previous novel was Belly Up, a novel in which Teddy solves the mysterious murder of Henry the Hippo. I enjoyed Poached  so much,  plan to add  Belly Up to my summer reading list. I hope you check out both of these.

The Audiobook CDs were generously provided to me by Audiobook Jukebox.

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