Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Zoo at the Edge of the World by Eric Kahn Gale, Sam Nielson (Illustrated by)

Marlin has trouble speaking; he stutters.  He does better with animals, so his father bought him a monkey to keep him company and improve his speaking.  He still has trouble with people and his older brother bullies him when his father isn't looking.  Since father travels a lot, Marlin doesn't have a good time at the zoo unless he's with the animals.  He understands them and they understand him.

Balzer & Bray and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 26th, so grab yourself a copy then.

This tale fascinated me.  I've always had a close relationship with animals and I can see why Marlin found comfort and companion-ability there.  It's set deep in a jungle and guests are brought in by boat.  It's an exotic, expensive resort that showcases a zoo.  The animals don't like being caged and brought out on display, but they have no choice.  Marlin can empathize with them because he doesn't like greeting the guests at the boat either.

When one of the workers is killed in the jungle, Marlin's father goes out to revenge his death and kill the jaguar who attacked him.  Instead he returns with the cat in a cage and he becomes part of the zoo.  That's the beginning of the end...

There's a bit of magic involved when Marlin cuts himself on a piece of glass and can't stop the building.  The cat licks him and heals him.  And now Marlin can actually hear the animals talking to him.  This is both a good and a bad thing.  The world Marlin was living very happily in with a father he could admire suddenly gets tarnished.  He also learns something about his father that he would never have believed if he'd hadn't overheard a conversation.

There are several heart stopping moments in this story.  The jungle stays in the background while the battle goes on in the resort.  The best part of the story is the ending.  I was almost crying and then things got better.  Mr. Gale caught my attention, drew me in to the story, and made me really care about Marlin and the animals.  I bet you'll like the ending, too.

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