Marshmallow reviews Lion Down by Stuart Gibbs

Marshmallow has already reviewed several books from Stuart Gibbs’ FunJungle series: you can check out her review of the first book, Belly Up, here, while her review of the second book, Poached, is here, and her review of the fourth book, Panda-monium, is available here. Today she shares with us her thoughts on the fifth book on the adventures of Teddy Fitzroy: Lion Down.

Marshmallow reviews the fifth book, Lion Down, in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs.
Marshmallow reviews the fifth book, Lion Down, in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs.

Marshmallow’s overview: If you liked any of the other FunJungle books or if you like mysteries about animals, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s summary (with spoilers): Teddy Fitzroy has gotten himself involved in a mystery, yet again. This time a mountain lion named Rocket is accused of “canicide”. The victim was King, the dog of Lincoln Stone, the famous host of a talk show.

Stone hosts a TV show on which he bad-mouths the government and how everything that they say is wrong and that he is right. He starts to accuse Rocket for killing and then says that he will pay anyone that kills Rocket five hundred thousand dollars. 

Teddy Fitzroy is approached by FunJungle’s vet’s daughter, who asks him to investigate the death of King. She and many other activists in the ALF (Animal Liberation Front) believe that someone has intentionally framed Rocket. As Teddy investigates it is discovered that King was not the breed that Lincoln Stone says he was on his show. And also on the night of the “murder” Stone left King outside when he knew that there were mountain lions around. It soon comes out that he wasn’t nice to King, either. As he learns from Stone’s neighbors that Stone was having a party with guns, Teddy now has even more suspects. One of the guests at the party might have accidentally shot King and then tried to make it look like Rocket ate him. Teddy is overwhelmed with mysteries while he also struggles with a mysterious vandal poisoning the giraffes every Sunday.  

Marshmallow is pointing to the back cover of the fifth book, Lion Down, in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs, where the reader can get a quick summary of the plot of the book.
Marshmallow is pointing to the back cover of the fifth book, Lion Down, in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs, where the reader can get a quick summary of the plot of the book.

Marshmallow’s review: This book is very suitable for those who want to learn about animals while reading a mystery book. The mystery is hard to figure out, and like the past books in the series, Lion Down has two mysteries that Teddy has to solve. The reader is provided with many suspects for the case about King’s death.

The reader also learns about habitat loss. The author combines mystery, suspense, and humor while informing the reader about habitat loss, a very big problem that hurts many animals.

Marshmallow is reading the fifth book, Lion Down, in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs.
Marshmallow is reading the fifth book, Lion Down, in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs.

This is a very funny book and it will entertain many different audiences. (Actually the whole series is like that. Caramel recently started reading Belly Up and he is enjoying it a lot!)

You could probably read this book before reading the earlier books in the series, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Reading the first books will help you understand the book better. Just reading Panda-monium could be okay though, if you don’t want to read all the books. Still I think reading all of them in the right order is probably the best idea. (If you want to read a book from a series that does not require reading the earlier books, then Ivy + Bean One Big Happy Family might be the book for you.)

Marshmallow’s rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates the fifth book, Lion Down, in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs, 100%.
Marshmallow rates the fifth book, Lion Down, in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs, 100%.

Marshmallow reviews Poached by Stuart Gibbs

Marshmallow has already reviewed two books from Stuart Gibbs’s FunJungle series: see her review of Belly Up, the first book of the series, and her review of Panda-monium, the fourth. Today she reviews the second book: Poached.

Marshmallow reviews Poached by Stuart Gibbs.
Marshmallow reviews Poached by Stuart Gibbs.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about animals or if you like reading mystery books, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Teddy Fitzroy has once again landed in the middle of trouble. This time, the victim is Kazoo, the koala that the Australian government lent to the billionaire J.J. McCracken, who built FunJungle, the world’s newest and most thrilling zoo.

With both his parents working and living at FunJungle, Teddy is around the place most of the time, which allows him to investigate the crime. Unfortunately, one particular security guard, Marge O’Malley, who he calls Large Marge behind her back, is determined to prove that Teddy is involved with the stolen koala. (I know calling people names behind their backs is not nice, but this O’Malley is really not a nice person herself… at least in this book! For more on her you will need to read Panda-Monium!) While all this is happening, Teddy also has school issues. Vance Jessup, the school bully, enjoys bullying him on a daily basis. 

Since the security crew in FunJungle is so convinced that Teddy stole the koala, they are not even trying to find the real criminal. So it is once again all up to Teddy to solve the mystery and find Kazoo.

Marshmallow is reading Poached by Stuart Gibbs.
Marshmallow is reading Poached by Stuart Gibbs.

Marshmallow’s Review: Poached is a very good book for those who have enjoyed Stuart Gibbs’ past Spy SchoolMoon Base Alpha, and The Last Musketeer series. It is a great sequel to the first book in the FunJungle series, Belly Up. You can probably enjoy reading this even if you have not read Belly Up, but I would not recommend doing that. Reading the first book would help you know and understand the characters here much better.

On top of being a great read, Poached also has some interesting facts about animals. For example you can learn a lot about koalas while you read. You can also follow the great Teddy Fitzroy through his journey with bull sharks and bullies, and learn more about the bull sharks.

Just like the first book in the series, this one has some great characters. J.J. McCracken, for example, seems to be Teddy’s “biggest fan” sometimes, but then turns around and tries to have him arrested. Teddy is also a well-written character. He reacts to situations like a normal person would.

You might be thrilled or horrified, but with humor, action, and crisis, Stuart Gibbs has created a great read for all ages and all bunnies. I recommend this book highly!

The best age is 8 and up though. Younger bunnies might not understand the plot thoroughly. Gibbs manages to write very complex plots! On the other hand, if their parents can read it to them, this might not be an issue.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Poached by Stuart Gibbs 100%.
Marshmallow rates Poached by Stuart Gibbs 100%.

Marshmallow reviews Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

After a one-month break, the book bunnies have a lot of books to write about! Marshmallow starts 2020 off with her thoughts on Belly Up, the first novel in Stuart Gibbs’ Teddy Fitzroy / FunJungle series.

Marshmallow reviews Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs.
Marshmallow reviews Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like mysteries, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Teddy Fitzroy lives in the largest zoo in the world, FunJungle, where you could watch sharks in Shark Odyssey, experience what being on a Safari is like, or see what most of the visitors come for: Henry Hippo, the most celebrated hippo in the world. That is, until he dies.

The vet of FunJungle figures out that Henry was actually murdered. Teddy sneaks into the autopsy and learns that Henry might have died from peritonitis, a disease that makes holes in the stomach, but the vet, Doc, says that there were too many holes for it to be natural. The people who run FunJungle cover it up and say that Henry Hippo died of natural causes. Teddy realizes that no one is doing anything and that he has to solve the mystery himself. 

“As Teddy searches through all the clues and asks too many questions, it becomes clear that he too might end up belly up.”

Marshmallow is reading Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs.
Marshmallow is reading Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs.

Marshmallow’s Review: This book is a great book! You will not be able to put it down once you start reading.

The story is so mysterious that you cannot figure out who killed Henry even if you are Sherlock Holmes. The book supplies you with so many suspects that you cannot guess who did it. Unlike many mystery books, Belly Up supplies you with many suspicious characters. The real murderer turns out to be someone who you would never suspect even though the clues were all there under your nose (but they were all just things that seemed unimportant).

This is one of the best mystery books that I have read and I expect that I will reread it over and over again.

I have to admit that Belly Up is slightly confusing and requires holding onto clues that add up to the solution, so it is probably great for ages 8-15. it might confuse readers under 7. There are some curse words but not any very serious ones and there are only a few in a 286-page book.

Marshmallow thinks that Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs is one of the best mystery books that she has ever read.
Marshmallow thinks that Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs is one of the best mystery books that she has ever read.

Stuart Gibbs creates great characters, and his characters show us what other peoples’ lives are like. For example, Summer McCracken, the daughter of the billionaire J.J. McCracken, lives a luxurious but caged existence.

I think that this is a book that can also be enjoyed by adults, too, (and I am trying to get Sprinkles to read it soon!) but I believe it is better for children. Belly Up has humor, animal facts that Teddy uses to solve the mystery, adventure, and mystery.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs 100%.
Marshmallow rates Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs 100%.

Marshmallow reviews The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu

Marshmallow recently got her paws on Anne Ursu’s recent book The Lost Girl, and finished it in two days. Below she shares some of her thoughts on the book.

Marshmallow reviews The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu.
Marshmallow reviews The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books that are about mystery and friendship, then this might be for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Let me start with the publisher’s synopsis: 

“When you are an identical twin, your story always starts with someone else. For Iris, that means her story starts with Lark. Iris has always been the grounded, capable, and rational one; Lark is inventive, dreamy, and brilliant–and from their first moments in the world together, they’ve never left each other’s side. Everyone around them realized early on what the two sisters already knew: they had better outcomes when they were together.”

This already tells you that the book is about twins Iris and Lark. We know that they complement each other. A big problem that they face in the book is that the adults in their lives think it might be better for them to be separate for a while. This is a big deal and shakes both girls up a lot. This is one of the two main threads in the book.

The second thread is about a mysterious store. Before fifth grade starts, a small odd shop named Treasure Hunters opens in their town. Right outside the shop is a sign that says:

WE ARE HERE.”

Iris and Lark go in the store, and inside they meet a man that Iris thinks looks like a mole. Iris asks him about the sign. The man asks if they believe in keeping their promise. They say that they do. The man acts as if that answered their question.

Then later, they learn about their class assignments. For the first time they are going to be in different classes: Iris has Mrs. Shonubi and Lark has Mr. Hunt. The girls think that Mr. Hunt is a mean teacher, “an ogre”, they think. (Actually they think he is a real ogre, the mythical one.)

The girls soon realize that the sign next to the new shop no longer says, “WE ARE HERE.” The sign now says,

ARE YOU?

The girls are startled and think that it is a peculiar way of advertising. As their school starts the sign changes again and this time says

ALICE, WHERE ARE YOU?

Iris enters the store to ask who Alice is. The man seems reluctant but eventually says that Alice was his sister. Iris asks what happened to her and the man says that she just disappeared. He looks very sad.

Alice is not the only person or thing that disappears however. The famous Spoonbridge and Cherry in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden also disappears. So does a beluga named Peanut and the sulu bleeding heart specimen. Some items in Iris and Lark’s home also go missing: Lark’s bracelet, a doll named Baby Thing, Lark’s beanbag cat named Esmerelda, and a figure of an ogre. Where do all these go? Find out in The Lost Girl.  

Marshmallow is pointing at a picture from the book, but do not look too carefully if you don't want any further spoilers!
Marshmallow is pointing at a picture from the book, but do not look too carefully if you don’t want any further spoilers!

Marshmallow’s review: This is a very interesting book that has an intriguing plot. It is a little creepy, so it is for ages eight and up. There is a very interesting twist toward the end and the bad guy turns out to be someone that is unexpected.

This is a book that is about friendship. It is a mix between creepy, mystery, and friendship. Iris unwillingly goes to a camp for girls and finds that friendship between girls can be empowering, despite her original cynicism.

The plot is intricate, and everything fits together, just like in Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, though if you are not careful or if you read it too fast, in the end it might get a little bit confusing. But all in all it is well planned and it is evident that the author planned everything out and left clues for the reader.

Marshmallow’s rating: 95%

Marshmallow rates The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu 95%.
Marshmallow rates The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu 95%.