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The Secret Zoo (The Secret Zoo #1)

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  2,332 Ratings  ·  302 Reviews
Something strange is happening at the Clarksville City Zoo. Late at night, monkeys are scaling the walls and searching the neighborhood—but what are they looking for?

Noah, his sister Megan, and their best friends, Richie and Ella, live next door to the zoo. Megan is the first to notice the puzzling behavior of some of the animals. One day Megan disappears, and her brother
ebook, 320 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Greenwillow Books (first published October 6th 2007)
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cute, full of animals & mystery & magic.
Mar 17, 2009 Wendy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kids grades 1-7 (read aloud to grades 1 - 2)
Recommended to Wendy by: Kris Cueter
I lead a book club with my son's class each year. He is in 4th grade. Our group read The Secret Zoo this winter. All 7 kids loved it! I assigned pages each week and they complained every week about having to wait to read on. They stopped me in the halls to discuss what they thought was going to happen next.

They story is unique and very well told. While some parents may be put off by the "missing child" in the beginning of the story, we must remember that adult imagination is far more dark than
Nov 09, 2011 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While my children hung on every word of this book when I read it to them, I have reservations about recommending it to friends. I have been spoiled by high quality children's literature, so I was very disappointed by the lackluster character development, the excessive use of the term "rear end," and several aspects of the plot. It read like a bad children's movie, the kind that goes straight to DVD. That being said, my children are dying to hear the second volume.
Jennifer Bond
Feb 18, 2009 Jennifer Bond rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a third grade teacher, and I read this book to my class. It was an absolute hit...and we can't wait for the second book to be published. The adventure that transpires throughout the book is magical and amazing! Bryan's vivid descriptions allow you to visualize each scene and be part of the action! All of my students LOVED this book...and thought Bryan was the most awesome author ever! We had the opportunity to have him come and speak to our 3-5 graders, and he gave such a powerful message t ...more
Sebastian C.
Aug 01, 2011 Sebastian C. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Chick, Bryan. The Secret Zoo. New York, NY: Harper Collins (Grenwillow Books), 2011. Print. pp310

OMG!!!!!!!!!When your sister gets lost in the middle of the night, what would you do? Well, Noah’s sister Megan has disappeared somewhere during the middle of the night. They have been trying to find her for many days but could never find a trace of her anywhere. The Secret Zoo by Brian Chick is a mystery packed thrilling book which for my opinion is an amazing book. So the story started like that Me
Luann Birchmeier
As an educator of many years, I was exceptionally happy with how enthralled my students were with the book, "The Secret Zoo." The suspense in the story captivated the students and they didn't want to put the book down. This book was a great addition to my Fantasy lesson plans. The students are anxiously waiting for the 2nd book to come out.

My school was fortunate enough to have the pleasure of having a visit from the author. His presentation to the students was far superior than any other that
May 29, 2011 Meaghan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
This is a great book! I don't noramlly read kids books, but this one caught my eye one day at work and I just had to check it out! Although the book is definitely a quick read for tenns and adults, it is very well written and well thought out. The beginning was wonderfully mysterious and suspenseful; it gave me shivers reading it. I also like how Bryan Chick starts out giving you a very tiny hint and then starts the actual story from a point a month later. All the characters were delightful and ...more
Apr 24, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved, loved this book! You know it's a great children's book when you want to keep going to see what happens after you're finished reading to your kids for the night. I've been reading it to my 8 year old daughter for the past few weeks. The adventure is great, the kids are heroes, the animals are very cool and hilarious!

It has a great underlying message about the role humans play in preventing animal extinction. The missing child part was tough to take as a parent (there were parts I couldn't
Tracy Cervantes
Jun 06, 2017 Tracy Cervantes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cute book. Younger MG readers really seem to like it.

The plot layout is episodic, with one exciting thing happening, then something else happening as an immediate follow up. The larger arc of the story, (a missing girl), mostly stays in the background. Overall, the kids make things happen, and those decisions move the episodes along.

There are real zoo animals, and those animals interact with the characters, and kids love that.

This plot is not complex. Another reader mentioned this book as one
Noah, his sister Megan, and friends Richie and Ellie built their Action Scouts clubhouse in a tree in Noah and Megan's backyard, next to the Clarksville City Zoo. One night when Megan believes she spies monkeys atop neighborhood roofs, she becomes very curious and begins a journal. And then Megan mysteriously disappears.

Just when Noah believes he will never see his sister again, a bright blue bird leaves him a message to visit the monkeys at the zoo. More clues and pieces from his sister's jour
Dec 28, 2013 Karin rated it really liked it
The Secret Zoo is a little like We Bought a Zoo meets A Night at the Museum. Here's a brief summary...
There are strange things going on at the Clarksville City Zoo. Late one night Megan sees monkeys scaling the walls and rooftops.
Noah and their best friends, Richie and Ella,also known as the Action Scouts, live next door to the zoo. Megan is the first of the Scouts to notice the strange behavior of some of the animals. When Megan disappears,Noah and their friends are determined to find her. They
I often find myself damning Harry Potter and Percy Jackson as much as I love them it makes life hard for other fictional characters to even try to compete. Sadly these characters didn't have a chance. There was very little if any character development in this story (and there were only three characters to speak of).

Our community was lucky enough to host Bruce Coville a few years ago. My daughter often quotes him as he talked about a character that was in peril... "and he's barely holding on to t
This was adorable! And fun and fascinating and exciting and entertaining and so much better than I'd expected!

I just was captivated by the whole concept of a world beyond the zoo. That was SO well done. It's delightful to think that the animals get to take turns being in the zoo enclosures and so therefore they also get to take turns being out and free.

I also thought the mystery of where Megan had went was revealed perfectly. Having the animals deliver her notes one at a time to lead the scouts
Aug 25, 2010 Brenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Middle grade fantasy series
Recommended to Brenda by: Front Cover Illustration pick
Shelves: fantasy
This was such a fun adventurous story. It is all about a zoo but not just any ordinary zoo it is the Secret Zoo. The heroes of the story are both the children and the animals. Each with their own special abilities. I love the authors vivid descriptions of the animals habitats and especially the one of the Forest of Flight. It is just like I would picture it to be when at the zoo. I also loved the fact that these were not talking animals but they sure do say a lot in their own way. Some may be pu ...more
Apr 29, 2016 Dia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult-juvi
I am disappointed in this book. Maybe my expectations were too high. It started out interesting but soon things started to get muddled and i started to not to care or connect with characters. The ending is what disappointed me the most. Important things weren't even discussed. The book just ended. it's like the author had a set amount of pages and once those were reached the story was done no matter what. When I started the book I didn't realize it was part of a series. I am curious to see if so ...more
Great adventure for children but also very enjoyable for adults. I was enchanted by the exceeding ideas and it was really fun to follow those 3 kids on finding secrets and discovering the secret zoo. The flowing writing style let me rush through the pages and kept my interest the whole journey. I would have loved if the animals were able to speak to get them more depth but the fantastic setting straighten this out.
Jul 17, 2012 Brooke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review and rating is from Claire. I have not read the book.

"This book was really interesting and good. There was a lot of adventure. I want to keep reading the rest of the series."
-Claire (8 years old)

When I asked her if she liked it as much as Ivy and Bean books she said yes (because I don't like to use that 5 stars lightly). I think I might take a chance and read it sometime too, just to see what she liked about it so much.
Trisha Sengupta
Sep 30, 2014 Trisha Sengupta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely introduction to a wonderful world, filled with animals that understand humans, as well as humans that understand animals. Starts out lighthearted, but the plot does get a little bit more intense as you read it. The protagonists are well-developed, and you can't help but fall in love with each one. The rest of the series is also a couple books you should really look at.
Cambria Speed
Oct 31, 2014 Cambria Speed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who love zoos and animals
Recommended to Cambria by: mom
I thought it was amazing because there was a little mystery and a lot of adventure.The characters in this story are Noah,Ella,Richie,Tank,Mr.Darby,and Noah's younger sister Megan.In the beginning of this story,Megan goes missing for three weeks and nobody knows were,except for the city zoo!Find out were she went by reading this book!
Dec 13, 2013 Aylamae rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ayla
I loved the book The Secret Zoo by, Bryan Chick. It is about 4 little kids and the youngest named Magen got solon and the 3 other kids had to save her... I think that if you like adventure and misery you would like this book!!
Alison Strumbeck
Such a disappointment. A lot of leading up to a climax that is really lame and then just becomes preposterous.
May 20, 2008 Jodi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a page turner, suspenseful good for kids and adults.
Kate McCartney
Read this out loud with my children. They both really enjoyed it. I thought it was an entertaining and engaging read. I think it is a good book for K-4th graders.
Jen Naughton
Megan has disappeared somewhere during the middle of the night. They have been trying to find her for many days but could never find a trace of her anywhere. Her brother and friends start investigating because Megan had mentioned seeing monkeys right before she disappeared. Just when Noah believes he will never see his sister again, a bright blue bird leaves him a message to visit the monkeys at the zoo. It turns out I can say without spoiling anything that there is indeed a "secret zoo" and the ...more
Eileen Carter
Feb 28, 2017 Eileen Carter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book reminds so of the Magic Tree House series, only this series revolves around a zoo and 4 children. The Secret Zoo is the first in the series of books, and you will quickly be pulled into the mystery and drama of the story line.

Megan disappears, and her brother, Noah doesn't give up hope that she can be found. Their friends Ella and Richie are quick to help look for her. But will they ever find her? Mysterious things begin to happen, animals drop off little things to get Noah to go the
I had read this book to my older 2 children when they were in elementary. It was time to read it to the younger 2! We have ALL loved the book! The wildly imaginative and descriptive tale leads the readers on an involved chase of the truth. Lots of mystery, creative thoughts, deception and strategy involved in this children's chapter book. Bryan Chick is a Michigan native and there are 4 more books to this series. I have read this book to my children and then they finish out the series on their o ...more
Caroline Thorn
Mar 21, 2017 Caroline Thorn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Noah, his sister Megan, and their two friends Richie and Ella live next to the city zoo. Megan begins to notice that the animals are acting strange. Then, Megan mysteriously disappears, and it is up to Noah, Richie, and Ella to find her and bring her back home. Noah almost loses hope until a strange clue arrives to him. Noah knows that the only way to rescue his sister is to follow the clue, with the help of his two best friends, of course. Follow Noah, Richie, and Ella on their quest to save Me ...more
Jun 22, 2017 Melody rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought Bryan Chick did an awesome job. The book was exciting and mysterious. The main characters are Noah, Megan, Ritchie, and Ella. The problem is Megan goes missing in the middle of the night. Find out what happened in The Secret Zoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Katy Wineke
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 07, 2016 Tym rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, ya, animals, fantasy
This was a light-hearted fun read I could see being made into a Disney movie. It was enjoyable and an original idea but without a lot of depth or character growth. I do like how it ended on a mystery but I'm still not sure I'll continue the series.
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Favorite Character 2 3 Nov 29, 2014 05:11PM  
What did you think about this book? 2 10 Jan 23, 2013 01:57PM  
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The idea of The Secret Zoo came to me when I was just nine years old. I wondered what it would be like if zoo exhibits had secret passages that allowed kids to get in and animals to get out. Over twenty years, this idea matured in complexity and length until it had become an epic story, to be told in ten full-length novels. When I'm not exploring the worlds in my head, I spend time speaking to lik ...more
More about Bryan Chick...

Other Books in the Series

The Secret Zoo (5 books)
  • Secrets and Shadows (The Secret Zoo #2)
  • Riddles and Danger (The Secret Zoo #3)
  • Traps and Specters (The Secret Zoo #4)
  • Raids and Rescues (The Secret Zoo #5)

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“Monkeys had escaped the zoo and were climbing over a house in her neighborhood.” 0 likes
“Three sheets of notebook paper lay on the ground—colorful red pages with purple lines and blue stars in the corners.” 0 likes
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