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The Zoo at the Edge of the World

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  874 ratings  ·  167 reviews
From the author of The Bully Book comes a timeless story about a young boy, his father, and the world that comes between them, which New York Times–bestselling author Peter Lerangis called "magical, mysterious, fresh, original, and full of heart."

Marlin is not slow, or mute; what he is is a stutterer, and that makes it impossible for him to convince people otherwise. What
ebook, 240 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by Balzer + Bray
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Marlin Rackham stutters. And he is completely fed up with people assuming because he stumbles over his words that he must also be stupid. But Marlin is a Rackham....and Rackhams power through even the most difficult of experiences. Marlin's father is famous. Roland Rackham is an adventurer, famous for his exploration of dangerous places and his capture of many dangerous animals. He now runs the Zoo at the Edge of the World, a resort for the wealthy to come and see exotic animals. This story tell ...more
Jen Malone
Jun 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite reads in a while! This setting was so evocative and the story reminiscent of both Rudyard Kipling's fables and The Life of Pi with a powerful message about the dangers of Imperialism and the difference between protecting and conquering that which we love. Completely different and completely wonderful.
Feb 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
This book and everything in it was unnecessarily cruel. There was chance for a story like this to be heart wrenching and inspiring and fun, but every time there was a crossroads where someone could have chosen not to be a worthless sack, the author chose to go the worst, darkest, cruelest route. There were maybe two or three bit characters that weren't scraping the bottom of the barrel of humanity, but they were far outnumbered and outgunned. You don't have to like a character in order for a sto ...more
Dec 30, 2019 rated it liked it
“My name? [...] Names are for men and their pets. I have my toes, my tongue, and my teeth. That’s all the name I need.” (okay, this quote has nothing relevant to do with the plot of the book, but it’s probably my favourite, so there you go ~)

As a kid I used to adore and devour stories about children who could talk to animals. And so when I picked up this book, it was purely for the desire to experience that kind of adventure again and maybe to be brought ~ back to childhood ~ again. And so,
Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary |
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-fantasy
You can find this full review and many others at Scifi and Scary's Book Reviews.

The Zoo at the Edge of the World is an intense read. It takes place within one pivotal week within Marlin Rackham’s existence, so needless to say the pace is almost ridiculously fast (not a bad thing). Marlin, whose stutter is so bad he can barely manage to get a single clear word out (except in certain situations), is forced to make some very hard decisions as he examines what’s right and what’s wrong. Once things s
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The cover and illustrations for this book are absolutely stunning. I know they say you should never judge a book by it's cover, but I would say that this book delivers the adventure and magic realism that the cover image evokes.

For those of you who may have skipped the synopsis and headed straight for the reviews, this book is written for young adults. It's about a young boy who lives in the jungle with his father and brother. Poor Marlin doesn't fit in with the family though because he stutters
Munro's Kids
Aug 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: kelsey, type-other
Marlin Rackham is the son of world famous explorer Roland Rackham. Once known for his exploration of Guiana, on the east coast of South America, Roland now owns an exotic resort that caters to wealthy Brits on vacation. Marlin loves the animals, but is ostracized and ridiculed because he has a severe stutter. After his father captures and brings back a live jaguar, though, Marlin is given the gift of speech, but he can only speak clearly to animals. Once he realizes what they are telling him, th ...more
Margaret Anthony
Oct 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The cover grabbed me, and then the story sucked me right in! There is something for everyone: action, elements of fantasy, and historical fiction. Marlin, the main character has a stutter which renders him almost mute. This was such a part of the story that I think it would also appeal to those who enjoyed Wonder and Out of My Mind.
I'll definitely check out his first book, and anything else Eric Kahn Gale writes!
Betty Silvia
The book had an interesting premise - a family who operated a zoo in a jungle with a boy who could not communicate with humans but could communicate with zoo animals. Although I managed to finish reading it, it left me with so many unanswered questions, I just dismissed it. Sorry I spent the time reading it.
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like yikes I love all of Eric Kahn Gale's books so far but I have only rea the bully book and this. ...more
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was such a fun and amazing read! I love the adventures, the characters such as Marlin who had wonderful personality, the magic!

It was extraordinary and mind blown. The storylines and ideas were well written. How Marlin got the power and could talk to the animals was my favourite part. I love the imagination! The ending was perfectly fine, like I’m really satisfied with the ending! This is recommended if you love an adventure and fantasy book!
Ms. Yingling
Marlin lives with his father and older brother Tim in South American in a vaguely Victoria time period. The family (the mother is deceased) run a resort for wealthy British folk that features a zoo of exotic animals. The father, Ronan Rackham, is a noted explorer, and when he comes home from one expedition, he brings a jaguar back. The cat has eaten one of the staff, and can't be let loose since he has acquired the taste for people, so he is heavily caged. Marlin stutters terribly and is given a ...more
Annie Payne
Oct 12, 2017 rated it liked it
The beginning of this book truly gripped me, and left me wanting to continue reading whenever I needed to put it down for awhile. The quality of the writing was excellent throughout the entire novel.

I also admire that the author wasn't afraid to throw in some controversial topics and ideas, especially for kids, to think about, but I wasn't totally thrilled with how it was all wrapped up. One positive is that I enjoyed how some traditional themes were handled in more contemporary and less tradit
Mar 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
If I could give this book a negative number of stars, I would. I started this book with great hope, but as the main character, who stutters, was verbally beaten down by his brother and his father, I tried several times to put it down. Again when the father is drinking and verbally abusive, I wanted to stop reading, but I just kept hoping that things would turn around. I don't like criticizing books because I don't know what was in the author's heart and mind when they were writing it. Perhaps it ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Exciting and extraordinary. I think it could have benefited from a stronger female character, but it's very much a father/son, patriarchy of colonization story, so the lack of inclusion felt fairly natural. The use of talking animals who don't act human was effective, especially the jaguar. Especially what happens in the end. It's like he always knew...and he probably did.

Full review at http://storytimehooligans.wordpress.c...
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Interesting and a little bit gritty book. More for older kids. There is death and the difficulty of dealing with disappointing and damaging family relationships. I wanted there to be more depth with Olivia's character - wanted to get her point of view more. It felt like she was meant to be more a part of the story.
Maggie V
A very quick and exciting read. I wasn't expecting the fantasy elements, but it was very interesting. There was some nice foreshadowing and really good ethical questions about men and animals -- conquering vs protecting.
Aug 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
I want to share this with my nine yo daughter. Great story, mixed with some serious issues. Like being different, imperfect parents, and human exploitation of nature. I would love to be able to talk to animals too.
Jun 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Really lovely middle grade. This felt like a relatively quiet book, but there is also a lot going on with Marlin's self discovery, family, and new powers with animals. Very fun!
Paige McKenzie
Apr 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
LOVE this book! Such a fun read!
I didn't enjoy reading this book. It was hard to get through. When things like this happen in movies, I close my eyes until my husband tells me it's over, but it's hard to do that while reading a book. The book was just tragic in every way. The struggle between Marlin and the animals against the 'people' is ridiculous. It's like watching a group of rival mice fighting over territory on the sinking Titanic. Since this is historical fiction and we know that the jungle has indeed been burned to mak ...more
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is surprisingly engaging and thought provoking. My rating 4.5.

Marlin is a bright 11-12 year-old boy but people don’t realize it because he is an extreme stutterer. He can talk to animals when no human is around, but it is painful for him to try to speak to humans. At least his father accepts his difficulty, unlike his older brother, Tim, who taunts him and does everything to bully him.

The two boys are sons of Roland Rackham, a famous explorer who has established the Zoo at the Edge of the W
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
*Spoilers: The review is a way for me to remember the main parts of this story in the future. The connection between human and animal has always intrigued me. As a girl it was always a fantasy of mine to be able to communicate through speech with my pets. Marlin, the hero of this story has a speech impediment that prevents him from speaking well to other people. When his large and in-charge father brings a magical jaguar to their family zoo Marlin is gifted the ability to talk to animals. I love ...more
Leah Beecher
This was one of the most enjoyable read aloud books I have read in awhile.
It was a random library pick up which somehow makes it better.
This is what made the book so excellent:
1. The hero Marlin being a unique underdog character in that he has a handicap, but the book is not predictably all about overcoming a handicap or how society needs to except those with handicaps.
2. Lots of exciting, unpredictable, action and chapters that are not too long {perfect for reluctant readers and exhausted paren
A fast-paced, 19th century story about a young boy with a severe stutter who lives at the exotic South American zoo that his father created as a luxurious resort for wealthy tourists. Marlin is able to connect best with the animals at the zoo - he can talk easily when in their presence, and in the course of the story he becomes able to understand their language as well (thanks to the magic of a recently-captured black jaguar). Marlin is a sympathetic character who must confront some unpleasant t ...more
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-fiction, reviews
An interesting book. The main character is almost mute because if the bullying he receives from stuttering. While the bullying seemed extreme and the characters doing it shallow this is a book for younger children. This could have easily had more depth and back story if it was geared towards an older audience. The setting is interesting, exotic. What I liked the most was the views and explanation of the animals for human devices- while they could talk they were still very much portrayed as anima ...more
Corinne Wilson
You can't protect something and conquer it at the same time.

This is what Marlin realizes after a jaguar in his father's world famous zoo for rich British aristocrats gives him, the son who stutters too badly to speak, the ability to talk to animals. Including animals who are being fed to other animals, animals who never wanted to be there, and animals who want to go home. Marlin starts to realize that nothing in his life is what he thought, and he has to do something about it.

The romance didn'
Courtney Wallace
I will admit, I was hesitant to start this book because it deals with anthropomorphism, but I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of maturity is gives to a relatively child-like attribute. Gale does an amazing job of using animals to explain human emotions and create empathy for the main character. This definitely a coming of age novel but it's done in a round about way.
This is a story of friendship in unlikely places and learning that not everyone is as they appear to be. I would recommend
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All of my books have been inspired by my life. My first novel, The Bully Book, is a a comic mystery taken directly from my experiences being bullied in 6th grade. My second, The Zoo at the Edge of the World, is a fantasy prompted by my lifelong obsession with animals. And my newest book, The Wizard's Dog, is what I imagine my lovely dog, Bowser, would be like if he was granted magic powers. Life h ...more

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