Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Zoe in Wonderland” as Want to Read:
Zoe in Wonderland
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Zoe in Wonderland

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  294 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Coretta Scott King Honor winner Brenda Woods introduces introverted, daydream-prone Zoe, who’s afraid her real life will never be as exciting as her imaginary one.
Zoe Reindeer considers herself “just Zoe”—never measuring up to her too-perfect older sister or her smarty-pants little brother. Truthfully, though, she’d rather just blend in with the plants at the family bus
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published August 16th 2016 by Nancy Paulsen Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Zoe in Wonderland, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Zoe in Wonderland

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  294 ratings  ·  73 reviews

Sort order
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: green, j, realistic
Dibs for SRP 2017, TRLers. :)
I was totally charmed by this. Zoe Reindeer has a really strong voice, and I was in it from the first sentence.
Two of the books I considered booktalking to elementary school students in 2017 had eerily similar covers, to the point that I felt I couldn't promote both of them. This one won out after a quick assessment (the other one was Two Naomis).

I loved the planty illustrations at the beginning of each chapter. I loved her unique voice. And I was pulled throug
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much; I read it in two days. I think this book would be great for middle school girls, especially 6th or 7th grade. Most children will be able to relate to Zoe, her siblings, her relationships at school and her finding herself.
Lauren H
this was great i loved it
Rachel Rooney
Sep 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, jf, fiction
A 2018-2019 Missouri Mark Twain Readers Award preliminary nominee (grades 4-6).

Zoe G. Reindeer loves plants, hanging out with her best friend Quincy, and the family business, Doc Reindeer's Exotic Plant Wonderland. When a man from Madagascar asks about a rare plant that they do not carry, Zoe decides to grow one from a seed, and thus begins a season of transformation for everyone.

This is not a fast-moving book, but more of a character-study, but I really enjoyed it. I liked Zoe and her family an
Jan 08, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle Martineau
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cute book. Nothing extraordinary to comment on, but it was a sweet story.
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A very special story about a young girl and her many special and unique relationships. Loved it!
Avery Santos
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
In the book " Zoe In Wonderland" by Brenda Woods, there is a girl named Zoe, Zoe's brother named Harper, Zoe's sister named Jade, Zoe's mom named Gabby, Zoe's father named Darrow and Zoe's best friend named Quincy. Zoe G. Reindeer did NOT like her last name! She hated it. Everybody complains about it but nobody changes it. She especially does not like her last name when it comes around Christmas time. All of the name calling and jokes. Zoe's father, Darrow works in a plant shop that is called " ...more
Dawn Moews
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: n1
What is like to be ordinary when no one else in your family is? The most extraordinary thing about Zoe is her name--Zoe G. Reindeer. With a very popular older sister and a very intelligent younger brother, middle child Zoe struggles with her place in the family and in society. How can she be someone special?

Zoe loves spending time working in the family business: Doc Reindeer's Exotic Plant Wonderland. However, she is now old enough to realize that the business is not exactly a financial success
Ms. Yingling
Jan 01, 2016 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Zoe Reindeer lives with her family at their business, Doc Reindeer’s Exotic Plant Wonderland. Her older sister, Jade, is an obnoxious teenage cheerleader who does exercises to make her butt bigger, and her brother, Harper, is a math whiz whom her parents seem to favor. Zoe feels that she is "just Zoe", and some of the kids at school pick on her because she is quiet and wears "geek"glasses. She does have a very good friend, Quincy, and the two of them send a
Lovely, refreshing story with an African American 11 year old girl as the protagonist. Dreamy and prone to thinking about what "Imaginary Zoe" would do, she sometimes gets in trouble. Told from her perspective--like creating lists of what is not my fault and two things that are absolutely my fault. One that is not, is that her last name is really Reindeer and her daddy's business is really Doc Reindeer's Exotic Plant Wonderland. She likes to putter around in the Wonderland. Her older sister is t ...more
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
"If they gave awards for being boring, I'd get a gold medal."

Zoe G. Reindeer isn't very good at making friends. In fact, she often spends time in daydreams, or as "Imaginary Zoe," which is way more exciting. After all, her older sister, Jade, has tons of friends and younger brother, Harper, is practically a genius. How can just plain Zoe compete with that? She does, however, have one very good friend, Quincy. Quincy's interest in film-making always makes things more exciting.

And Zoe loves spend
Erin Moses
Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Eleven year old Zoe Reindeer is a daydreamer. She sees herself as “just Zoe,” but often spends time thinking of “Imaginary Zoe” who is talented, popular and already has her driver’s license. Between her social older sister and genius younger brother, Zoe finds herself stuck in the middle. Zoe enjoys her days at her family’s exotic plant store, and hanging out with her best friend Quincy. When an peculiar customer visits the store, Zoe is awestruck and inspired. The book follows Zoe through inter ...more
Amanda Harrison
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Despite the title, Zoe in Wonderland is a realistic novel set almost entirely in California. However, it contains a bit of real magic in the guise of a South African jet propulsion lab worker, a baobab tree, and a greenhouse.

While Zoe describes herself as boring she is actually a strong character and her voice rings very true. While I sometimes chided her for not knowing some basic information (she seems young for her age), I honestly found her a bit refreshing as she is quite true to many youn
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am participating in a group of Twitter friends that are reading, sharing and responding to recent middle grade novels. Hopefully, we will be able to find books that will excite the young readers in our classrooms and help us to teach important literacy skills and concepts in the coming year. Our group's handle is #BookRelays if you would like to see what we're reading and how we respond to these books.

I was very excited to dig into my first ARC as a part of this group. Nancy Paulsen was very k
Kelly Snyder
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you need a good wholesome book that has a good ending then Zoe in Wonderland is for you. This book doesn't cover anything new, but it does a great job of showing the feelings a little girl who, as she puts it, is "just Zoe." Really Zoe doesn't see herself as any thing but just plain, nothing special and maybe a little weird. Like her dad she loves plants and can't imagine a life without them that is until a tall man from Madagascar walks into Wonderland and sees something special in Zoe. The ...more
Joanne Roberts
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a quick and easy read with endearing characters and a unique setting. Great voice. The story reminds me of a Sharon Creech novel: a quirky main character trying to find her way, living in an unusual setting, dealing with the ups and downs of life. I read a review that not much happens in this book, but I disagree. I think the character arc is plain, and one the target audience will relate to. This is not a book about an event, but a book about a life. I believe in happy endings, so I ha ...more
Teresa Edmunds
Sep 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I picked up this book because of the wonderful cover. This story about an eleven year old girl dealing with self-esteem issues, loss, fitting in, and change is a universal tale. Zoe isn't confident like her older sister and isn't as smart as her younger brother. She loves to help her father in his greenhouse and being with her best, and only, friend Quincy. One day a man walks into her dad's plant shop and asks about a baobab tree. Zoe and Quincy decide to grow one of these mysterious, endangere ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Woods, Brenda Zoe in Wonderland, 196 pages. Penguin Random House. 2016. $17. Language: G (0 swears, 0 "f"); Mature Content: G; Violence: G;

Zoe is an imaginative young girl who feels like she just can't find her place. Her family owns a plant nursery on the property where they live. One day an intriguing man comes to the nursery and changes her life and her world.

Zoe is a charming character that is full of creativity and whimsy. She is easy to relate to and makes you think about the world you liv
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
When Zoe is having problems with school or siblings, her go-to spot is the Wonderland, her father's exotic plant nursery. But when faced with a snippy older sister, a sneaky younger brother, a best friend leaving on an extended visit to another town, and mean girls at school, will even the Wonderland be enough? Plus, she hears her dad and mom talking about money problems. Will they have to sell Zoe's refuge?

Despite the title, this is realistic fiction. I found the writing strong, the characters
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Definitely good for discussion. African American family, without race being a real topic - casual diversity. Zoe is very shy, but getting out of it. Family feels fairly realistic. Different kinds of smart (between Harper and Zoe and even big sister Jade - who is socially smart).

Not much plot. More a character study. A lot happens, but she doesn’t make much happen. I see how the scientist from the jet propulsion lab is necessary to get the story started, but he kept coming back and giving her boo
Not a lot of action, but Zoe Reindeer is an interesting and fun character to spend some time with: she has a very active imagination, but is shy and kind of lost between a pretty/outgoing sibling and a smart sibling. The family lives in the back of a plant store in Pasadena, and one day a man from Madagascar comes into the store looking for a Baobab tree, the "tree of life". Can her amazing imagination be a positive, rather than a distraction as she day dreams instead of doing chores? For grades ...more
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Gr. 4-5
This is a realistic fiction book about an eleven year old girl named Zoe. Her dad is a horticulturalist for endangered plants. She slips into fantasyland every other minute - kind of weird - and these parts are written in italics. The plant store the family owns is called Wonderland because they have lots of unusual plants for sale. There is nothing wrong with this but it is kind of slow to start with regards to the plot. I would probably skip it. I read 3 chapters/15 pages and was ready for a n ...more
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
The setting seemed interesting, and in some ways it delivered on its intentions, but it could have been delivered in other ways, too. In the end, too much seemed forced, and too little spoke to me, even though it seems like it should have been able to. I did like some of the family relationship directions at the end, which had bothered me earlier. Overall, not a bad book, but not too exciting either.
Oct 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Zoe and her family live in California where her father runs an exotic plant nursery called "Wonderland." She's a bit of an outcast, but has one good friend who is leaving the area. But this isn't her only problem--her family has financial worries and she is determined to find an endangered tree. It all comes together in the end, though there are a few surprises. Good realistic fiction, with strong African American family --for grades 4-6
Pam Schwartz
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm so glad I read this. It's realistic fiction featuring a protagonist who doesn't quite no where she fits in or how to feel about that, but never is never whiny. I don't want to give too much away, but Zoe must deal with making friends, losing friends, illness, and moving. I love the way everything is handled. Realistically dramatic is how I would describe it, and I would recommend it to 4th graders and up. It would also be appropriate for a strong reader in 3rd grade.
Erin Fowler
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Zoe G Reindeer has an amazing imagination. She doesn't really fit in and has only one friend in the world, a boy named Quincy. Zoe has taken it upon herself to learn about an endangered tree and with the help of her friend they try to grow the trees and surprise her dad. Zoe is faced with some challenges that she must confront. Will she be unraveled by these challenges or will she rise above them? Read to find out!
Lacey Louwagie
May 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
A fun, sweet coming-of-age book about a daydreaming loner whose interest in the world beyond her mind is just beginning to be awakened. Well-drawn secondary characters, especially Zoe's next-door neighbor, and deals eloquently with some tough topics (cancer, financial instability, senility) without feeling too heavy.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ohhhh Zoe! It's hard to fit in when you have a last name like Reindeer, you love science and plants, and you frequently lose yourself in your daydreams. There were moments I laughed out loud and some made me a little teary. I read this with my 5th grade daughter and we had great conversations about family, friends, and being yourself.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Perfect Place
  • Ava and Taco Cat (Ava and Pip #2)
  • Hooray for Anna Hibiscus!
  • Dara Palmer's Major Drama
  • President of the Whole Fifth Grade
  • The Ambrose Deception
  • Poems in the Attic
  • A Whole New Ballgame (Rip and Red, #1)
  • Secret Saturdays
  • In Plain Sight
  • A Song for Bijou
  • Doodlebug: A Novel in Doodles
  • Home Court (STAT: Standing Tall and Talented, #1)
  • The Great Hamster Massacre
  • Eighth-Grade Superzero
  • Amelia Rules! Volume 3: Superheroes (Amelia Rules! #3)
  • Tiny Infinities
  • The Friendship Matchmaker (The Friendship Matchmaker #1)
“years, but so far that’s all it’s been—talk. “We could sell it,” Jade said. “Sell what?” Mom asked. “The Weirdland. I mean, if it’s not making enough money, what’s the point? It’s a stupid place to live, anyway. If we sell it, we can live somewhere normal,” Jade answered. “It’s not called the Weirdland,” I reminded her again. “I’ll call it whatever I want to call it!” Jade informed me in her snippy way. Mom spoke up. “We are not selling the Wonderland. It’s your daddy’s life.” Jade kept yapping, “I’m just saying . . .” Mom frowned. “Not another word, Miss.” Miss was code for “if you have good sense, you’ll shut up now.” And Jade did. When we got home, I found Daddy trimming his bonsai trees and plants. He was whistling a tune the way he sometimes does when he’s happily working. The sound of his whistling always makes me smile. Over and over, from the time I was little, I’d tried to learn how, putting my lips together and blowing. But no matter what, I’d only been able to produce the sound of plain old air, and after I’d failed for what felt like the hundredth time, I’d finally given up. “Howdeedoo, Zoe,” he said when he saw me. There were no customers around that I could see and I wondered if any had come in. “Any” 0 likes
More quotes…