Sunday, January 15, 2023

Today's review... Whale Done by Stuart Gibbs

Today's read is the eighth in a series, which I have not visited yet. Which isn't a surprise, since I have a tendency of diving right in. I do like the idea of an entire series written around animals, and after enjoying several books from the Spy School series, have no doubt that these will be well written and hold more than a little excitement. But who knows? First, we're going to dive in and find out!

FunJungle #8
by Stuart Gibbs
Simon Schuster
Middle Grade Mystery
317 pages
ages 8 to 12

FEBRUARY 23rd!!!

After an escaped kangaroo starts a fire that burns down his house, Teddy Fitzroy accepts an invitation to go to Malibu with his girlfriend, Summer, and her mother, Kandace. He’s hoping to spend some time relaxing on the beach, but wherever Teddy goes, trouble isn’t far behind.

First, a massive dead whale has washed up on the beach—and before anyone can determine what killed it, it explodes. Doc, the head vet from FunJungle, suspects something fishy is going on and ropes Teddy and Summer into helping him investigate.

Then, Teddy stumbles upon yet another mystery involving tons of stolen sand. And the paparazzi start spreading rumors about Summer dating a celebrity, leading Teddy to question their relationship.

Without Summer as his trusted partner, can Teddy navigate the rough waters of this glitzy world and uncover what’s going on?



Adventure meets animals, mystery, zoology, and even ecological themes as well as enough tension to make it fun.

Teddy's parents work and live at FunJungle. When fireworks and a kangaroo collide, the entire surrounding forest and employee housing goes down in flames, although the park remains fine. While his parents will sleep and live in the office until new homes are built, Teddy takes his friend up on the offer to spend time at her mother's friend's house in California along with the head doctor of FunJungle. While there, a whale explodes all over the beach...and the mystery begins.

While this is the 8th book in the series, it's the first one I've picked up. And that wasn't a problem. The tale can be read as a stand-alone.

This was a nice balance of adventure, fun, friendship, mystery, and information, too. Teddy and Summer work well together, but as with real friends, do have moments where they understand each other better than others. It creates a natural relationship and makes the two easy to root for as they solve the mystery and deal with other issues.

I do enjoy the animal twist and added information this series includes. Teddy and Summer know their way around creatures/animals, which allows a smooth addition of facts and information without ever feeling as if it's being purposely pushed into the tale. It just flows right in. The ecology side isn't any different. Modern concerns about the environment weave into the mystery and experiences Teddy collecting trash while walking through exploded whale guts along the beach (sounds a little strange but it works). 

While there is this learning goodness, it's the quick-paced adventure, which makes this enjoyable to read. Something is always happening, and it's hard to see what's coming next. Not only does Teddy have to figure out what's happening with the whale and the disappearing beach, but even the other characters have their own personalities and problems. There's family, relationships and friendship, too. The villain was also well-placed, and while not carrying quite as much depth, offered a worthy adventure for Teddy to work with.

It's a smooth read packed with information and excitement, and I'm looking forward to see what will come next (and I'll be heading back to see what other adventures Teddy has already had).


Ms. Yingling said...

This series is very popular with my students, as is the Spy School one, and they are all fun to read! I'm curious to see how they rebuild the employee living facilities!

Tonja Drecker said...

Funny that you say that about the housing because I was wondering the same thing myself! That could build an entire subplot on its own because who knows what direction it will go.