The Zoo at the Edge of the World by Eric Kahn Gale #BookReview

Title: The Zoo at the Edge of the World | Author: Eric Kahn Gale | Publisher: Balzer + Bray  | Pub. Date: 2014-8-26 | Pages: 240 | ISBN13: 9780062125163 | Genre: Fantasy | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Date Read: 2016-1-17 | Source: Library | Available on Kindle Unlimited? No

The Zoo at the Edge of the World

Marlin is not slow, or mute; what he is is a stutterer, and that makes it impossible for him to convince people otherwise. What he is also is a Rackham: the youngest son of the world-famous explorer Roland Rackham, who is the owner and proprietor of the Zoo at the Edge of the World, a resort where the well-to-do from all over the world can come to experience the last bit of the wild left in the world at the end of the nineteenth century.

In order to impress a powerful duke who comes to visit the zoo, Marlin’s father ventures into the jungle and brings back a mysterious black jaguar, now the only one in captivity. Everyone is terrified of the jaguar, including Marlin—until one night, when the jaguar confers upon him a powerful gift. Soon Marlin finds himself with a difficult choice to make and, finally, something to say. If only he can figure out how to say it.

Book cover for The Zoo at the Edge of the World

The Zoo at the Edge of the World Review

he 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 start to happen, with the arrival of the jaguar, everything quickly snowballs and you’re left – at the end of the book – feeling pretty sorry for the kid, regardless of how it ends.

I don’t really think this book should have been in the little kids section at the library. Yes, the characters are younger, but quite honestly every thing that this kid goes through should have rightfully earned him a place on the Teen Section at least. I know I wouldn’t read this book to anyone under the age of 10, at the very least. It would go completely over their head!

It provides some thought-provoking talk about the basic idea of if you can truly conquer something and be its protector at the same time. It has a main character that suffers from a disability (which is becoming something you see more often, but is still not commonplace). It’s about a young boy discovering his self-worth, and learning to stand up for himself. Its also about growing up, even though its growing up too soon.

Unfortunately I don’t feel like I can go into more detail without spoiling, so I’ll just end with this is a great book that was written with obvious talent (the author is the same dude who wrote The Bully Book, and it should definitely go on your list of books to check out when you get a few minutes. There are elements of historical-fiction, fantasy, and action/adventure. Well worth your time.

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For more information about Disability in Kids Lit, there’s a wonderful site that’s called (appropriately enough) DisabilityinKidLit . Go check it out!

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