Parents' Guide to

Belly Up: FunJungle, Book 1

By Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Clever, action-packed zoo mystery has some graphic parts.

Book Stuart Gibbs Mystery 2011
Belly Up: FunJungle, Book 1 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 13+

An inventive and fun mystery with a few caveats

An inventive and fun mystery set at a new zoo / theme park in Texas. Due to the animal theme, I was expecting the story to be targeted at a younger audience. However, like the author's other main series, Spy School, this first entry contains a surprising amount of swearing from the adult characters in the book. But Gibbs dials that back a good deal for the later books in the series. Still, I plan to skip this series for my younger daughter until she's a few years older. Also as the Common Sense review mentions, there is a scene where the main character (12) and an older teen girl strip down to their underwear to enter a pool as they investigate a hippo's murder. There are also a variety of gross out scenes describing dead animals being autopsied, and one where a hippo's carcass drops from a height and explodes in a gory wave over a bunch of bystanders.

This title has:

Too much swearing
1 person found this helpful.
age 14+

Not for kids under 14

My 9 year old just finished this book and while he enjoyed it, he reported several curse words and "extensive use of the word crap". He did not feel that these words added to the story, instead they were distracting and useless. The story was hilarious and offered a good mystery, but he said there were too many swear words.

This title has:

Too much swearing
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3):
Kids say (13):

From Stuart Gibbs, the same author who wrote the clever, madcap Spy School and Spy Camp, BELLY UP offers just as much thrill, suspense, and teen boy hilarity, only this time, at a zoo. Here, Teddy Fitzroy's another precocious kid who's misunderstood or whose talents are quite recognized in his particular setting, but who works to earn respect, overcome assumptions, and win the day. There are graphic descriptions here that could be off-putting to the faint of heart, and a few fat jokes that don't quite seem necessary. At times Fitzroy's voice is a bit more adult-like than one might expect from a 12-year-old boy, and the jokes can be a little dated, but this is a fun, engaging read that moves through suspense as if it written for the big screen.

Kids interested in animals, research, or science will find a lot to engage with here, and parents can appreciate a book that continually reasserts the importance of research, ethics, and science in the treatment of animals and dealings within the adult world.

Book Details

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