Big Game: FunJungle, Book 3

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Big Game: FunJungle, Book 3 Book Poster Image
Smart and funny sequel grapples with ethics of hunting.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 8+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Fascinating facts about elephants, apes, and other animals, and a behind-the-scenes look at how a zoo operates. Respectful debate on ethical issues with hunting and wildlife conservation practices.

Positive Messages

Ethical issues are rarely black-and-white, and informed people can reasonably disagree and debate without disparaging each other. It's important to protect those who are vulnerable. It's often easy to come up with possible suspects, but jumping to conclusions can obscure the truth.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Teddy is focused on the safety and welfare of the animals and loyal to his family. He's somewhat empathetic toward adults with whom he doesn't always see eye to eye. Everyone affiliated with the zoo is concerned for the animals' safety.

Violence & Scariness

Plot centers on efforts to protect a captive rhino from a poacher and includes a dangerous pursuit through panicked, stampeding animals and a close encounter with armed hunter in a precarious setting above crocodiles. Wealthy girl has bodyguard to protect her from feared violence. Angry parent physically threatens other adults over treatment of a child.


Some insulting descriptions of an overweight security officer and a family with a bad reputation. Someone is called a "jerk."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Big Game -- the third mystery in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs (Spy School) -- is about hunting, both legal and illegal. There's extensive, nuanced discussion of hunting and the ways it can both help and hinder conservation efforts. A 12-year-old boy is manipulated by a powerful adult to deceive his parents and put himself in harm's way to try to find out who's shooting at an endangered animal in the zoo. There are some cartoonish stereotypes, including a shrill, overweight female security officer and a manipulative wealthy businessman. Some of the adults are very harsh and aggressive when dealing with children.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written byCLEETUSyeetus March 23, 2021

Fun book, kinda sterotypical and makes hunting seem like a horrible disgusting thing.

While it's mostly a harmless fun book I had two issues. 1 it makes hunting seem like a disgusting horrible thing. Which Its NOT. In fact, deer hunting actu... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old January 8, 2021
an interesting page turner my only critice is I wanted more book to read.

What's the story?

Everyone at FunJungle is horrified when someone takes a shot at Rhonda, an endangered Asian greater one-horned rhino in the final days of her lengthy pregnancy. Twelve-year-old Teddy, whose parents work at the zoo, suspects someone is trying to get Rhonda's horn to sell on the black market. But who? Teddy's efforts to sift through suspects are complicated by the fact that he's suspected by a security guard of being behind a series of disastrous break-ins at eateries around the safari park. As the zoo's staff trys to figure out the best way to protect their rhinos, the persistent poacher is putting everyone in danger -- including Teddy.

Is it any good?

Animal lovers, thoughtful conservationalists, and fans of whodunits will find this zoo mystery an absorbing, exciting read. BIG GAME offers an impassioned argument for protecting endangered animals as part of a multifaceted look at hunting and conflicting philosophies about wildlife management. Stuart Gibbs throws in plenty of juvenile humor (often in the form of animal poop) to keep the story light and fun.

The storytelling can be uneven: A nighttime chase through stampeding animals is gripping, but another chase high above a crocodile pit feels confusing and forced. Teddy seems a smart, independent kid, but often he seems to be reacting rather than taking initiative on his own. Still, it's an engaging mystery that challenges readers to think long and hard about their relationship with wildlife, both in sanctuaries and in the wild.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the way hunting and poaching are addressed in the story. Did you learn anything that changed your view of hunting or poaching?

  • How do you think this book compares with others in the series? Is it as good? Is it as funny?

  • Some of the adults treat Teddy very unfairly. Do you think these characters are at all realistic or like any adults you know?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mysteries and conservation tales

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