Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs
Simon & Schuster, 2010
This is one of the books on the 2012 Lone Star Reading List, a list of 20 suggested titles for 6th, 7th and 8th graders, and before the list came out, it wasn't a book familiar to me. Always up for a good mystery, I quickly put it on hold at the library.
Twelve-year-old Teddy Fitzroy has a murder to solve. Henry the Hippo, the mascot of FunJungle, the huge. new impressive zoo where both of Teddy's parents work, has been found belly up in his pool. And, there is no shortage of people who are not exactly fans of Henry.
Teddy sneaks into the hippo's autopsy, which is how he discovers the hippo was murdered, something FunJungle is trying to cover up. He has attempts on his life, and finds himself working with the beautiful daughter of FunJungle's owner, although he's not always sure he can trust her.
Gibbs used to work at the Philadelphia Zoo, and his knowledge of animals is evident. An engaging, strong mystery, I think the sprinkling of facts throughout this book may also help it appeal to readers who typically lean toward nonfiction. And, for the boys, there are several references to animal poop.
Reviewed from library copy