Teddy Fitzroy’s back for another zoo mystery—this time it’s a koala caper—in this action-packed follow-up to Belly Up, which Kirkus Reviews called “great fun.” School troublemaker Vance Jessup thinks Teddy Fitzroy’s home at FunJungle, a state-of-the-art zoo and theme park, is the perfect place for a cruel prank. Vance bullies Teddy into his scheme, but the plan goes terribly awry. Teddy sneaks into the koala exhibit to hide out until the chaos dies down. But when the koala goes missing, Teddy is the only person caught on camera entering and exiting the exhibit. Teddy didn’t commit the crime—but if he can’t find the real culprit, he’ll be sent to juvie as a convicted koala-napper.
More fun than a barrel of... koalas!
In this sequel to Belly Up, Teddy is back and in more trouble than ever. School Bully Vance has dared him to put mannequin arms in the shark tank to incite panic (even though Teddy points out that sharks really don't like to eat humans), and the ensuing melee ends with Teddy realizing that Kazoo, the visiting koala, is missing... and he is now the prime suspect. Large Marge is ready to slap the cuffs on him right away, based on the strength of his previous peccadilloes, but Teddy knows that he may be Kazoo's only chance to be found before he starves to death due to lack of eucalyptus leaves. Teddy is suspicious of everyone, and it's not easy to surreptitiously observe everyone, so at one point he finds himself donning a giant Kazoo costume! He gathers a lot of evidence, solving two other mysteries before locating the actual culprit and exonerating himself.
Once again, Gibbs has given us an intriguing mystery with lots of good clues and twists. I don't know why I thought that cover to Belly Up wasn't good-- I was so glad to see that this sequel had the same style, which I rather like now! The details of running an animal park are great-- everything from food for the animals, to staffing, to possible competitors. I really liked Summer McCracken, and was a bit sad that she didn't appear more.