Whale Done (FunJungle #8)

 
4.7 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
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Whale Done (FunJungle #8)
Author(s)
Age Range
8+
Release Date
February 21, 2023
ISBN
978-1534499317
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In the eighth novel in New York Times bestselling Stuart Gibbs’s FunJungle series, Teddy Fitzroy returns as FunJungle’s resident sleuth to find the culprits behind a blown-up whale and a string of beach sand thefts.

After an escaped kangaroo starts a fire that burns down his house, Teddy Fitzroy accepts an invitation to go to Malibu with his girlfriend, Summer, and her mother, Kandace. He’s hoping to spend some time relaxing on the beach, but wherever Teddy goes, trouble isn’t far behind.

First, a massive dead whale has washed up on the beach—and before anyone can determine what killed it, it explodes. Doc, the head vet from FunJungle, suspects something fishy is going on and ropes Teddy and Summer into helping him investigate.

Then, Teddy stumbles upon yet another mystery involving tons of stolen sand. And the paparazzi start spreading rumors about Summer dating a celebrity, leading Teddy to question their relationship.

Without Summer as his trusted partner, can Teddy navigate the rough waters of this glitzy world and uncover what’s going on?

Editor reviews

2 reviews
A Whale of a Time
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
When an inconsiderate worker sets off fire crackers near FunJungle when the weather has been very dry and a kangaroo is spooked, a horrible fire burns down the substandard employee trailer park. Because JJ McCracken, the owner, has always been concerned about the threat of fire, he is prepared with crews that save the zoo, if not the housing or surrounding area. Teddy doesn't have a place to stay; his father is off to Argentina, and his mother can sleep in her office at the zoo. When his girlfriend Summer suggests that he goes with her and her mother to visit California, his parents can't really object. They are staying in an exclusive beachfront community with Binka, a model friend of Summer's mother. Also along is Doc, who is visiting the marine animal center in Long Beach. When an enormous whale is found dead on the beach, Teddy and Summer want to investigate. Cass, a scientist tasked with performing an autopsy on the animal, is willing to talk to the kids when she realizes they have a scientific interest, and Doc takes a shine to her and wants to help. When the whale explodes in a spectacularly messy way, Teddy gets involved in the investigation. At first, it seems like it might just be a college prank, and two local Harvard students are implicated, but Cass and Doc soon realize that the amount of explosives involved are not something they could have put in place. There's also a local beach resident who claims that the beach is disappearing, and it does look like sand is disappearing. This isn't FunJungle, though, and Summer seems to be interested in hanging out with people other than Teddy. Will he be able to able to solve the mystery without her?
Good Points
Like the Texas adventure in Tyrannosaurus Wrecks and the Yellowstone excursion in Bear Bottom , it's good to see Teddy and Summer being able to venture away from the zoo. Summer's background gives them the wealth and privilige to be able to do this, while Teddy's family's problems ground him. There's enough goofiness (like the exploding whale) to make this appealing to younger readers, and enough ecological mystery to appeal to older ones. Teddy's relationship with Summer sees some ups and downs; all 8 books of the series take place over a very short period of time even though the first was published in 2010, so this is realistic. Summer's celebrity, being used to hawk eco-conscious clothing, is appealing. There are some excellent villains, some animal highjinks, and, of course, Teddy's uncanny ability to solve the case. I very much appreciate that Gibbs' addresses environmental issues in his books, and also that he is responsive to reader suggestions and crafted a marine adventure after getting a lot of requests. Perhaps Teddy and Summer need to follow Doc and Cass to Baja so that Gibbs can write stories to go with titles that were suggested, like Twist and Spout and License to Krill.

The villains have improved since the first FunJungle book, but I would like to see them with a little more nuance. I'm a fan of characters who read a bit gray, although my students never complain about ones that are more black and white.

These books are a little easier to read out of order than the Spy School series, which is really helpful when I have a lot of students reading through them. These are always such fun, and do get better with each installment. I'm looking forward to seeing what happend next, but it may be time to return to FunJungle for a bit! It also might be fun if Teddy and Summer traveled to the National Zoo and ran into Ben Ripley!
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This book is Whale Done
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
From beginning to end this was a wonderful addition to the FunJungle series. We start with a riveting play-by-play Stuart Gibbs-style catastrophe scene only he could write in which a kangaroo, Texas drought, and Kevin the bungling Funjungle employee cause a fire that burns down the employees’ mobile homes.
Without a place to stay for the summer, it is not difficult to convince Teddy’s parents to let him join Summer and her mother on a trip to swanky friends in California. It is not long before Teddy is involved in two mysteries to solve.
Among the sleuthing, Teddy and Summer’s relationship hits some bumps as they have their first true fight. This was well done as they are maturing and wanting to be more official in status. I understand Summer’s stance that keeping mention of Teddy out of social media keeps him out of the pressure and rumor mill she can’t avoid. However, it wouldn’t be realistic if Teddy stayed fine with the tabloid pictures, and rumors of her dating stars didn’t bother him. In the ultra-swanky world of the rich, he is treated as riffraff. If they hope to stay together long-term then they will have to face this hurdle.
While this was a fun mystery story in the Funjungle series, I appreciate the new information provided on the dire state of our marine life. As someone living in a landlocked state most of what was presented was new information. I didn’t know beach sand is preferred over dessert sand and is such a huge part of our modern construction from concrete to glass that stolen sand is a real problem. The amount of plastic in the oceans is not new information but the severity of it was alarming. This was a wonderful book to raise awareness for middle-grade audiences who are looking for their place in the world and a cause to get behind. If nothing else it makes you look around at the amount of plastic consumption and waste that we are all a part of and hopefully sparks the question, what can I do to help?
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