Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great characters, mystery, action, laughs
Cons: A couple of short passages that are lectures
The Bottom Line:
Dinosaur skull gone
Mixed in with dangerous pets
A fun book for all
Hunting a Dinosaur Skull
It’s always a delight to escape into a favorite series, and one of those for me is the FunJungle series from Stuart Gibbs. Yes, they are middle grade mysteries, but they are so delightfully fun that all ages will enjoy them, and Tyrannosaurus Wrecks is no exception.
These books are set in the hill country of Texas and usually take place inside FunJungle itself. FunJungle is a combination zoo and amusement park. This book actually spends very little time in the park and instead mostly takes place in the nearby area. Our main character is Teddy Fitzroy. Both of his parents work in the park, so he has free reign most of the time. That’s gotten him involved in a few mysteries, so when his friend, Sage, is in trouble, he naturally turns to Teddy for help.
Sage has been keeping a secret. A few weeks ago, he discovered a Tyrannosaurus Rex skull on his family’s ranch. A team from a local university has come in and started excavating the area to uncover the entire skeleton, but the morning after a rain storm, the skull is gone. No one knew about it, and it is extremely heavy. So, who moved it? And how did they get it out of the area?
Meanwhile, Teddy gets a frantic call from the Barksdale twins. Their new pet is causing issues for them, and they think Teddy can help. This leads him to get involved hunting down the someone selling exotic pets in the area. Can Teddy solve both mysteries?
As you can tell, there is a lot going on in this book. Both plots share focus, weaving in and out of the book and dividing Teddy’s attention. Fortunately, he is up to the challenge and brings both cases to a great climax. Once again, I felt rather foolish for not picking up on some of the clues early on, but once Teddy pieces them together, it makes perfect sense.
With the zoo setting, this series touches on endangered animals in every book. At times, that can boarder on lectures, and this book falls into that trap a couple of times. However, it isn’t long before we are off following clues and getting into danger again.
And make no mistake about it, Teddy and his friends face danger. There were several scenes that had me on the edge of my seat, turning pages as quickly as I could.
Teddy is surrounded by a great cast of characters, as always. It’s a pleasure to see all of them again. Any new characters we meet here are just as enjoyable.
I started out mentioning how fun this series is. I was laughing at some of the situations Teddy was in and the various character’s reactions to the events. It certainly helps if you already know the characters, but you can easily pick up this book and enjoy it without that background.
I also mentioned at the outset that this series is aimed at middle graders. That hasn’t stopped me from enjoying the books in the series. If you know a middle grader, you should definitely think about getting these books for him or her. And, the responsible thing to do is read them first, right? At least, that’s the excuse you can use to enjoy them yourself.
So be sure to pick up Tyrannosaurus Wrecks. Readers of all ages will enjoy getting involved in this mystery.