Reviews for Menagerie


Booklist Reviews 2013 May #1
Logan and his dad have moved to sleepy Xanadu, Wyoming, in hopes of discovering the whereabouts of Logan's missing mother. The name of the town is no coincidence, for within its boundaries lies a secret zoo of mythical creatures operated by a direct descendant of Kubla Kahn. Logan's classmate Zoe Kahn is in a pickle because six baby griffins have escaped under her watch, and she is going to be in big trouble if they don't all end up back in their enclosure. Logan and Zoe, along with their friend Blue, cleverly (and secretly) set out to track down the griffins and figure out who let them escape in the first place. Full to bursting with animated fantasy creatures, such as a histrionic phoenix who erupts into flame whenever no one pays him enough attention and a pair of haughty, passive-aggressive unicorns, this silly, delightful story begs to be read aloud. Thanks to a cliff-hanger ending and a brand new mystery on the horizon, animal lovers will eagerly anticipate more Logan and Zoe adventures. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
When Logan stumbles upon a griffin cub, he learns that his quiet new town houses a secret Menagerie full of real-life mythical creatures. Logan and the animals' caretakers don't have much time to scour the town for the five remaining escaped cubs before the zoo is set for inspection. The narrative urgency and unique animals will hook readers in anticipation for book two.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 February #1
Numerous books have successfully built on a premise of human interaction with mythical creatures, but this one is overstuffed and convoluted. When Logan and his father move to the small town of Xanadu, Wyo., he becomes involved in the search for six missing griffin cubs from the Menagerie. The action is as wild and wooly as a mammoth, with those prehistoric beasts, unicorns, mermaids and hellhounds and other creatures appearing around every corner. In the space of one day, Logan complains, "my clothes have been set on fire by a phoenix, drowned by a kelpie, rolled on by a mammoth, clawed and nibbled by griffin cubs, and drenched in kraken ink." Can he help classmate Zoe and her family save the Menagerie from being shut down by SNAPA (SuperNatural Animal Protection Agency)? Driven by the plot, the characters lack depth; the creatures provide heft, but there are too many, too conveniently introduced. Pop-culture references--The Hunger Games, the Pirates of the Caribbean films, Wheel of Fortune--feel like pandering and will date the book. One clever touch is Logan's ability to communicate with the opinionated griffin cubs. Book 2 will pick up from the last sentence of the abrupt ending: "Someone had murdered the goose who laid the golden eggs." Unfortunately, the story itself lays an egg. For a really magical book about mythical animals, readers should try The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, by Patricia McKillip (1974). (Fantasy. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 May

Gr 5-8--A new arrival in small-town Xanadu, Wyoming, seventh-grader Logan spends more time than he'd like to thinking about his mother's mysterious disappearance. His life becomes exciting when he discovers a baby griffin under his bed. No bigger than a puppy, Squorp turns out to be an escapee from the Menagerie, a zoo filled with mythical creatures and run by his classmate Zoe and her family. Logan soon finds himself teamed up with Zoe and her merman friend, Blue, to find five other griffin runaways. As he helps track them down, the truth about his mother's secret life begins to surface. Meanwhile, members of SNAPA, the organization in charge of all menageries, will arrive soon for an inspection and if everything is not up to par the place will be shut down. Can the trio get the griffins back in time? Who really was Logan's mom? The characters are likable, unique, and well developed, and the narrative is filled with lively dialogue and humor. The creatures, including a pair of snooty unicorns and a charismatic but murderous kelpie, are delightful. The authors do a great job of creating an attention-grabbing magical world within the realistic setting. Readers who enjoy books like Brandon Mull's Fablehaven (Aladdin, 2007) will soak up the intermixing of mythological information and mystery. The first in a series, this page-turning fantasy will fly off library shelves.--Kira Moody, Whitmore Public Library, Salt Lake City, UT

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