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The Secret of Zoom Paperback – March 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 770L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Square Fish (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312659334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312659332
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #640,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This exciting tale, with just a touch of fantasy and humor, is a winner. . . . Jonell displays pitch-perfect skills in an expertly crafted story that never flags and that includes plenty of heart-stopping situations to keep readers fully engaged.”—School Library Journal, Starred Review
 
“Plenty of quirky imagination, off-kilter energy, and looping thrills.”—Booklist
 
“Eccentric and entertaining.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“Jonell takes readers into the secretive and strange world of young Christina Adnoid. . . . The heroic antics of Christina and Taft and the imaginative details Jonell includes make this an adventure worth embarking on.”—Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Lynne Jonell is the author of the novels Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat and Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls, as well as several critically acclaimed picture books. Her books have been named Junior Library Guild Selections and a Smithsonian Notable Book, among numerous other honors. Born in Little Falls, Minnesota, Jonell grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis. She now teaches writing at the Loft Literary Center and lives with her husband and two sons in Plymouth, Minnesota, in a house on a hill.

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Customer Reviews

The story is very well written and engaging.
Kathleen F
You'll want to keep it close so in every spare second you have you can try and squeeze in just a couple more pages.
Jenyfer G
Highly recommended for young readers from about nine to twelve--and like-minded adults who love a good kids book.
Betty L. Dravis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By R. Ferguson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
First, a word about my what my rating means. I reserve five stars for the best books, ones that are treasured classics (think Harry Potter or From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler). I give four stars to books that are worth purchasing and reading, but are probably not classics. And I give three stars to books that are merely okay. Two stars and below means that I am sorry I wasted my time.

Second, I'm a dad who tries to find good books for my kids. I think writing children's and juvenile literature is very hard for it means capturing all the complexity of a young person's emotions while employing language and storylines that are accessible and engaging. It is a real art form and I have the deepest respect for authors who attempt it.

The Secret of Zoom is a mystery-adventure that I expect young readers to enjoy thoroughly. The story centers on Christina Adnoid, the young daughter of Loompski Laboratories' top scientist. Christina's geologist mother was, we learn on the first page, apparently blown up in a lab accident years earlier. Over the next few days, Christina's curiosity and wits (not to mention her frustration with her sheltered existence) take her deeper into the riddles of the Lab's research, its shady owner, its highly suspect orphanage, and finally her mother's disappearance.

I think that kids will gobble up many of the narrative devices and plot elements. The Secret of Zoom's hidden passageways and mountain tunnels are great fun. Zoom itself, a preternatural ore mined from the Starkian Mountain, gives the plot wide creative leeway. And there is plausible tension in Christina's sneaking about and in her newfound comrades' plight.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By LS on July 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Lynne Jonell authored a book for a younger audience but it fails that audience due to the violence toward kids. Starving, abusing and subjecting them to dangerous work conditions and ultimately death by being smashed in the back of a garbage truck. These things are directed towards kids. The fanciful story would appeal to 3rd and 4th graders. It is probably too simplistic for an older audience. Many kids in this age group would be very disturbed by the treatment of children in the story. There are some great elements to the story and the pace is very good and there are some surprises but I would be at a loss as to what age group would be old enough to both be enthralled by the story and not overly disturbed by the violence and abuse to kids. It is tough to give this book a star rating because there are things I loved and things that disturbed me. In the end the good wins over evil and everyone is set up to live happily ever after. So if your 3rd or 4th grader is not ready for the complexities of Harry but can deal with a little violence beyond Disney then this book might be a good choice but with some caution.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Julee Rudolf VINE VOICE on July 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Having really enjoyed Lynne Jonell's first book of fiction, Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat, I had high hopes for this one. But the book was a disappointment. I liked the brave, daring, independent main character, a ten-year-old girl named Christina. I didn't like the author choosing to perpetuate the girl-does-not-like-math idea (though I find it funny and apropos that the math-teaching computer program turns out to be the problem). I liked that she befriended Taft, a kindly math-geek orphan. And I liked that the two set out together to solve the mystery of the happenings at the orphanage and determine Lenny Loompski's role in it. More than anything, I liked the clever musical component to the plot (though the number of kids satisfying the requirement seemed high). I shook my head at the silly story line and denouement involving the fate of Christina's mother, Beth Adnoid - as ridiculous as it was predictable. Fortunately, Leo Loompski's part in the plot was better and believable. The ending, with its sappy happy outcome involving two of the orphans felt contrived. I saw it coming a mile away.

The biggest mystery to me was the author's choice of the word "zoom" to represent what it represented. She could have given the task of naming it to a hundred elementary-school-aged kids and gotten ten more appropriate terms. Additionally, I thought that the airplane angle was hokey. Beyond that, why make their method of operation so complicated? Why have such dumb guards? Note - the following two plot-related criticisms contain spoilers...BEWARE: Why have security devices for the captives that are so easy to disable? And the whole secret of "zoom" thing reminds me of the scream energy angle from Monsters Inc.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jojoleb VINE VOICE on July 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In Lynne Jonell's book, The Secret of Zoom, we meet Christina Adnoid, the 10-year-old daughter of two, genius scientists. Christina's mother has died in a tragic laboratory accident and her father is simultaneously over protective and distant. Christina teams up with an orphan, Taft, and the two of them must harness the power of a new, mystierious energy source called zoom in order to save the Adnoid family and Taft's fellow orphans from the clutches of the evil and greedy Lenny Loompski. Jonell's twist on the latest trend of children's literature is skillful and whimsical, but doesn't quite make it to the top tier.

I suppose formulas are common, even in adult novels. John Gardner is often quoted as saying that there are only two kinds of stories: someone goes on a journey and a stranger comes to town. The Secret of Zoom is definitely of the 'someone goes on a journey variety,' but also takes the opportunity to capitalize on the universal plot of the modern made-for-tween novel: orphaned or isolated children living in a grim situation (often plagued by emotionally distant, clueless, and quirky adults) must act on their own against an evil, adult villain--using supernatural or science-fictiony means. Compelled by compassion, a will to survive, and their own pluck, the children must work against insurmountable odds to vanquish said foe, that often remains unseen or underestimated by (the often emotionally distant, clueless, and quirky) adults. By the time the adults recognize the danger, the book has neared its conclusion and the children have nearly solved the problem. Whew!

On the high side of this art form are books like the venerable Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, or the Lemony Snicket books.
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