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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mystery-adventure that kids will gobble up
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...
Published on June 24, 2009 by R. Ferguson

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings might be good for some kids.
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...
Published on July 13, 2009 by LS


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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mystery-adventure that kids will gobble up, June 24, 2009
This review is from: The Secret of Zoom (Hardcover)
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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. I think that for this age group, 9-12, the book strikes a fine balance between whimsy and the perils of uncovering heinous criminal activity.

Minor Spoiler Alert... I was taken aback by the use of a garbage truck compactor to squish children to death; this was something that is discussed in the story as the eventual fate of some orphans but it is not something that is actually witnessed. It is a fairly scary image and you will have to judge whether your child can cope with it appropriately. I'm also skittish about this because, when I was young, I had friends who played chicken in large garbage compactors. I suppose the book offers a cautionary tale about the dangers of climbing into a garbage truck, but I would rather avoid the topic. It's probably just me. My apologies.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings might be good for some kids., July 13, 2009
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This review is from: The Secret of Zoom (Hardcover)
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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
4.0 out of 5 stars Open your mind to imagination., May 1, 2013
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This is a children's book about a little girl who lives in a mansion. She is not allowed out, but becomes a detective trying to figure out what is happening to all of the children. Things are not as they seem and people are not who they claim to be. Use your imagination to try to picture the description of the mansion and the other places she finds.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!!!, March 28, 2013
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This review is from: The Secret of Zoom (Paperback)
What an awesome book. I bought it for my daughter who is 9 years old. She couldn't put it down neither could I.Great story, easy to read
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This awesome book, February 8, 2013
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This is a interesting book. It can be scary but l like it. My favorite part was when every thing was fine at the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book, January 16, 2013
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This was such a good book
My favorite part was when they found the plane. There was no bad part in this book
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This was a gift...., January 6, 2013
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This review is from: The Secret of Zoom (Paperback)
and my granddaughter seemed to enjoy each and every little bit of it!
she is an avid reader and loves a little mystery!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adventure mystery for upper elementary grades, April 23, 2010
This review is from: The Secret of Zoom (Hardcover)
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This is an engaging blend of science fiction, adventure, and mystery. It's not destined to become a classic, but that's okay -- sometimes we just read for fun.

This book is written for the upper elementary grades, but could also work well as a read-aloud for younger kids. It has some intense scenes, but nothing terribly scary. With a strong female lead character, a male sidekick, and plenty of action and adventure, it should appeal equally to boys and girls.

Bottom line: My fifth grade daughter really enjoyed it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Story, February 10, 2010
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K. W. Lee (Baker City, Oregon) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret of Zoom (Hardcover)
An engaging, imaginitive tale that emphasizes the value of self-reliance, courage, and standing up for what is right. The importance of friendship is also a central theme: not only the friendship of the two main characters, but the concern and responsibility one character feels for his disabled friend. This story should be enjoyable for children while giving them some important things to think about.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding children's literature, November 19, 2009
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This review is from: The Secret of Zoom (Hardcover)
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Zoom is an amazing fictional story that is at once a mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and a story about friendship and family. It is an amazing story with story lines at many levels from the silly and fun to the clash of capitlism and social welfare. Both I and my 9 year old daughther throughly enjoyed reading and talking about the story.

The author manages to merge science fiction, math, and even music into the inspiring story that promises to be a classic for children. I found it very apprpriate for my 9 year old (4th grade) daughter, but found that one of my two younger children were a bit intimited by the length of the book.

It's great to find a new author with a new and refreshing style. I'm off to look for other books by Lynne Jonell.
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The Secret of Zoom
The Secret of Zoom by Lynne Jonell (Paperback - March 1, 2011)
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