4 Stars Animal Andy Kathy Sattem Rygg 144 Pages Ages: 8 to 12 .................... ..................
Back Cover: Ten-year-old Andy Ohman is spending his summer working at the Aksarben City Zoo where his dad is the curator. There are rumors the city might close the zoo due to budget cuts. An anonymous donor has given the zoo an antique carousel, and Andy’s dad is hopeful it will help boost attendance. Andy’s doubtful that an old kiddie ride will make a difference. He doesn’t see what’s so special about it. But when he takes it for a spin, he unlocks the magic that will help save the zoo.
Andy is spending the summer with his dad at the zoo. Unlike last year, when dad was a zookeeper, Andy has a real job at the zoo. Attendance has been a problem since his dad took over as the curator and now the city is thinking of closing the zoo down. An antique carousel, donated by a longtime zoo lover, is unloaded drawing Andy’s attention. Unlike his dad, Andy doesn’t think the carousel will increase attendance enough to save the zoo, especially after stopping by to take a look at the old ride.
At the ancient ride, Andy meets Zeb, the carousel’s donor. Zeb tells Andy that the ride is special and that he should give it a try. Zeb suggests to Andy that he ride the zebra. The carousel has arrived, but it doesn’t yet work, but Andy sits on the zebra anyway. Suddenly lights come on and the ride begins turning. It takes Andy around and around, faster and faster, turning his stomach into knots. When the ride finally halts, Andy steps into a world he had only been able to imagine. He has transformed into a zebra. Andy can now speak to and understand all the animals at the zoo—except the humans, until he returns to his old self.
Animal Andy is quite interesting and imaginative. When an animal is in trouble, or the zookeepers cannot help them, Andy can step in, as an animal, and find out what is wrong or what needs done to help that animal. The carousel seems to know which animal will be in need next and that is what Andy becomes. The action is non-stop and keeps the reader’s interest right up to the last word.
I like this story. I finished it in two nights, but could have in one had I wanted. The animals, the excitement of the predicaments Andy gets involved in, and the short length make it a good pick for reluctant readers, both boys and girls. The characters are endearing, the plot is interesting, and the author throws in a bit of the supernatural. I like the zoo setting and the unique way she has Andy become the center of the story, while keeping the animals on the front stage as well.
Animal Andy makes a great assignment for over the holiday reading. Kids will get a wonderful story they will enjoy and teachers should get no excuses why it was not finished with only 150 pages to read. The story is also a good beginning for this debut author. If Ms. Rygg’s sophomore book is as interesting, as well written, and with as equally enjoyable characters as Animal Andy has, she has a bright career ahead of her in children’s literature.
To read yesterday’s interview with young zoo star Andy Ohman click HERE!
Author: Kathy Sattem Rygg website Publisher: (SP) Createspace Release Date: August 24, 2012 Number of Pages: 150 Ages: 8 to 12
Copyright © Kathy Sattem Rygg, used with permission