Today, Kid Lit Reviews would like to welcome Andy Ohman, from Animal Andy by Kathy Sattem Rygg. Andy is the main character in this crazy zoological story about the Aksarben City Zoo. The Zoo is facing budget cuts and must quickly find a way to make up the difference. If they do not, the zoo will be forced to close. Andy is the main character and lives at the zoo with his curator father.
Andy Ohman, age 10½
- Andy, let’s get right into it. You can turn into an animal and then talk to other animals. How is that possible and why would you do this?
That’s right. Each time I ride the Magical Menagerie carousel at the Aksarben City Zoo, it turns me into the animal I’m riding. I have no idea how it happens. The first time I was totally shocked—it turned me into a zebra! Luckily, it turns me back into a kid after awhile. I needed to do it so I could find out what was wrong with some of the animals and help the zoo from being shut down.
2. Is the process of turning into an animal painful?
No, it doesn’t hurt at all. I get really dizzy though. The carousel starts spinning really fast and by the time it stops, poof! I’m an animal!
3. Andy, this is awesome! What is it like to be an animal, say a giraffe?
It can be pretty strange. When I was a giraffe, I didn’t realize how crazy it is being that tall. I’m kind of afraid of heights and every time I looked down, my stomach got a little queasy. And the stuff they eat is gross—leaves and grass. I’d much rather be an orangutan. At least they get normal food like oranges and carrots! But animals are actually a lot like people too. I found out sometimes they don’t get along, certain things worry them, and they like to have fun!
4. If you had the choice to become any animal in the world, which one would you choose and why?
Being a cheetah was the coolest—I’ve never run so fast in my life! I could beat anyone in a race. Nobody would even hear me coming. Cheetahs are sleek and silent. And I could totally see in the dark like I had on night vision goggles.
- Did anyone ever see you as an animal?
I had some really close calls—my dad saw me as a giraffe and my best friend came eye to eye with me when I was a cheetah. And every time I tried helping out it seemed like being an animal just got me into more trouble.
6. You work at the Aksarben City Zoo with your father. What is the best thing about working with him and what is the worst?
When he was a keeper he’d take me around with him and teach me about all the animals. He’d tell me what they ate and let me help feed them, how to care for them, stuff like that. Now that he’s the zoo’s curator, we don’t get to spend as much time together. He’s in a lot of meetings and spends most of his time in an office. That’s why I was bummed that I’d only be working in the hoofstock barn this summer.
- What do you want to be when you grow up?
A zoo keeper just like my dad started out. But I want to work with larger animals like the big cats or apes. They can be such gentle animals one minute and the next you realize how powerful and dangerous they can be too
- The antique carousel is brought to the zoo to add excitement. Were you excited to see it?
When I first found out about it, I didn’t see what the big deal was. My dad was excited because he thought it’d boost attendance for the zoo, especially since the city might close it down from money problems. But when my friend Benny said he thought the carousel looked cool, I decided to give it a try. And that’s when I found out the carousel was magic!
9. Does the carousel turn everyone into an animal who rides it?
Nope, just me. Part of the magic is that it chooses just one person. I guess since I have a way with animals it decided I was the right kid for the job. At first I was like, “no way!” But then once I realized I could use it to help the animals and the zoo, I was okay with it. The worst part was when Raj, one of our elephants, attacked its keeper. I had to find out what really happened, but all of a sudden the carousel stopped working. I had to figure it out on my own before the zoo closed down for good.
- I must ask before we end our talk, what was it like to work with author Kathy Sattem Rygg?
She’s awesome! She came up with a really creative story that kids from first through fifth grade will love. It’s fun, has a little mystery, full of action, and the animal characters are hilarious! Both boys and girls should definitely read it.
Kathy Sattem Rygg is an author, freelance writer, and editor. She earned a degree in magazine journalism from Iowa State University and has worked in corporate marketing for several Fortune 500 companies. Additionally, she worked at the McGraw-Hill Companies’ Business Publications Division in New York City and was the Editor in Chief of Women’s Edition magazine in Denver, CO. She is currently the Editor in Chief of the children’s online magazine knowonder! and lives in Omaha, NE, with her husband and two children.
Facebook: KSR Writer
Wow! Thank you Andy. That last answer was a little more than I was expecting. You must really be excited about Animal Andy.
Well, anyone who would like to find out why Andy is blubbering over author Kathy Sattem Rygg can stop by tomorrow and read a review of Animal Andy right HERE!
Kathy Sattem Rygg
Ages 8 to 12