Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Upper Zoo

"There are Many Kinds of 'Smart'
And Many Kinds of 'Wise'."
Bookworm's Ranking - 4 Worms
Storyline - For Jonathan, a Jewish boy living in 1964, the 8th Grade doesn't look promising. For not "living up to his potential", he is placed in a special class for low achieves, referred to as the Upper Zoo and a dummy class by peers. At least it is better than the Lower Zoo, the class for retards. But when a classmate, Robey, from the Upper Zoo starts picking on Clarence from the Lower Zoo to show who is smart, Jonathan's world begins to tip upside down. Faced with many changes and situations he never considered possible, Jonathan will learn to stand for what he believes, what a real friend is, and what it truly means to be smart.
Author - Michael Robert Wolf

Publisher - Messianic: A division of Destiny Image

Age Group - 17 and up (about a boy in 9th grade but deals with some intense issues)
Content - *May Contain Spoilers* A few swear words, Jesus's name, and some other tough language was used in vain but it was also made a point that this was wrong. Behavior towards some students was cruel. Jonathan tries to think how others do at first but than starts seeing things differently and wants to do the right thing by others. Some serious issues were brought up such as a girl being abused by her step-father.

Personal Opinion - This book was so moving. The characters were believable, understanding their feelings and pains, wants and struggles, his growth throughout the story, and I felt for Jonathan for everything he went through. He changed so much and wouldn't let the crowd define him. I really liked the "there are different kinds of smart" message in the book because I am going to school to become a teacher and have heard about Multiple Intelligences and supporting students in their strengths, something I believe is important and want to promote and remember as I teach. I think this book can open the eyes of people to see what kind of things kids have to deal with in school and with peers back in the era it was set, 1964, and today because they deal with so many of the same issues. The only complaints I may have is it seemed a little slow in the beginning and I wish there had been more to the ending, it just seemed to end quickly. But, beautiful book and something I will be recommending to others.

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Buy - Amazon

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