Review / Tyrannosaurus Wrecks

tyrannasaurus-wrecksBook: Tyrannosaurus Wrecks (2020)
Series: FunJungle #6
Author: Stuart Gibbs
Genre: MG, Mystery

Basic plot: Teddy is back for another mystery, this time involving dinosaur bones discovered on a friend’s ranch. When the enormous T-Rex skull goes missing, Teddy’s friend turns to him. And of course, Summer. On top of a disappearing skull, there’s a new competitor for FunJungle called Snakes Alive! Teddy and Summer team up once more to figure out who’s legit and who’s shady. And things are never easy when Summer’s dad is one of the suspects. 


1) I loved how Stuart Gibbs worked a T-Rex into this story! FunJungle is a series about a zoo-like amusement park. Who would have thought to bring in dinosaur bones? Summer’s dad, that’s who! Which gives us an archaeological dig! And also, the mystery when the skull goes missing…

2) Speaking of mysteries, there were some nice red herrings and misleads. But, when I think back, the clues are all there.

3) As always, Teddy remains a very likeable main character. And Summer, too. I like how they work together. In this book, they’re boyfriend and girlfriend. (More on that later.)

4) Another enjoyable part was the subplot… the angle on exotic pets. I am slightly horrified by people wanting to own snakes. *Shivers*. I will say that I particularly enjoyed reading the author’s note at the back about what’s legal and what’s not about owning exotic pets. *Shivers again*

5) It’s been awhile since I’ve read a FunJungle book. Actually, I think I’ve only read #1 and #2 of the series. (Which means I missed #3-5???) But, I didn’t find it too hard to pick up where I left off. The only major change was Teddy’s relationship to Summer. I recall it being an antagonistic partnership in the first books, something that’s now missing from the series now that they are boyfriend and girlfriend. (More on that later.)

6) Stuart Gibbs knows how to give us an exciting climax! The chase at the end is full of action and is completely centred on Teddy, our hero. (He even gets to drive! Every kid’s dream, right?)


1) Okay, about Teddy and Summer. I did not care for the fact that they are now boyfriend and girlfriend. (Could you guess that from my hints above?) I do like the enemies-to-lovers trope, but you can’t make them lovers if you’re going to continue the series! Where is the banter? The bickering? The tension between the two? All missing! (And Stuart Gibbs does that type of tension-filled banter quite well, especially in his Spy School books.)

2) There were some random characters that didn’t do much for the story… namely, some of Teddy’s friends from school. Not a huge deal, but I found them to be superfluous and actually ended up distracting me from the story itself. I had to go back and re-read some parts because of them.


Another fun book from Stuart Gibbs to end off the year of 2020. Loved the dinosaur and snake angle on this one!


Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

Review: Elephant Secret

elephant-secretBook: Elephant Secret (2018)
Author: Eric Walters
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars

Basic plot: Sam and her dad run an elephant sanctuary where they care for a herd of misfit elephants. Just as one abused elephant arrives, another is born to an elephant of the herd. But the new baby elephant has a secret… one that Sam and her father have yet to find out. A secret they won’t know about until they  meet their mysterious benefactor… Or should we call him “partner”?


1) Sam (Samantha) is an elephant girl. She knows elephants better than anything. In fact, she has such as strong bond with the elephant herd that it’s fun to watch (i.e. read about) her doing her thing. I love how she ends up leaving her eighth grade dance (in full formal-dress mode) to go be with the elephants when the new baby is born.

2) I loved the elephants in this book! I thought Walters did an amazing job of letting us get to know the herd. This isn’t always an easy thing to do for authors since the elephants never talk. They act like… elephants. And yet, we as readers get to know them and their personalities. I loved the matriarch, Trixie. And the younger ones, Raja and, of course, Woolly (who is adorable). I think my favourite elephant is the rescue one: Burma.

3) Jimmy was an interesting character. He’s portrayed almost as if he were a kid who never grew up. He’s also one of those characters that you’re not sure if you like him or hate him.

4) I really liked Sam’s dad, especially with his relationship to his daughter and to the elephants. Joyce (the lawyer girlfriend) is an interesting addition to the cast of characters. It was nice to see her relationship grow with Samantha, especially toward the end when the “girls” stand together after Dad gets upset over the incident with Burma.

5) (**SPOILER) The scene where Burma gets out of the cage was probably the best scene in the book. I found this scene quite emotional. Sam is completely crazy in that scene, but it all makes sense since she’s the elephant girl. Every step she took with those apples was tense. (End Spoiler)


1) We never find out what happens to Burma in the long run. I was really rooting for him so I want to know what happens!!

2) There is an element on cloning in this book. It’s actually the Elephant Secret. (**SPOILER) It all has to do with cloning animals. Think: Jurassic Park. Although, not with dinosaurs, but with woolly mammoths. I wasn’t too crazy about they concluded things. I don’t think cloning is a good thing. THAT was the lesson of Jurassic Park! (End Spoiler)


My rating is 4 Stars (out of 5) – I loved the elephants in this book. And I enjoyed reading about the inner workings of an elephant sanctuary. This book has some great discussion points. I would definitely recommend this to animal lovers.


Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

5 Reasons Why I Liked Winnie’s Great War

Here’s a book that I hoped I would like that actually lived up to expectations. While it’s written for the MG crowd, it’s definitely meant for more than just kids.

And yes, I think I’ll give this book 5 Stars!

Here are my 5 reasons why I loved this book…

Winnie’s Great War // by Lindsay Mattick & Josh Greenhut

Winnies-great-war#1 – Winnie!

What a delightful bear! She’s so curious and kind. I love how she’s able to speak to all the animals and how the authors relate this to the Great War itself. This could be heavy-handed, but it’s not. It’s just right.

The part of the book that describes her antics at sea is cute! And I especially liked the story when Harry makes a bet. He bets the general that Winnie can find a hidden sock at their training facilities in England. Does Winnie win Harry’s bet? I’m not telling!

#2 – The Illustrations

The illustrations by Sophie Blackall are enchanting. I wish there were more of them! Especially as this is a book I could see reading to kids. They’re all black and white sketches. There are some delightful full-page spreads… Of Winnie at the train station when she first meets Harry; of Winnie and Harry at Stonehenge; of Winnie when she first comes to the zoo.

#3 – The History

I love history. So, I loved all the history in this book. World War I has always fascinated me, so I definitely liked reading about that aspect of it. It’s not heavily about the war since Winnie doesn’t actually experience life in the trenches. (There’s a moment where Harry realizes what that would mean, and so he makes the very hard decision to leave Winnie in the care of the London Zoo.)

There’s also the history of Winnie, herself… and how she came to inspire one of the most famous fictional bears in history! There’s a section at the back of the book that has pictures of Harry and of the diary entry where he notes that he bought Winnie for $20. There’s also a photo of Christopher Robin Milne standing next to the real Winnie at the zoo! Oh, my… they really did let people into the enclosure with a bear!

Note: One of the authors (and the narrator of the story) is Lindsay Mattick who is Harry Colebourne’s great-granddaughter.

#4 – The Inter-Narrations

I really enjoyed when the mom (who’s telling the story to her son) gives us a little taste of what’s true in the story!

These little interjections are set apart in italics. Sometimes Cole (the son) will interrupt his mom’s story to ask about something. I liked how the book was able to deal with some of the tougher issues using this device.

#5 – The Literary Allusions to A.A. Milne’s Classic

Reading this book includes the wonderful experience of finding little Easter eggs that allude to A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh! But I’m glad they’re not over-done. In fact, some people may not even notice them. If you love Pooh Bear, they’re subtle, but they’re there. (And yes, as soon as I finished this book, I just had re-read Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh!)


Have you read this book? Did you love it as much as me? Let me know in the comments!