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Terror at the Zoo


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About the Author

Peg Kehret was born in Wisconsin, grew up in Minnesota, spent fourteen years in California, and now lives with her husband in Washington State. They have two grown children, four grandchildren, one dog, and one cat.

Peg's novels for children are regularly recommended by the American Library Association, the International Reading Association, and the Children's Book Council. She has won many state young reader or children's choice awards. Peg's characters are ordinary kids who find themselves in exciting situations and who use their wits to solve their problems. There is usually humor as well as suspense in her books. A long-time volunteer at The Humane Society, she often uses animals in her stories.Before she began writing books for children, Peg published plays, short stories, articles, and two books for adults. She is a frequent speaker at conferences for librarians and teachers.At the age of twelve, Peg had polio and was paralyzed from the neck down. Because she can remember that experience and her year of recovery so vividly, she finds it easy to write in the viewpoint of a twelve or thirteen year old. Most of her main characters are that age. Her autobiography, Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio, won the Golden Kite Award from the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators, and the PEN Center USA West Award for Children's Literature.When she is not writing, Peg likes to watch baseball, bake cookies, and pump her old player piano.


Gr 4-7-- An overnight camp out at the zoo turns into a nightmare for Ellen and her little brother Corey when an escaped prisoner also takes refuge there. Through a series of mostly implausible coincidences, they find themselves locked in the zoo grounds with a dangerous and desperate man who plans to hold them for ransom. Each of the several adults responsible for the children thinks someone else is with them, so no one comes to their rescue. Several pursuit scenes through the ominous dark lead the siblings to the Elephant Forest, where Ellen communicates telepathically with the elephants, spurring her favorite one to attack the man. The last minute arrival of the children's parents and a security guard prevents any blood from being shed. This highly improbable adventure is not up to Kehret's usual standards, but it will appeal to animal lovers looking for a spooky story. There is plenty of suspense, as the children are never sure around which dark corner the criminal lurks. A baby monkey and, of course, the heroic elephants add color to the story. Lightweight but entertaining fare. --Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC

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