Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Secret of Zoom

The Secret of Zoom is a delightful and engaging book, appropriate for ages eight and up (of course, the parent is always the final arbiter of what constitutes appropriate reading material for her child!). In the fictional and slightly dark town of Dorf, the central town family is the Loompski clan. Although Leo Loompski, a scientific genius and founder of Loompski Laboratories, has not been seen for years, his brother Lenny carries on the Loompski legacy by heading up the family business and endowing the primary town charity. The town orphanage seems to have a never-ending supply of orphans (does this make them Dorphans?). On the surface, they seem happy. They compose elegiac poems and songs to their benefactor, and they eagerly (?) volunteer for work duty in the hills above Dorf. The problem is, those who volunteer never come back.

Christina Adenoid is insatiably curious about several things (sadly for her scientist father, employed by Loompski Laboratories, math is not one of them): what really happened to her geologist mother who was blown up in a Loompski Lab accident when she was just a toddler? What really lies up in the Starkian Mountains, guarded by a fence and a sign "Trespassers Will Be Boiled"? What is the real story behind the orphans of Dorf? Fortunately, Taft, one of the Dorphans, escapes from the orphanage to help her answer each of these questions. Behind all of the mysteries? The Secret of Zoom!

Apart from one potentially troubling image (don't want to give anything away - feel free to email me if you have questions) that won't stop me from giving this book to my newly nine year-old daughter to read, this book is a treat for children and parents alike. Resourceful children, creepy adults, daring rescues, and magical machines: all are present in this charming children's novel.

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