January 26, 2011 - Noah Nowicki and his sister, Megan, along with their two friends Ella and Ritchie are back with another adventure in Secret Zoo, Book 2 Secrets and Shadows, by Clarkston resident Bryan Chick.
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The exciting adventure, set again at Clarksville City Zoo - next to the kids' neighborhood, begins February 1.
"It begins at the exact spot it ends in book one," explained Chick, adding the mystery component continues in the second book and answers questions from the first book.
"It is the same sort of fun and goofiness. There is mystery, there is adventure, there is fun," he said.
The Action Scouts are invited to become part of the Secret Society and work as crossers going between the two worlds.
The adventure for the scouts is learning their new role, exploring the new world and facing difficulties along the way.
Chick introduces a new group of characters to the scouts and the readers - the Descenders.
"They are like young teenagers living inside the Secret Zoo," he added. "They team up with the scouts. Descenders would be like their older siblings and brings a brand new fantasy component to the story. It's fun."
Along with exploring their new world, Chick added it also sets the stage for later books. The third book is set to be released in December and he is working on the fifth book.
"I see the series being 12-15 books," he said, as the Action Scouts adventures continue more ideas and scenes spring along the way.
"The scene is like a movie in a book and they can visualize it," he said on why kids enjoy it. "Any kid in the world can associate with a magical zoo in their backyard. It is a simple neighborhood and simple kids - it is excessable in a fantasy world. There is nothing that is going to change in 20 years. The story will be there ready for another generation."
Chick enjoys his own adventures visiting elementary schools and has already visited over 80 in the last three years.
"I love going to the schools," he said. "It is a joy to me to visit the kids. I never thought it would be so much fun being able to connect with the audience.
"I have met a lot of cool people along the way," Chick continued. "It has been nice connecting with childhood. All the periods of my life in elementary school were the best - having the silly, crazy imagination. Going back to the schools and seeing the kids like that takes me back to my childhood."
He wrote the first book from what he remembered from childhood and was happy to see though time has passed the kids haven't changed.
"The heart of childhood is still the same," Chick smiled.
He also receives great feedback from the students and teachers along with letters, emails and pictures.
"The kids that have read it - dug it," he said. "It is a really good fit for grades 3-6 and the chapters are short - which they like."
His three biggest fans, his children, have added their own ideas and will be included in future books. Chick added his oldest, Ella, will probably have more ideas for him as she gets older.
The Secret Zoo can be found on Facebook and at www.SecretZoo.com.
"It is a great way to communicate," said Chick. "It is a real good tool for us."
Plus, for every 25 people liking the Facebook page, a person is randomly picked to receive a free copy of the book.
The Secret Zoo, originally self-published by Second Wish Press in 2007, was re-released by Greenwillow Books, a division of Harper Collins Publishing, in hardcover, June 2010.
"They are really good people," Chick added about the new publisher. "They care a lot about books and kids. It all worked out."
The book release party and signing is on Feb. 19 at Rendezvous Caffe and Espresso, 5577 Highland Road in Waterford, from 12-3 p.m. Secret Zoo is available at bookstores and for the Kindle on Amazon.com, Feb 1.