Source: Sherman Publications

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Millstream
Author continues Secret Zoo adventure

by Wendi Reardon

November 02, 2011

Bryan Chick shares his Secret Zoo series of children’s books with his kids Evelyn and Sam. Photo provided
Bryan Chick, Independence Township resident and author, continues his Secret Zoo series of adventure novels with Riddles and Danger.

The third book in the series picks up where book two, Secrets and Shadows, ended and addresses a lot of unanswered questions.

"It stands alone as its own novel," Chick said, adding readers are briefed about what has been going on in case they haven't read the previous books.

The Action Scouts - Noah, Megan, Ritchie and Ella - continue their training as crossers, which they began in the second book. The scouts also meet a new group within the secret zoo called the parameter patrol, which guards the parameter of the zoo with the animals from the evil Shadowist.

The scouts become part of the patrol and use their tree fort as a station.

"The characters start to develop more and take more direction," said Chick. "We also learn more about Ella and why she is sarcastic to her friends."

Adding to the characters is more adventure and action with a battle happening in the zoo.

"It is pretty spooky and exciting," said Chick.

Since The Secret Zoo was released in 2007, his three children continue to be his biggest supporters.

"Ella, the oldest, is starting to understand the story more," he said. "They couldn't understand because the words were too complicated. I do incorporate some of their ideas. They give a lot of ideas but I have to be selective. It's fun, too."

When readers come to the scene where Marlo, a little bird, angrily pecks at the pom pom on the top of Ritchie's hat - Ella came up with the idea.

"I can bounce stuff off of them and see how they react. I can judge their responses and see if they like it or don't like it," he said.

Bryan is working on the next two books in the series and thinking about making a spin-off series for older kids in grades 5-8. It will take place inside the secret zoo about different groups inside - descenders, ascenders and the technicals.

"It will allow the reader to experience more of the fantasy element," he said. "The Secret Zoo series takes place more in the real world."

Right now, Bryan is making appearances and visiting schools.

"The kids are always great," he said. "It is fun because the kids see me more as the characters than an 'old' man."

He added his wife, Barbara, sees the same because she noticed all of his personality quirks spread amongst all of the characters.

"She was reading a scene and said 'I crack up when I read because I see each one as a piece of you,'" he added.

In addition to school visits, Bryan has upcoming book signings at Great Turtle Toys, Nov. 12, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Barnes & Noble in Flint, Nov. 15, 5-7 p.m.; and Barnes & Noble in Rochester, Dec. 3, 11 a.m.- 1p.m.

Visit www.TheSecretZoo.com or www.facebook.com/TheSecretZoo.

Email info@bryanchick.com to schedule a school visit.