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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Don't Feed the Boy

Don't Feed the Boy

Irene Latham, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin

Roaring Brook Press


No kid knows more about zoo life than Whit. That's because he sleeps, eats and even attends home-school at the Meadowbrook Zoo. It's one of the perks of having a mother who's the zoo director and a father who's the head elephant keeper. Now that he's eleven, Whit feels trapped by the rules and routine of zoo life. With so many exotic animals, it's easy to get overlooked. But when Whit notices a mysterious girl who visits every day to draw the birds, suddenly the zoo becomes much more interesting. Who is the Bird Girl? And why does she come by herself to the zoo?
Determined to gain her trust, Whit takes the Bird Girl on his own personal tour of the zoo. He shows her his favorite animals and what happens with them behind the scenes. For Whit, having a friend his own age that he can talk to is an exciting new experience. For Stella the Bird Girl, the zoo and Whit are a necessary escape from her chaotic home life. Together they take risks in order to determine where it is they each belong. But when Stella asks Whit for an important and potentially dangerous favor, Whit discovers how complicated friendship and freedom-- can be.

Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, Kansas William Allen White Award Master List, Alabama Center for the Book - National Book Fair Representative Master List


Whit waited for the toucan to turn its head before he stepped past the iron gate. He'd lived his whole life at the Meadowbrook Zoo, and until today he'd never disobeyed the three basic rules his parents set for him:

Praise for Don't Feed the Boy

“Feed this to animal fans.” —Kirkus

“This is solid storytelling.” —School Library Journal


In the Press

Living at the zoo sounds pretty sweet, but 11-year-old Whit has soured on the experience, having spent his whole life at the Meadowbrook Zoo in Alabama, which is run by his busy and distracted parents - Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

Irene Latham, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin

Irene Latham is a poet and novelist who lives and writes in Birmingham, Alabama. Her debut novel Leaving Gee's Bend was named a Bank Street College Best Book, a SIBA finalist, a Crystal Kite Finalist and ALLA's Children's Book of the Year. As a child she dreamed of being a zoo veterinarian and even trained as a teenage zoo volunteer. All it took was observing one surgery to convince her that perhaps she'd better just write about the animals instead. Stephanie Graegin received her BFA in Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking from Pratt Institute. Stephanie lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Roaring Brook Press

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