Belly Up
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4.23 / 5

"Belly Up" Characters Analysis

By Stuart Gibbs

mystery | 294 pages | Published in NaN

12 year old Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt Fitzroy has got a murder on his hands and trouble on his tail. Henry, the hippopatamus at the brand-new nationally known FunJungle, has gone belly up. Even though it's claimed he died of natural causes, Teddy smells something fishy and it sure ain't the polar bear's lunch. Dealing with the zoo's top brass proves to be nothing but a waste of time. They want to see any trace of Henry's death disappear like yesterday's paper. So Teddy sets out to find the truth. With the help of Summer McCraken, a fiesty girl with secrets of her own, the two narrow down their prime suspects. Is it Martin Del Gato, FunJungle's head of operations who dislikes kids and hates animals even more? Or J.J McCraken, the owner of FunJungle and Summer's father, who has more concern for the dough he's raking in than the animals in the zoo? As their investigation goes on, Teddy gets squeezed on all sides to quit asking questions-- or Henry won't be the only one to turn up dead. The deeper Teddy and Summer get, the more the danger mounts -- because when it comes to hippo homicide, the truth can't be kept in a cage!


Estimated read time: 7 min read

Table of Contents

  1. List of Characters

List of Characters

Character NameRole
Teddy FitzroyProtagonist
Summer McCrackenSecondary Character
Margarita SuarezSecondary Character
Summer's FatherSecondary Character
J.J. McCrackenSecondary Character
Peter ThorneSecondary Character
Marla McCrackenSupporting Character
Mr. FitzroySupporting Character
Mrs. FitzroySupporting Character
Officer ColsonSupporting Character

Role Identification

In the book "Belly Up" by Stuart Gibbs, each character plays a distinct role in the overall storyline. The protagonist, Teddy Fitzroy, takes on the role of the main character and the book's narrator. Other characters, including Summer McCracken, Margarita Suarez, Summer's Father, J.J. McCracken, Peter Thorne, Marla McCracken, Mr. Fitzroy, Mrs. Fitzroy, and Officer Colson, serve as secondary or supporting characters, contributing to the plot's development and adding depth to the story.

Character Descriptions

Teddy Fitzroy

Teddy Fitzroy is a twelve-year-old boy who serves as the protagonist of "Belly Up." He is described as intelligent, resourceful, and observant. Teddy has a deep passion for animals and works at the FunJungle, a popular zoo in Texas, where the story is set. With his knowledge of animal behavior and his determination, Teddy becomes involved in solving the mysterious death of Henry the Hippo, which forms the central conflict of the story.

Summer McCracken

Summer McCracken is a secondary character in the book and becomes Teddy's partner in investigating Henry the Hippo's death. She is portrayed as a curious and adventurous girl who is initially suspicious of Teddy's involvement. Summer's bravery and cleverness complement Teddy's skills, making them a formidable duo. Throughout the story, her relationship with Teddy evolves, and she becomes an essential ally in uncovering the truth behind the hippo's demise.

Margarita Suarez

Margarita Suarez is another secondary character who plays a significant role in the book. She is an employee at FunJungle and becomes a key suspect in the mystery surrounding Henry the Hippo's death. Margarita is depicted as a hardworking and dedicated zookeeper who is deeply passionate about animals. As the story progresses, Teddy begins to question Margarita's involvement and attempts to unravel her secrets.

Summer's Father

Summer's Father, whose name is not explicitly mentioned in the book, is a secondary character who works as a lawyer. He is portrayed as a caring and protective parent who becomes concerned about his daughter's involvement in the dangerous investigation. Summer's Father adds an element of parental guidance and support to the story, contributing to the overall character dynamics.

J.J. McCracken

J.J. McCracken is Summer's younger brother and another secondary character in the book. Although he is not directly involved in the investigation, J.J. brings moments of humor and lightheartedness to the story. He is depicted as an energetic and mischievous child who often unintentionally disrupts Teddy and Summer's plans.

Peter Thorne

Peter Thorne is an animal activist and secondary character in "Belly Up." He is portrayed as passionate about animal welfare and becomes a suspect in the mystery surrounding Henry's death. Peter's strong convictions and questionable actions make him an intriguing character, adding complexity to the plot. Teddy's interactions with Peter Thorne provide insights into the ethical and moral dilemmas associated with animal conservation.

Marla McCracken, Mr. Fitzroy, Mrs. Fitzroy, Officer Colson

Marla McCracken, Mr. Fitzroy, Mrs. Fitzroy, and Officer Colson are supporting characters who play smaller yet significant roles in the story. Marla McCracken is Summer and J.J.'s mother and provides a nurturing presence. Mr. Fitzroy and Mrs. Fitzroy are Teddy's parents, offering guidance and encouragement. Officer Colson is a police officer involved in the investigation and provides insights into the legal aspects of the case.

Character Traits

Teddy Fitzroy

  • Intelligent
  • Resourceful
  • Observant
  • Animal lover
  • Determined

Summer McCracken

  • Curious
  • Adventurous
  • Brave
  • Clever

Margarita Suarez

  • Hardworking
  • Dedicated
  • Passionate about animals

Summer's Father

  • Caring
  • Protective
  • Supportive

J.J. McCracken

  • Energetic
  • Mischievous
  • Lighthearted

Peter Thorne

  • Passionate about animal welfare
  • Controversial
  • Ethical dilemmas

Character Background

Teddy Fitzroy

Teddy Fitzroy has a background in animal behavior and a deep passion for animals. He has been working at FunJungle for some time, giving him intimate knowledge of the zoo and its inhabitants. His experiences and knowledge become instrumental in unraveling the mystery surrounding Henry the Hippo's death.

Summer McCracken

Summer McCracken is the daughter of a lawyer and lives with her family near FunJungle. She becomes involved in the investigation due to her curiosity and desire for adventure. Summer's background as an inquisitive and intelligent girl influences her role in the story.

Margarita Suarez

Margarita Suarez has a background in animal care and is employed as a zookeeper at FunJungle. Her love for animals and dedication to her work make her a respected member of the zoo staff. However, her background becomes entangled with the mystery surrounding Henry the Hippo's death.

Character Arcs

Teddy Fitzroy

Throughout the story, Teddy Fitzroy undergoes a character arc that transforms him from a curious observer to an active investigator. Initially, he is intrigued by the circumstances surrounding Henry the Hippo's death and decides to investigate discreetly. As the plot unfolds, Teddy becomes more assertive and risks his safety to uncover the truth. His character arc demonstrates growth in courage and determination.

Summer McCracken

Summer McCracken's character arc primarily focuses on her evolving relationship with Teddy. Initially skeptical of Teddy's involvement, she gradually realizes his dedication and resourcefulness. As they work together to solve the mystery, Summer's trust and admiration for Teddy deepen, leading to a stronger partnership. Her character arc highlights the importance of trust and collaboration.


Teddy Fitzroy and Summer McCracken

The relationship between Teddy Fitzroy and Summer McCracken serves as a central dynamic in "Belly Up." Initially cautious of each other's intentions, Teddy and Summer develop a strong bond as they work together to solve the mystery. Their relationship evolves from skepticism to trust and ultimately becomes a driving force in uncovering the truth.

Teddy Fitzroy and Margarita Suarez

Teddy Fitzroy's relationship with Margarita Suarez is one of suspicion and uncertainty. Teddy suspects Margarita's involvement in Henry the Hippo's death, leading him to question her motives and actions. Their relationship adds tension and complexity to the story as Teddy attempts to unravel Margarita's secrets.

Summer McCracken and her Father

Summer McCracken has a supportive and caring relationship with her father. As she becomes more involved in the investigation, her father expresses concern for her safety. Their relationship showcases the parental love and guidance that shapes Summer's character and influences her choices throughout the story.

In conclusion, "Belly Up" by Stuart Gibbs presents a diverse cast of characters, each playing a unique role in the unfolding mystery surrounding the death of Henry the Hippo. From Teddy Fitzroy's intelligent and determined protagonist to the supporting and secondary characters who contribute to the plot's development, the book offers a range of personalities and relationships that enrich the narrative. Through character arcs and relationships, the story explores themes of trust, bravery, and the complexities of animal conservation.