Belly Up
Goodreads ratings
4.23 / 5

"Belly Up" Summary

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: 4 min read

One Sentence Summary

A young boy investigates the mysterious death of a beloved hippopotamus at a zoo.


Welcome to the book summary page for "Belly Up" by Stuart Gibbs. In this thrilling and humorous adventure, readers are taken on a wild ride through the exciting world of the FunJungle theme park and zoo. With a combination of mystery, suspense, and humor, Gibbs creates a story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Brief Synopsis

"Belly Up" takes place in FunJungle, a massive zoo and theme park located in Texas. The story revolves around the mysterious death of Henry the hippopotamus, the beloved mascot of FunJungle. Teddy Fitzroy, a twelve-year-old boy who lives at FunJungle with his wildlife biologist parents, finds himself caught up in the investigation of Henry's death. With his quick thinking and determination, Teddy sets out to uncover the truth behind the hippo's demise.

Main Characters

Here are the main characters in "Belly Up":

Teddy FitzroyThe twelve-year-old protagonist who lives at FunJungle and becomes involved in the investigation of Henry's death.
Summer McCrakenTeddy's new friend who helps him in his quest to solve the mystery.
Doc FisherThe zoo's head veterinarian who assists Teddy in his investigation.
J.J. McCrakenSummer's father and the owner of FunJungle.
Clayton StoneA suspicious and secretive employee at FunJungle who becomes one of Teddy's prime suspects.

Summary of Story Points over Chapters

Chapter 1-5: Introduction to FunJungle and Henry's Death

The story begins with Teddy introducing FunJungle, the zoo and theme park where he lives. We are introduced to Henry, the beloved hippo mascot of FunJungle, and his sudden and mysterious death. Teddy is determined to find out what happened to Henry.

Chapter 6-10: Teddy's Investigation Begins

Teddy starts investigating Henry's death, questioning various employees and gathering clues. He meets Summer McCraken, who becomes his partner in crime-solving. Together, they begin to suspect foul play.

Chapter 11-15: The Suspicious Employee

Teddy focuses his attention on Clayton Stone, an employee who behaves strangely and seems to have a secret. Teddy and Summer follow Clayton, observing his suspicious activities and gathering evidence against him.

Chapter 16-20: Uncovering the Truth

Teddy and Summer dig deeper into Clayton's background, discovering his involvement in illegal animal trafficking. They gather enough evidence to confront Clayton and expose his actions to the authorities.

Chapter 21-25: The Final Showdown

Teddy and Summer confront Clayton, but he manages to escape. They chase him through the park, leading to a thrilling climax at the top of the Ferris wheel. With the help of Doc Fisher, they capture Clayton and bring him to justice.

Main Events

  • Henry the hippo's mysterious death at FunJungle.
  • Teddy's investigation into Henry's death, uncovering clues and suspects.
  • Teddy's partnership with Summer McCraken and their efforts to solve the mystery together.
  • The discovery of Clayton Stone's involvement in illegal animal trafficking.
  • The final confrontation with Clayton and his capture.

Themes and Insights

  1. Justice and Truth: The story explores the importance of seeking justice and uncovering the truth, even in the face of obstacles and danger.
  2. Friendship and Teamwork: Teddy and Summer's partnership demonstrates the power of friendship and teamwork in solving problems and achieving goals.
  3. Environmental Conservation: The book raises awareness about the illegal wildlife trade and the importance of protecting endangered animals.

Reader's Takeaway

"Belly Up" is a thrilling and entertaining mystery that will captivate young readers. It combines humor, suspense, and interesting characters to create a page-turning adventure. The story also provides insights into important themes such as justice, friendship, and environmental conservation. Readers will be left with a sense of excitement and a desire to explore the world of FunJungle further.


Stuart Gibbs' "Belly Up" is a must-read for fans of mystery and adventure. The book takes readers on a thrilling journey through the exciting world of FunJungle, where they join twelve-year-old Teddy Fitzroy in his quest to solve the mysterious death of Henry the hippopotamus. With its engaging plot, memorable characters, and important themes, "Belly Up" is sure to leave readers wanting more.

Belly Up FAQ

  1. What is the genre of 'Belly Up'?

    Belly Up is a mystery novel.

  2. Who is the author of 'Belly Up'?

    The author of 'Belly Up' is Stuart Gibbs.

  3. What is the target age group for 'Belly Up'?

    'Belly Up' is targeted towards middle-grade readers, typically aged 8-12.

  4. What is the main plot of 'Belly Up'?

    The main plot of 'Belly Up' revolves around a hippo named Henry who mysteriously dies at a popular zoo called FunJungle. The protagonist, Teddy Fitzroy, sets out to solve the mystery of Henry's death.

  5. Is 'Belly Up' part of a series?

    Yes, 'Belly Up' is the first book in the FunJungle series.

  6. Are there any sequels to 'Belly Up'?

    Yes, the 'Belly Up' series includes sequels such as 'Poached', 'Big Game', 'Panda-Monium', 'Lion Down', and 'Tyrannosaurus Wrecks'.

  7. Is 'Belly Up' suitable for adults?

    'Belly Up' is primarily written for a middle-grade audience, but adults who enjoy mystery novels with a touch of humor may also find it entertaining.

  8. Where is 'Belly Up' set?

    'Belly Up' is set in a fictional zoo called FunJungle, which is located in Texas.

  9. What is the writing style of 'Belly Up'?

    Stuart Gibbs employs a fast-paced and humorous writing style in 'Belly Up', making it an engaging read for young readers.

  10. Does 'Belly Up' contain illustrations?

    'Belly Up' does not contain illustrations, as it is a novel.