How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied (My Life Is a Zoo) (Paperback)

How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied (My Life Is a Zoo) By Jess Keating Cover Image
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Age Level: 9 and up | Grade Level: 4 to 7

From surviving middle school to feeling like a misfit, Ana Wright tackles it all in How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes are Untied. This heartwarming, coming of age story is the perfect summer reading book for middle school girls!

Ana Wright's social life is officially on the endangered list: she lives in a zoo (umm, elephant droppings!?), her best friend lives on the other side of the world, and the Sneerers are making junior high miserable. All Ana wants is to fade into the background.

Yeah, that's not going to happen.

Creature File for Ana Wright:

Species Name: Anaphyta Normalis

Kingdom: The Zoo, Junior High

Phylum: Girls Whose Best Friend Just Moved To New Zealand; Girls Who Are Forced To Live In A Zoo With Their Weirdo Parents And Twin Brother

Weight: Classified

Feeds On: Daydreams about Zackardia Perfecticus and wish cupcakes

Life Span: Soon to become extinct due to social awkwardness

A 2015 Georgia Children's Book Award Winner

A 2015 Children's Choices Reading List Title

A 2015 Red Maple Award Nominee

"A fun-filled, pitch-perfect book…An amusing, highly readable book about the perils of being 12 in a snake-eat-snake world."—Kirkus Reviews, STARRED Review

About the Author

As an author and zoologist, Jess Keating has tickled a shark, lost a staring contest against an octopus, and been a victim to the dreaded paper cut. She lives in Ontario, Canada, where she spends most of her time writing books for adventurous and funny kids. Her first fiction novel How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied received a Starred Review from Kirkus and has been nominated for a Red Maple award. Visit her online at

Praise For…

"Debut author Keating delivers a fun-filled, pitch-perfect book…Humor, poignancy and fascinating zoological facts infuse the narrative with a warm conversational tone…An amusing, highly readable book about the perils of being 12 in a snake-eat-snake world. (Starred)" — Kirkus Reviews

"Ana’s relationships with her parents and grandfather are a perfect blend of respect and frustration, while her lack of self-confidence will resonate with readers… Recommended for fans of Coco Simon’s ‘Cupcake Diaries’ and Stuart Gibbs’s ‘FunJungle" series."" — School Library Journal

"An absolutely perfect summer read." — Girls’ Life

" Keating, a zoologist, enriches her debut novel with fascinating animal facts, awkward moments with a variety of wild species, and "creature files" Ana uses to amusingly classify her peers." — Publishers Weekly

"Life is literally a zoo for shy 12-year-old Anna, who is trying to avoid seventh-grade bullies while hiding that her family lives among crocodiles and elephants." — Los Angeles Times

"A pleasant, upbeat story and a likable protagonist with whom most readers will empathize. Humorous and honest, this will please a wide audience." — Booklist

"A little bit of romance, a little bit of well deserved revenge, and a whole lot of laughs, heart, spirit, and "I can SO relate" moments, fill the pages of How To Outrun A Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied. Readers young and old will go wild for this book and impatiently be awaiting its sequel. A definite MUST read!" — Word Spelunking

"A wild romp, filled with humor and heart." — Lisa Schroeder, author of It's Raining Cupcakes and the Charmed Life series

"As if junior high isn't enough of a zoo, Jess Keating's debut... [is] a menagerie of laugh-out-loud antics and relatable tween woes." — Anna Staniszewski, author of The Dirt Diary

"This debut novel deals with the hardships of junior high in a funny and zany, yet thoughtful, manner. True animal facts that are interspersed throughout the story add wit and provide the reader with some new information. This novel is a must-have for any classroom and library...highly recommended." — Library Media Connection

"A zoologist, an educator, and an author, Jess Keating wrote the perfect book for students: a middle grade guide for navigating a zoo- I mean, middle school... My Life is a Zoo series speaks to tweens" —

"A clever and humorous middle grade book filled with middle school angst and lots of interesting creature information." —
Product Details
ISBN: 9781402297557
ISBN-10: 1402297556
Publisher: Sourcebooks Young Readers
Publication Date: June 3rd, 2014
Pages: 288
Language: English
Series: My Life Is a Zoo