The Upper Zoo   -     By: Michael Robert Wolf
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The Upper Zoo

Destiny Image / 2012 / Paperback

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Product Description

The fall of 1963 is a crucial period for 12-year-old Jewish boy Jonathan when he ends up in a class for underachievers. Along the way, he meets a Christian autistic child, a troubled kid, and a girl who's suffering from abuse---and learns from these "teachers" that there are many types of "smart" and "wise." 288 pages, softcover from Destiny Image.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 288
Vendor: Destiny Image
Publication Date: 2012
Dimensions: 9 X 6 X .5 (inches)
ISBN: 076844098X
ISBN-13: 9780768440980
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Discover the Truth
There are many kinds of "smart" and many kinds of "wise."
The Upper Zoo tells a story of a twelve year old Jewish boy in the 1960s who is impacted by the life and love of an autistic child with a firm commitment to Jesus. After being placed in a class for under-achievers, Jonathan finds his life changed forever. The book takes an unusual approach, revealing a world of dysfunctional pain and spiritual triumph through the eyes of a twelve-year old boy. Through surprising twists and turns, Jonathan uncovers secrets that will drastically affect his life and the lives of those closest to him.
No one who reads The Upper Zoo will be able to put it down—it is an inspirational and poignant novel.

Author Bio

Michael Robert Wolf has led Beth Messiah Messianic Jewish Synagogue in Cincinnati, Ohio for the past 33 years. He is past president of the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America and presently serves on their executive committee. He has produced several children’s video movies and is presently working with Kingdom Pictures on an independent film he wrote called "Sound of the Spirit," due to be released early in 2012.

Editorial Reviews

"A slice of life from the 1960s. You will not be able to put this refreshingly entertaining book down." —Sid Roth, "It’s Supernatural" TV host

"The Upper Zoo is an exquisitely written novel that will tug at your soul. Those who enter its world will find it deeply affecting and poignant." -- Jonathan Bernis, Jewish Voice Ministries

Product Reviews

5 Stars Out Of 5
5 out of 5
5 out Of 5
(5 out of 5)
5 out Of 5
(5 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
4.9 out Of 5
(4.9 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
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  1. Charleston, WV
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    The author creates believable characters.
    January 16, 2013
    Raz Pesher
    Charleston, WV
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    "The Upper Zoo" written by Michael Wolf is a story of the beginning friendship of two 13 year old boys in public school. Jonathan who is Jewish and did not apply himself in school the previous year is now in a special class to "catch up." Clarence who is Christian is in another type of special class because he is autistic. Within the school, these two types of classes are known as the "upper zoo" and "lower zoo." While Clarence is okay with his class, Jonathan is embarrassed to be in the "zoo."

    Jonathan states the situation best as he says, "The world around me was on a collision course. And all my energy went toward trying to avoid it." I believe Jonathan's emotions will speak to anyone who has been unexpectedly removed from their "usual" circumstances and placed in environments where they feel awkward, rejected, and/or "less than." In our current USA economy many people are under or unemployed, adjusting to circumstances and jobs much lower than previous times and they will certainly identify with Jonathan's emotions as he tries to live his life and get through situations he does not want to experience.

    The "zoo" situations are compounded for both boys as they are forced by circumstances to interact with dysfunctional family, friends, and school mates. In other words, they are experiencing life! I enjoyed this book because the author is a craftsman who knows how to create believable characters and tells their story in a manner which emotionally engaged me.
  2. Tennessee
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A nostalgic gem of a story--for Boomers and teens
    July 10, 2012
    Rabbi Stein
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    "The Upper Zoo" is just a funny name for a classroom--but you may find yourself reliving parts of your own childhood as you enter its doors. Fascinating characters, so real they will jolt you. Here is a microcosm of the "real world" with all its confusion, tragedy, pain and joy, as experienced by a bright, sensitive, caring young boy.
  3. Pennsylvania
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Novel for Reaching the Soul
    April 16, 2012
    Pastor Bob
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Are you or have you been an under-achiever? Well, as you answer this will find this story of this young boy, and how he responded to being among his classmates and their lives. Read and enjoy this excellent story and relate it to your young life. An excellent book.
  4. Miamisburg, OH
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    The Upper Zoo - an great read!
    March 18, 2012
    Marsha Johnston
    Miamisburg, OH
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    This book is an EXCELLENT read! I could hardly put it down and finished it in less than five hours. The characters are captivating and draw you right into their lives (which is a flashback for me of the 60's). I found myself relating this story to "zoo" times in my own youth...those awkward teenage struggles of where we fit & sometimes feeling like a misfit. Michael Wolf, this should become a movie!!!
  5. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Stirring, gripping and wonderful!
    February 29, 2012
    Howard Tockman
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    THE UPPER ZOO by Michael Wolf is a remarkable journey

    through friendship and failure, trials and tragedy and

    brokenness and reconciliation. The story flows in such a way that it wouldn't let me put it down until I knew how it would turn out. Michael weaves a tapestry of real life issues that address some hard areas of life that will challenge the reader. The story doesn't pretend to leave you with everything tied into a pretty package. Rather, it encourages readers to expand their capacity for compassion and love.

    At its core, THE UPPER ZOO reminds us that God's mighty redemptive purposes are always close by, even in the most unlikely circumstances, and through the most unlikely characters. The book took me back to my own youth of the 1960's, as I related to the main character. I even recognized some of the other players in

    the story from people I knew back then.

    Yet, above all the conflicts and partial resolutions in the

    book, is the reality that God hasn't left us alone...neither

    in the best of times or the worst of times. Whether we are

    Jewish or not; strong or weak in the natural; smart or not

    by society's standards or content or troubled--God has the

    answer. Redemption is always near in the extended hand

    of our Messiah Yeshua (Jesus).

    By the conclusion of the story, I was left with this strong

    message in my spirit: "These three remain: faith, hope, and

    love...and the greatest of these is love."

    Thank you Michael for reminding us again where to fix our

    eyes and hearts.
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Author/Artist Review

Author: Michael Robert Wolf
Located in: Mainevile, Ohio
Submitted: June 11, 2012

    Tell us a little about yourself.  In addition to leading a Messianic congregation for over thirty years, I have written a number of screenplays and stage productions. My latest screenplay is the Kingdom Pictures movie "The Sound of the Spirit", which I also directed. It is distributed by Bridgestone Multimedia Group and will be available in September. "The Upper Zoo" is my first novel.

    What was your motivation behind this project?  I wanted to write about the experience of a sensitive boy during the 1960s who is confronted with challenges to the precious and special gift created in God's image that each human being is.

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  I want the the theme "There are many kinds of smart and many kind of wise" to stir a hunger for the only source of true meaning and purpose, and for readers to process their own formative school experience in new and fresh ways. I also hope that young people learn lessons from the challenges the various characters face and the ways in which they prevail.

    How were you personally impacted by working on this project?  The characters took me on a journey, so that I learned more about myself and my deepest feelings as I wrote the book. Each day of writing was an adventure.

    Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?  I was influenced by many authors and screenwriters. But my main influence was my own experience. Though the book is not strictly autobiographical, it includes many of my experiences and observations.

    Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know:  I hope they not only read the book, but that they also review it on this site (And, of course, that they hopefully like it in the process).

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