The Therapeutic Zoo

William Munns

Book Cover

GENRE

COMEDY DRAMA FAMILY LGBT YOUNG ADULT

    Core Theme

    COMING OF AGE, ANIMALS

    TIME PERIOD

    Contemporary

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    WE BOUGHT A ZOO

    CHARACTER LIST

    PJ. 35-40. LEAD. SMART, STRONG, SOPHISTICATED, COMPETENT, BOLD, CHARMING, LOVING.

    ALMA JANEK. 30-60'S. PJ'S MOTHER. LOVING, KIND, CARING.

    WES MORGAN. 40'S. ASSISTANT AT THE RANCH. PJ'S LOVE INTEREST (1ST). CONFIDENT, EMPATHETIC, SMART, COMPETENT, FATHERLY.

    JIM CZAPAWSKI. 40-50'S. ANIMAL EXPERT. PJ'S LOVE INTEREST (2ND). HONORABLE, CHARMING, RESPONSIBLE.

    CATE DOMINIC. 15. FOSTER CHILD TAKEN IN BY PJ. STRONG PERSONALITY, OUTSPOKEN, GRATEFUL, ADVENTUROUS.

    ALEX. 40'S. PRODUCER OF THE DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE RANCH. TRUSTWORTHY, COMPETENT, LOVING, CARING.

    Logline

    The Therapeutic Zoo is the remarkable story of a foster care home which adopts a baby elephant, and thus begins a journey of discovery for the home administrator and the children in care. Other animals follow and the ranch becomes a private zoo filled with therapy animals.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 13-17,18-34,35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    El Paso, Texas

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: William Munns

    Year Published: 2018

    Starting Description

    P.J.Janek struggles to manage a foster care home on a ranch, when a baby elephant is left at the gate. Seeing how the baby affects the children, she reluctantly agrees to keep the baby and let the children raise it. More animal donations follow, and her life is transformed beyond her wildest dream.

    Ending Description

    It doesn't end.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    Information not completed

    Mature Audience Themes

    Information not completed

    Plot - Other Elements

    Coming of Age,Happy Ending,Meaningful Message,Philosophical Questions

    Plot - Premise

    Internal Journey/Rebirth,Other

    Main Character Details

    Name: P. J. Janek

    Age: mid to late 40's

    Gender: Female

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Aggressive,Complex,Confident,Educated,Honorable,Leader,Selfless,Romantic,Strong Moral Code

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Wes Mogan

    Age: late 40's

    Gender: Male

    Role: Logical

    Key Traits: Charming,Confident,Decisive,Empathetic,Heartthrob,Educated,Honorable,Leader,Skillful,Romantic,Strong Moral Code

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Cate Dominic

    Age: 15

    Gender: Female

    Role: sidekick

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Badass,Aggressive,Complex,Educated,Leader,Selfless,Outspoken,Sarcastic,Lone Wolf

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Jim Czapawski

    Age: 50's

    Gender: Male

    Role: mentor

    Key Traits: Charming,Complex,Confident,Empathetic,Faithful,Educated,Honorable,Modest

    Development Pitch

    The Therapeutic Zoo is ideal for a long run series, as it follows the lives of foster children, the adults who provide their care, and the menagerie of exotic animals they adopt and care for. The story is the ideal platform for the slowly evolving characters as they grow, interact, and discover the remarkable impact that being close to animals, and embracing nature, can have on one's life. In a world obsessed with social media, the story explores this phenomenon realistically as the ranch, the kids and the baby animals (elephant, rhino, zebra, cheetah, etc.) become a media sensation, and they try to manage their lives in the media spotlight. And P.J. Janek, the lady in charge, discovers her own maternal instincts when she adopts a baby gorilla as her "son". A richly diverse ensemble cast of characters are taken on this unique journey of self-discovery.

    Genre

    ROMANCE, DRAMA

    Brief

    Alma's Foster Care home is known to take in children in need and give them a home and a family. When she passes, her daughter PJ takes over and, with the unexpected arrival of a baby elephant, the ranch becomes also Zoo. The life of the kids, staff and even community around is deeply affected, in a positive way, by the therapeutic effects of having animals in their lives.

    Overall Rating

    EXCELLENT

    Point of View

    THIRD PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: EXCELLENT

    Characterization: EXCELLENT

    Commerciality: EXCELLENT

    Franchise Potential: EXCELLENT

    Pace: GOOD

    Premise: EXCELLENT

    Structure: GOOD

    Theme: EXCELLENT

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    Book profile reflects book accurately.

    Draw of Story

    The premise of the story is highly inviting. The foster care house and children being brought in from several life paths, most of them sad, is already something that is able to get the attention of the audience. Combined with the exotic animals and the way the Therapeutic Zoo is being slowly built only adds up to the narrative.

    Possible Drawbacks

    Nothing made me want to put the book down. However, in case of an adaptation, it would be a good idea to discuss how the children brought in by foster care are tied to a work bond as per their first verbal agreement with Alma and later PJ.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY RELIES HEAVILY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    I would definitely watch this movie because of the beauty of exotic animals brought into the narrative and the compelling stories involving humans taking care of them.

    Fanbase Potential

    If adapted it could easily have a large fanbase as animals are adorable and characters are also unobvious and relatable.

    Awards Potential

    It could have awards potential if adapted because it would require production and effects efforts to build up scenes with animals. Also, the drama involving children's previous lives would require exquisite acting.

    Envisioned Budget

    LARGE BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    WE BOUGHT A ZOO

    What’s New About the Story

    This story is highly original because it combines both a foster care and a zoo being built and the therapeutic effects taking care of animals can have on people around them.

    Lead Characters

    PJ is a very interesting character because even though she is a sophisticated woman living in New York and building her career, she is able to find happiness when she goes back to her family ranch and adopts Buddy, a baby Gorilla, as her son.

    Uniqueness of Story

    It is a rare gem.

    Possible Formats

    Film - Studio, Film - Streaming, TV Series - Streaming, TV Series - Network, TV Series - Limited Run / Mini-Series, TV Series - Cable

    Analyst Recommendation

    RECOMMEND

    Justification

    I recommend it because it is an original and heartfelt story, with an amazing narrative, which is able to successfully combine the passion for animals and the healing effects the zoo has on characters' lives, including staff and abused children.

    Brief

    This is a heartfelt story about a foster home that accepted and changed the lives of children until it received an unexpected baby: a baby elephant. As the facility receives more exotic animals and slowly becomes a zoo; the lives of children, staff and even the community around are positively affected by the therapeutic effects animals have on people.

    What We Liked

    The best thing about this story is that it is highly original. It contrasts the joy and beauty of exotic animals with the sad stories from children's pasts, many of them beaten and abused, and how those amazing beings are able to help them heal.

    Film: It would also be a good adaptation for a Film because the stories of the children are emotionally charged, and the main character's arc is also interesting - even though she is a sophisticated and smart woman living in New York pursuing her career in marketing, she is able to find her happiness in her family's ranch among animals and children.

    TV: This story would be an amazing adaptation for TV as the author provides a substantial amount of narratives ready to be divided in episodes, such as the story of each child taken in, their individual traumas and healing paths; as well as the personal journey of the protagonist, PJ, looking for her own happiness.

    The greatest character arc in this narrative is the Therapeutic Zoo itself being built and finding its way into its true purpose during the narrative.

    Key points: Charismatic protagonist; non-moralist approach to sexual diversity; rich in description of exotic animals; emotionally compelling stories about children with traumatic pasts; healing and positive outcomes.

    Synopsis

    Alma Janek is the loving wife of Klaus, and the couple decides to start adopting children after she has a miscarriage. Even though Alma is able to give birth to biological children later - Priscilla, or PJ, and Constance - her ranch becomes a foster home for several children.

    As PJ graduates from college, marries (and divorces) and pursues her career in New York, a call with bad news about her mom's health takes her back to the ranch.

    As Alma dies, PJ takes over the direction of the foster home. She then hires Wes Morgan.

    It all changes when they receive a box with a baby elephant and with the help of Jim, the zoo veterinarian, PJ decides to keep it and take care of the baby.

    Many additional animals start to arrive mysteriously - such as a zebra.

    As they begin to have cash problems to maintain the Ranch, they establish an internet presence, they start filming a documentary in the facilities with the help of Alex, a documentary producer.

    One day, a baby gorilla with a severe sickness arrives and PJ takes care of him. Against all odds, they succeed in treating the baby, and name him Buddy. PJ treats and considers him her son.

    Wes and PJ fall in love and begin a relationship, but they finish it friendly as Wes begins to recover his career and PJ pursues a Phd in Primate Cognitive Intelligence to learn how to communicate with Buddy.

    PJ graduates, receiving her Phd, and Buddy begins to understand how a keyboard works, and Cate goes to the university and takes her cheetah with her for studies.

    They begin bringing animals to children's hospitals and their therapeutic effects are amazing.

    As PJ start falling for Jim, Wes also falls in love with Natalia. As Natalia gets pregnant and is fired from her job, PJ offers Wes and Nat to build a home at the zoo, and they live there happily with baby Jacob.

    Alex's documentary is a huge success and money earned is able to keep the zoo operating for a long time.

    PJ decides to turn the Zoo into a Therapeutic Zoo, with a residential building for foster children and a facility to enable animals to help people with health conditions.

    At this moment, two big surprises: they get a baby giraffe and Buddy writes on the keyboard acknowledging PJ as his mom.

    About The Author

    William Munns has infused this novel with his lifelong love of animals, and his many years of media production experience.