Moctezuma's Zoo: A Tale from An Enchanted City

Children's Books

By Jackie ONeal

Publisher : Publish America

ABOUT Jackie ONeal

Jackie ONeal
Jackie O’Neal holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the renowned Sarah Lawrence College Graduate Writing program. O’Neal is the author of two books WOMAN PRIEST and BORN IN THE LAND OF THE TANGO.  Over the years as a journalist her commentary has been seen and heard on The Huffingt More...



In this  masterfully written, imaginative tale from the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, Emperor Moctezuma’s daughter, Ixtla dreams about one day inviting all her favorite animals- pumas, tamarins, and camels to live in her temple palace, but she ends up locked up in a tower by Moctezuma as punishment for  cooking up such a “foolish and dangerous idea,” and to keep her from harm’s way. But with the help of a magical quetzal bird, she escapes and the two fly off on a thrilling journey through rainforests, deserts, and mountains in search of encounters with wild pumas, sleepy camels, an enlightened eagle, and jittery monkeys of all kinds. Ixtla must figure out how to return home with all the animals in tow and find a  way to  avoid the Emperor’s wrath for breaking away from the tower. Will she and all her favorite animals return home  safely into Emperor Moctezuma’s good graces? or will he refuse the animals entrance to Tenochtitlan?

While in college taking an archeology course over 20 years ago, my professor talked about the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan and said a menagerie existed there. The first thought that came to mind- Moctezuma's Zoo- what a great idea for a children's story!

” Introduces very young readers to an interesting little known  part of Aztec history and  how Emperor Moctezuma’s built a zoo in the enchanted city of Tenochtitlan. Children will  be delighted by the lyrical language.”

- January Jones
Director of Public Relations
Host of January Jones sharing Successimo Stories at

” Makes a great unique  read aloud for early  grades or  for individual  reading.  The language is poetic and the words help the readers visualize the action in the story. The book also provides readers with the opportunity to learn geography, information about animal habitats, and new vocabulary.”

                                       -John Monsul
                                        Communicating Today-Channel 10

“A fast-paced story for young readers who enjoy action and vivid, exotic settings. The text is dazzling and the characters express themselves in distinctive ways children will find enchanting. Not often do we find tales from the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan that are entertaining for children.  I love how the animals are seen working together as they are gathered.”

Karen K Lowry,R.N.,M.S.N.