For some strange reason, Sweet Valley Middle School students have the chance to do summer internships. Jessica tells Steven about working at the makeup counter at the mall, but he points out that it's three days before the internship should start and that if she hasn't heard back yet, she probably didn't get the job. She calls the store, only to find out that the woman in charge of stuff like that is gone for the day. Elizabeth shows up with some big news. She entered their names in a job lottery, and they both got jobs working at the zoo along with Bruce and Melissa McCormack.
Zoos freak out Jessica, but she agrees to go for one day. She gets assigned a job working in the bear habitat, but she refuses to actually do any real work. She spends the day calling the mall, only to learn that the woman didn't receive her application. Jessica leaves early to go to the mall, and she tries to apply to dozens of different stores. Each one turns her down because she applied too late or for you know, legal reasons.
The next day, the head of the bear habitat, Justin, comes in with some big news. Someone just caught a mother bear and her cub at a mall, and they're bringing in the bears. When they arrive, he leaves her in charge to check out a few things. The mother bear ends up dying, and Jessica goes in and saves the baby. He grows attached to her and she names him Gus after her teddy bear.
The lady from the mall calls and ask Jessica to start work that day. Jessica quits the zoo, but spend the whole day thinking about Gus, wishing she was there, and hating on everyone else. She goes back to the zoo after Justin tries to use Elizabeth in her place. Gus won't even let her hold him, but he runs to Jessica. She agrees to quit her job and take over caring for him.
Elizabeth gets a job working in the monkey habitat, and the keeper keeps telling her about how smart all the monkeys are. She doesn't see it until one of the monkeys, Spanky, starts playing pranks on her. Spanky eventually escapes from the zoo, and no matter what she does, she can't catch him. He shows up on her street, at the library, at the ice cream shop, and even in her backyard. When she finally gives in and admits that monkeys are smart, Spanks shows up at the zoo and turns himself in.
Bruce, as it turns out, is terrified of birds, which makes it rough when he lands in the aviary with Melissa. Though he tries to hide his fears, she realizes that he's scared when he keeps shaking and making up excuses to escape. Bruce takes over a job watching a new group of eggs, because eggs are less scary than birds. One of the eggs hatches, and the bird imprints on him.
The little bird follows him everywhere he goes, gets excited when it sees him, and sits with him whenever he is there. Bruce finally names the bird drumstick, but he still hates birds. While changing clothes, he hears the bird chirping and realizes that it climbed on top of this super high pole and big birds keep surrounding it. He climbs to the top, saves the bird, and wins Melissa's heart.
Jessica finds out that the zoo plans to return Gus to the wild. She begs them to let him stay on, but Justin points out that he's growing and needs to be around other birds. Jessica sneaks him into her bookbag and takes him home, where she hides him in her room. The next morning, Gus wanders into the kitchen while Alice is talking with her stuffy and uptight clients. Spanky shows up, there's a big confrontation, and the clients leave in shock.
Realizing that she can't care for him, Jessica agrees to give Gus back to the zoo. She and Justin take him into the wild, but he won't move until she comes along. They walk with the bear for awhile, he gets distracted by some stuff, and starts playing without her. Justin tells her that Gus will never forget her and they leave. Jessica decides that maybe zoos aren't so bad after all.
*They have to wear olive green jumpsuits every day at the zoo. Liz can't figure out why Jessica won't ride home with her when she decides to wear her jumpsuit home. I think I know why.
*Lila gets an internship working for some fancy dress store at the mall. When Jessica visits her, she sees a dress that costs $2,000.
*Jessica goes crazy when she can't find another place to intern, but I don't know why. It's not like this is mandatory. They even point out that not everyone signed up for an internship.
*Whenever people say anything like bear, including Steven saying "barely," Jessica gets excited. It just made me roll my eyes. She also thought Elizabeth threatened to take Gus when she mentioned needing to take the bus.
*The Spanky thing is ridiculous. How can a monkey walk into an ice cream shop or lounge around on a bookshelf in the library without anyone seeing him?