Jessica is super excited because (a) her class is taking a field trip to the zoo and (b) Alice is the field trip mom/chaperon. As she explains to Liz, it means they get to lead the group and basically do whatever they want. That clearly isn't true though. Alice won't make Amy and Eve switch seats with them and makes them go to the back of the line when Jessica tries to cut to be next to her.
She eventually gets so ticked off that when they reach the zoo, she convinces Liz, who is her buddy, to ditch the group. Liz refuses and they fight for so long that Winston and Todd come over to see what's going on. By the time they finish explaining themselves, the group really is gone. That's okay with Jessica because a bunch of kids wanted to see the snakes that she hates and all she wanted to do was see the monkeys. The zoo closed down that branch because a baby chimpanzee went missing.
That doesn't stop her from convincing the others they should sneak over and see the monkeys anyway. The place is shut down and has big signs that say to keep out. Elizabeth finally convinces them to go back and find the group but then Jessica realizes she lost her name bracelet. They go looking for it, and Jessica accidentally stumbles onto the missing chimpanzee hiding in a drainage ditch. She and Winston stay behind while Liz and Todd go to get help.
Jessica gets Winston to give up the banana he brought for lunch to lure the chimpanzee out of its hiding spot. It winds up coming close enough to grab the banana but not close enough for them to grab it. Some adults show up and pull the chimpanzee out and thank the kids for helping. They meet back up with the group, get a mini lecture, and then go back on the tour.
The zookeepers invite them to come and see the monkey house. They also say that since the monkey didn't have a name, they decided to name it Jessica. Alice lectures them a little before basically saying she's glad they're okay. In the end, someone even finds and turns in her bracelet, so it's a perfect day.
*It's nice to know that even in the Sweet Valley Kids books that no one ever gets punished.
*This is a twist on that Out to Sea book from SVH. Winston starts to take credit for the banana thing before finally admitting that he just wanted to eat it and that it was Jessica's idea.
*I remember being so excited when my mom or dad was a field trip chaperon. In fact, I have big memories of my dad going to the science museum with us. I always wanted to be as close to my mom as possible too. That's why it's weird that Alice keeps lecturing them and basically ignoring them all day.
*Liz chooses a monkey pen as a souvenir, but Jessica can't make up her mind between a funny hat and a sticker with birds on it. She does the eenie meenie miney moe thing and gets annoyed when she gets stuck with the sticker. Damn kid, just buy the hat then!