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Characters: Shoebox Zoo

Marnie McBride

An eleven-year old Scottish-American, Marnie finds her troubled life turned upside down when a shoebox containing living toys comes into her possession. She is prophesized to find the Book of Forbidden Knowledge created by Michael Scot and restore the Shoebox Zoo to their human forms. However, she refuses the call, filled with angst from the recent death of her mother. Mopey and cries for most of the series, but with good reason.

Michael Scot

The Great Wizard of Scotland, Michael Scot is an 1100-year old mathematician, scientist, alchemist and wizard who created the Book of Forbidden Knowledge. His pride and arrogance led to turning his four students into toys after they stole the Book, and he follows a prophecy that one day a Chosen One will find the Book.

William McTaggart

Michael's manservant. Eleven-hundred years ago, he stole the Book of Forbidden Knowledge from his master to protect him from its evil, and shortly after it disappeared. As punishment, he was made immortal until the Book was found. By the time of the series' beginning, McTaggart works as a mole for Michael, acting as a servant for Toledo.

Ross McBride

Marnie's father. Ross works as a librarian at Edinburgh University Library, and struggles to care for Marnie after the loss of his wife. He remains unaware of the magical goings on around Marnie, believing her strange behaviour is due to her age or grief.
  • Adults Are Useless: For the most part, Ross is oblivious to Marnie's quest and the Shoebox Zoo, although he does note some oddities like meeting Michael several times, and even follows Marnie into her magic locker but is frozen in time by Toledo, yet in the second season he seems to have completely forgotten that experience. He helps Marnie with her grief in the second season.
  • Always with You: Tells Marnie that her dead mother is always with them in a very moving scene.
    Marnie: You said that you'd do anything to bring Mom back. Did you mean it?
    Ross: No, sweetheart. I didn't mean it. Mum's gone. She can't come back. No matter how much we want her to. But she's here (pointing to his heart). Right here. Forever.
  • Bookworm: Really loves his books.
  • Good Parents: Ross is a very good father despite being a recently made widow, supports Marnie through-and-through, and even comes to rescue her when she stands at the edge of a waterfall having crossed the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Identical Grandson: Resembles his ancestor Angus McBride, though that maybe because they are played by the same actor Jason Connery. Angus found the Book of Forbidden Knowledge and gave it to Chief Stonebear of the Lakota people as a gift to marry Stonebear's daughter.
  • Papa Wolf
  • Romancing the Widow: The Toledo-possessed Aurora tries to seduce Ross, and even claims to Marnie that they are lovers, to which Ross is shocked by and denies.

Kyle Stone

Marnie's best friend from America, Kyle quickly becomes her Secret Keeper and ally in the second season. Pragmatic and honest, Kyle comes from a long line of magical Native Americans but is reluctant to embrace his magical inheritance.

Nathaniel Stone

Kyle's grandfather. He is the Medicine Man of the Lakota people, and a descendant of Chief Stonebear. Nathaniel acts as a guide for Marnie in place of Michael, but advises her through words rather than action. Knows where the Book of Forbidden Knowledge is hidden, and believes it should remain hidden.

    The Shoebox Zoo 
The titular characters of the series. The Shoebox Zoo were the four students of Michael Scot, who stole the Book of Forbidden Knowledge to prevent it from corrupting their master, and they ultimately lost it. As revenge, Michael transformed them into living toys and placed in a form of sleep until the prophesized Chosen One awakens them. Only when the Book is found can they become human again.

Tropes shared by the characters include:

  • Animal Stereotypes: To an extent, the Zoo members match their animal counterparts - Edwin considers himself a noble being like an eagle if not pompous, Bruno is a friendly bear, Ailsa has a snake's cynical and cunning nature, and Wolfgang is lone wolf incarnate. Hunter exhibits the classic traits of a spirited but stubborn horse, though he is actually a horse spirit.
  • The Atoner: The four wish to become human again, but first have to admit they stole the Book.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Transformed into toys and placed in a shoebox in a state of slumber for eleven-hundred years until a Chosen One awakens them with their own magic. It is implied they were actually self-aware but could not move, knowing the Earth is not flat, knew wars and plagues had occurred, and even knew Marnie's mother as a child.
  • Fish out of Water: Edwin, Bruno, and Ailsa in particular. Usually played for laughs.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Funny Animal
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Give up their only chance to become human, by destroying the Book to save the world.
  • Immortal Hero: Subverted. The Shoebox Zoo have been alive for centuries, do not age, but aren't invulnerable to harm, or even death.
  • Living Toy: Edwin, Bruno, Ailsa, and Wolfgang were all once human. Hunter is actually a spirit who can inhabit the form of a wooden dancing stick shaped like a horse.
  • Really 700 Years Old
  • Sealed Good In A Shoebox

Edwin de Wyntor

Self-proclaimed leader and spokesperson of the Shoebox Zoo, Edwin is a pompous metal eagle dressed as a knight. A bit of an Upper-Class Twit bursting with British Stuffiness, Edwin is a Glory Seeker and wants to be the first person to touch the Book of Forbidden Knowledge.


A friendly bear made of stone, Bruno is The Heart of the group. Kind-hearted, and having the upmost faith in Marnie, Bruno may not be the brightest bear in the box, but he certainly very loyal.
  • Badass Adorable: Comes to Marnie's aid when Toledo disguises himself as a female psychiatrist to drain her powers, biting his hand to wound him, since Toledo can't touch the toys.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Averted with him, but he is terrified of a real grizzly, and a teddy bear, and a hippopotamus statue.
  • The Big Guy
  • The Ditz: Enjoys life to the fullest, very fun-loving, but the brightest of the bunch. He doesn't even know that the Earth is round, and has trouble explaining or understanding things.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Criticizes Marnie when she uses her powers to scare Becky by resurrecting a dead bird, saying he'd rather remain a toy than become human via dark magic. Marnie then punishes Bruno by fusing him to a rock and abandoning him. He gets better.
  • Friend to All Children
  • Friend to All Living Things
  • Gentle Giant
  • The Heart
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Imprisoned in a rock by Marnie, though she later frees him.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Marnie, believing she can accomplish anything, and is the first to support her.


The sole woman of the group, Ailsa is a cynical golden adder with a distrustful nature about her. The oldest of the group, Ailsa is the most desperate to become human again and is more willing to do questionable things to get what she wants.
  • Anti-Hero
  • Brutal Honesty
  • The Chick
  • The Cynic
  • Good Is Not Nice
  • Green Eyes
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Ailsa comes up with the idea that Marnie should user her mother's old necklace to talk to her ghost. The evil Marnie takes that idea, and plans to resurrect her mother all together.
  • Screw Destiny: Ailsa tries to convince Edwin, Bruno, and Wolfgang that saving the world is not worth it if their one chance to be human again is lost. Thankfully, Hunter comes over and talks some sense into the group, mostly through flattery and guilt tripping.
  • Smug Snake: Has her moments.
  • Sour Supporter: Not particularly fond of Marnie's bad attitude, and despite Ailsa's own moody and snappy personality, she puts her trust in Marnie and compliments on her tenacity.
  • Sssssnake Talk: But, of course.

Wolfang Scot

A blue-and-gold painted wooden wolf, Wolfgang is a deceptive character with a shady past and even shadier motives. Has long-standing hatred towards Michael, and eventually acts as a mole for Toledo just to spite him and Marnie. Terrified of being set alight, likes the taste of butter, and hates being wood, believing everything tests of sawdust.
  • Anti-Hero
  • Back for the Finale
  • Badass Beard
  • Character Development: Starts off as a deceptive and resentful wolf, but becomes a loyal and supportive guy after The Reveal happens.
  • Darkand Troubled Past: Wolfgang is Michael's son and grew to hate him when Michael denied his rightful heritage in favour of his own ambition and pride, even when he became a man. Wolfgang spited Michael, stealing the Book, and kicking off the whole series. Michael hides self-loathing for his pride, but still damns his son as a traitor until Marnie makes them discuss their issues.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Envious that Michael chose Marnie as his Chosen One. Makes sense when their relationship is brought into context. Michael denied Wolfgang his inheritance in favour of his own ambition, turning Wolfgang against him.
  • Heel-Face Revolving Door
  • Howling to the Night
  • It Tastes Like Feet: Thinks everything tastes like sawdust.
  • Killed Off for Real: Chucked into a fireplace by Toledo for betraying him. Comes back as a ghost, and then resurrected by Marnie.
  • The Mole: Acts as this for Toledo to spite Michael for choosing Marnie as his chosen one.
  • Noble Wolf
  • The Power Of Trust: Quite distrustful of Marnie, but due his own past of mistrust and denial. Eventually learns to trust her after getting over his emotional baggage.
  • The Reveal: Wolfgang is Michael's son, and his resentment towards his father for denying him his acceptance and inheritance led to the events of the whole series.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Marnie later on.
  • Villainous Friendship: With Toledo.
  • Why Did It Have To Be Fire


A Native American Spirit Advisor who can materialise as a horse-shaped dancing stick introduced in the second season. He is a friend to Kyle and Nathaniel, wild and excitable, but also honest and one for justice. Able to shapeshift into an actual horse.


Toledo the Shapeshifter

The series' central antagonist. A mysterious, evil shapeshifter with a passion for white-coloured clothes and Spanish culture, Juan Roberto Montoya de Toledo is as old as Michael and seeks to obtain the Book to cover the world in eternal darkness and prove his superiority to the wizard. During the first half of season one, he disguises himself as an Evil Brit student named John Roberts.

Los Contrarios

The evil twins of the Shoebox Zoo created by Toledo to spite Michael's own students. Dark, blind and driven by evil thoughts, they spend most of their time growing in crystalline eggs until awakened by the opening of the Book. Their time on screen is short.

Aurora Dexter / The Dawn Queen

An television medium from Valentine, Nebraska, who communicates with the dead for viewers, but is considered a Phony Psychic. Mother of Marnie's childhood rival Becky. She shares the same birthday as Marnie, and is actually a prophesized Dark Messiah who will destroy the world by gaining the Book of Forbidden Knowledge and become the Dawn Queen. Toledo possesses her to fulfil this prophecy.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Her desire to escape her cheap TV show and get a bigger, better one leads to make a deal with Toledo.
  • Bigger Bad: Built up to be this, and eventually becomes this trope when the Dawn Queen persona takes over Aurora, demoting Toledo to the role of The Dragon.
  • Dark Messiah: Destined to find the Book and use its darkness to destroy the world.
  • Fiery Redhead
  • Phony Psychic: Believed to be, but this changes when she makes brief contact with Wolfgang's ghost.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Poor Aurora is completely innocent in the whole evil department. She is possessed by Toledo after signing a magical contract that she thought was a deal to get onto a new TV channel, and then is turned into a monster, corrupted by the evil influence of the Dawn Queen persona. She gets better.

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