Thursday, May 10, 2012

Owls, Pancakes, Alligators and Mullet

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
“Carl Hiaasen, bestselling author of Basket Case and other hilarious Floridian capers, serves up a high-spirited fight for the environment in his first work aimed at younger audiences.The site of Coconut Cove's future Mother Paula's All-American Pancake House is experiencing a slight problem: survey stakes removed, alligators in the port-a-potties, and painted-over patrol cars. But who's behind the clever vandalism and pranks? New Florida resident Roy Eberhardt isn't aware of these goings-on, but he has often noticed a barefoot boy running down the street faster than anything. His curiosity piqued, Roy starts to inquire around and even follows the boy once, only to be told by Beatrice Leep, a.k.a. Beatrice the Bear, to mind his own business. Despite Beatrice's warning and plenty of bullying from the lunkheaded Dana Matherson, Roy follows the boy, whose name is Mullet Fingers, one day and winds up in the middle of an ecological mission to save a parliament of burrowing owls from being bulldozed.
Full of colorful, well-developed characters, Hoot is a quick-witted adventure that will keep readers hooked. With down-to-earth Roy, dumbfounded Officer Delinko, and construction site manager Curly -- along with other head-shaking morons and uplifting heroes -- the author delivers an appealing cast of characters that keep the plot twisting and turning until the highly charged ending. Another zany trip to the Sunshine State for Hiaasen fans, this rewarding ecological adventure should keep readers young and old hooting with laughter. Matt Warner”

I am reviewing the audio CD version of Hoot. I enjoyed listening to Chad Lowe read this engaging book. Carl Hiaasen has captured the “new kid” angle and the “smaller kid” angle with ease. Roy hates Florida. He just wants to go back to Montana until he sees the “running boy.” Once he sees the boy, he is determined to solve the mystery of whom he is and why he was running.

Roy gets involved in Mullet Fingers’ crusade to save the burrowing owls from the Mrs. Paula’s Pancake House crew. The unwavering resolution of Mullet Fingers inspires Roy to learn to love Florida, or at least accept that it isn’t a horrible place to live. As much as Roy, Mullet Fingers and Beatrice save the owls, they save Roy as well.

The adult characters are basically there to provide some comic relief. The brains of the mystery are provided by the Middle School kids. Officer Delinko and Curly are steps away from being their own new version of the Three Stooges (heck, one even has the name already!). Roy’s parents are loving and kind. Roy’s law-enforcement dad helps Roy locate some important missing information but for the most part the adults are not particularly involved.

This book would be a great read for Hi-Lo readers (high interest, low vocabulary), girls and boys. Boys will love the encounters with Dana Matherson and all the pranks pulled in order to save the owls. Girls and boys alike will enjoy the mystery aspect. 

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