Hoot
  • Hoot
  • Hoot

Hoot

4.3 849
by Carl Hiaasen
     
 

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Unfortunately, Roy's first acquaintance in Florida is Dana Matherson, a well-known bully. Then again, if Dana hadn't been sinking his thumbs into Roy's temples and mashing his face against the school-bus window, Roy might never have spotted the running boy.See more details below

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Overview

Unfortunately, Roy's first acquaintance in Florida is Dana Matherson, a well-known bully. Then again, if Dana hadn't been sinking his thumbs into Roy's temples and mashing his face against the school-bus window, Roy might never have spotted the running boy.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"With a Florida setting and pro-environment, anti-development message, Hiaasen returns to familiar turf for his first novel for young readers," wrote PW. "Several suspenseful scenes, along with dollops of humor, help make this quite a hoot indeed." Ages 10-up. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Roy Eberhardt's most recent move has taken him from the mountains of Montana to the flatlands of Florida. "Disney World is an armpit," he states unhappily, "compared to Montana." On the first day of school, he meets Dana Matherson... rather he meets Dana's fist during a bus ride brawl. While pressed against the school bus window, Roy spots a running boy. This boy is carrying no backpack, and oddly enough, is wearing no shoes! Desperate to find some action in Florida, Roy trails the barefoot runner. As a friendship with the mysterious boy develops, Roy becomes involved in an attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from the construction of the new "Mother Paula's All-American Pancake House." In his telling of Roy's story, popular author Carl Hiassen creates a character who is not only believable, but extremely likeable. The story is told in a way that gives the reader insight into Roy's thoughts, actions, and rationale. Hiassen captures our interest as he manages to show how young Roy can be obedient, caring, and unconventional — all at the same time. 2002, Alfred A. Knopf, 292 pp., Webster
KLIATT
Hiaasen, a columnist for the Miami Herald and the author of many best-selling novels for adults about the wild and wacky side of the state of Florida, offers a hoot of a read here in his first novel for YAs. Roy is the new kid in town, a student at Trace Middle School in Coconut Cove. From the school bus window, as a bully is harassing him, Roy spots a barefoot boy his age running by, and he becomes intrigued. Roy follows the boy, and gradually learns that he is involved in trying to protect the nesting site of some rare burrowing owls. This site is currently an empty lot that is about to be turned into a pancake house by a corporate executive called Chuck Muckle, with the assistance of a bald foreman called Curly. Adventures and misadventures ensue—alligators pop up in portable potties and a tough girl takes a bite out of Roy's bike tire—before Roy works out a way to get revenge on the bully and help the barefoot boy save the owls. My 14-year-old daughter read this and liked it, calling it "clever and funny" and commenting "it was interesting how the plots came together." Hiaasen's trademark over-the-top humor and satire, along with his concern for safeguarding Florida's wildlife, come through clearly and will entertain readers. Here's hoping he continues to write for YAs. Recommended for junior high school students.
— Paula Rohrlick; KLIATT
School Library Journal
Packed with quirky characters and improbable plot twists, Hiaasen's first novel for young readers is entertaining but ultimately not very memorable. Fans of the author's adult novels will find trademark elements-including environmental destruction, corrupt politicians, humorous situations, and a Florida setting-all viewed through the eyes of a middle-school student. Roy Eberhardt has just moved with his family to Coconut Cove. He immediately becomes the target of a particularly dense bully who tries to strangle him on the school bus. Roy seems more concerned, however, with discovering the identity of a running, barefoot boy he spots through the window of the bus. Meanwhile, plans to build a pancake house on a vacant lot are derailed when someone vandalizes the construction site. The two story lines come together when Roy discovers that the runaway boy is disrupting the construction to save a group of burrowing owls. Roy must help his new friend, nicknamed Mullet Fingers, as well as fend off the bully and adapt to life in Florida. The story is silly at times but rarely laugh-out-loud funny, and there are several highly unlikely scenes. Also, it wraps up a little too neatly-Roy's classmates join him to protest the construction project, his father finds the missing environmental impact report, and the owls are saved. While Roy is a sympathetic protagonist, few of the other characters are well developed. Students looking for humorous, offbeat characters and situations will probably prefer Louis Sachar's Holes (Farrar, 1998) or books by Daniel Pinkwater.-Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
“It seems unlikely that the master of noir-tinged, surrealistic black humor would write a novel for young readers. And yet, there has always been something delightfully juvenile about Hiaasen’s imagination; beneath the bent cynicism lurks a distinctly 12-year-old cackle. In this thoroughly engaging tale of how middle schooler Roy Eberhardt, new kid in Coconut Cove, learns to love South Florida, Hiaasen lets his inner kid run rampant, both the subversive side that loves to see grown-ups make fools of themselves and the righteously indignant side, appalled at the mess being made of our planet. The story is full of offbeat humor, buffoonish yet charming supporting characters, and genuinely touching scenes of children enjoying the wildness of nature. He deserves a warm welcome into children’s publishing.”—Booklist

“A wonderful tour-de-force.”—The Boston Globe

“A rollicking, righteous story.”—The Miami Herald

“You don’t have to be a young adult to enjoy it.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Yes, it is a hoot.”—The Washington Post Book World

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780440419396
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
12/27/2005
Edition description:
Age Range 9-12 yrs
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
21,580
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Hoot


By Carl Hiaasen

Random House

Carl Hiaasen
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0739331752


Chapter One

Roy would not have noticed the strange boy if it weren't for Dana Matherson, because Roy ordinarily didn't look out the window of the school bus. He preferred to read comics and mystery books on the morning ride to Trace Middle.

But on this day, a Monday (Roy would never forget), Dana Matherson grabbed Roy's head from behind and pressed his thumbs into Roy's temple, as if he were squeezing a soccer ball. The older kids were supposed to stay in the back of the bus, but Dana had snuck up behind Roy's seat and ambushed him. When Roy tried to wriggle free, Dana mushed his face against the window.

It was then, squinting through the smudged glass, that Roy spotted the strange boy running along the sidewalk. It appeared as if he was hurrying to catch the school bus, which had stopped at a corner to pick up more kids.

The boy was straw-blond and wiry, and his skin was nutbrown from the sun. The expression on his face was intent and serious. He wore a faded Miami Heat basketball jersey and dirty khaki shorts, and here was the odd part: no shoes. The soles of his bare feet looked as black as barbecue coals.

Trace Middle School didn't have the world's strictest dress code, but Roy was pretty sure that some sort of footwear was required. The boy might have been carrying sneakers in his backpack, if only he'd been wearing a backpack. No shoes, no backpack, no books-strange, indeed, on a school day.

Roy was sure that the barefoot boy would catch all kinds of grief from Dana and the other big kids once he boarded the bus, but that didn't happen....

Because the boy kept running-past the corner, past the line of students waiting to get on the bus; past the bus itself. Roy wanted to shout, "Hey, look at that guy!" but his mouth wasn't working so well. Dana Matherson still had him from behind, pushing his face against the window.

As the bus pulled away from the intersection, Roy hoped to catch another glimpse of the boy farther up the street. However, he had turned off the sidewalk and was now cutting across a private yard-running very fast, much faster than Roy could run and maybe even faster than Richard, Roy's best friend back in Montana. Richard was so fast that he got to work out with the high school track squad when he was only in seventh grade.

Dana Matherson was digging his fingernails into Roy's scalp, trying to make him squeal, but Roy barely felt a thing. He was gripped with curiosity as the running boy dashed through one neat green yard after another, getting smaller in Roy's vision as he put a wider distance between himself and the school bus.

Roy saw a big pointy-eared dog, probably a German shepherd, bound off somebody's porch and go for the boy. Incredibly, the boy didn't change his course. He vaulted over the dog, crashed through a cherry hedge, and then disappeared from view.

Roy gasped.

"Whassamatter, cowgirl? Had enough?"

This was Dana, hissing in Roy's right ear. Being the new kid on the bus, Roy didn't expect any help from the others. The "cowgirl" remark was so lame, it wasn't worth getting mad about. Dana was a well-known idiot, on top of which he outweighed Roy by at least fifty pounds. Fighting back would have been a complete waste of energy.

"Had enough yet? We can't hear you, Tex." Dana's breath smelled like stale cigarettes. Smoking and beating up smaller kids were his two main hobbies.

"Yeah, okay," Roy said impatiently. "I've had enough."

As soon as he was freed, Roy lowered the window and stuck out his head. The strange boy was gone.

Who was he? What was he running from?

Roy wondered if any of the other kids on the bus had seen what he'd seen. For a moment he wondered if he'd really seen it himself.

That same morning, a police officer named David Delinko was sent to the future site of another Mother Paula's All-American Pancake House. It was a vacant lot at the corner of East Oriole and Woodbury, on the eastern edge of town.

Officer Delinko was met by a man in a dark blue pickup truck. The man, who was as bald as a beach ball, introduced himself as Curly. Officer Delinko thought the bald man must have a good sense of humor to go by such a nickname, but he was wrong. Curly was cranky and unsmiling.

"You should see what they done," he said to the policeman.

"Who?"

"Follow me," the man called Curly said.

Officer Delinko got in step behind him. "The dispatcher said you wanted to report some vandalism."

"That's right," Curly grunted over his shoulder.

The policeman couldn't see what there was to be vandalized on the property, which was basically a few acres of scraggly weeds. Curly stopped walking and pointed at a short piece of lumber on the ground. A ribbon of bright pink plastic was tied to one end of the stick. The other end was sharpened and caked with gray dirt.

Curly said, "They pulled 'em out."

"That's a survey stake?" asked Officer Delinko.

"Yep. They yanked 'em out of the ground, every damn one.

"Probably just kids."

"And then they threw'em every which way," Curly said, waving a beefy arm, "and then they filled in the holes."

"That's a little weird," the policeman remarked. "When did this happen?"

"Last night or early this morning," Curly said. "Maybe it don't look like a big deal, but it's gonna take a while to get the site marked out again. Meantime, we can't start clearin' or gradin' or nuthin'. We got backhoes and dozers already leased, and now they gotta sit. I know it don't look like the crime of the century, but still-"

"I understand," said Officer Delinko. "What's your estimate of the monetary damage?"

"Damage?"

"Yes. So I can put it in my report." The policeman picked up the survey stake and examined it. "It's not really broken, is it?"

"Well, no-"

"Were any of them destroyed?" asked Officer Delinko. "How much does one of these things cost-a buck or two?"

The man called Curly was losing his patience. "They didn't break none of the stakes," he said gruffly.

"Not even one?" The policeman frowned. He was trying to figure out what to put in his report. You can't have vandalism without monetary damages, and if nothing on the property was broken or defaced....

"What I'm tryin' to explain," Curly said irritably, "it's not that they messed up the survey stakes, it's them screwing up our whole construction schedule. That's where it'll cost some serious bucks."


From the Hardcover edition.


Excerpted from Hoot by Carl Hiaasen Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“It seems unlikely that the master of noir-tinged, surrealistic black humor would write a novel for young readers. And yet, there has always been something delightfully juvenile about Hiaasen’s imagination; beneath the bent cynicism lurks a distinctly 12-year-old cackle. In this thoroughly engaging tale of how middle schooler Roy Eberhardt, new kid in Coconut Cove, learns to love South Florida, Hiaasen lets his inner kid run rampant, both the subversive side that loves to see grown-ups make fools of themselves and the righteously indignant side, appalled at the mess being made of our planet. The story is full of offbeat humor, buffoonish yet charming supporting characters, and genuinely touching scenes of children enjoying the wildness of nature. He deserves a warm welcome into children’s publishing.”—Booklist

“A wonderful tour-de-force.”—The Boston Globe

“A rollicking, righteous story.”—The Miami Herald

“You don’t have to be a young adult to enjoy it.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Yes, it is a hoot.”—The Washington Post Book World

Read More

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