Scat

Scat

4.4 508
by Carl Hiaasen, Edward Asner
     
 

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From Newbery Honoree Carl Hiaasen comes this New York Times bestseller set in Florida's Everglades in which an eccentric eco-avenger, a stuffed rat named Chelsea, a wannabe Texas oilman, a singing substitute teacher, and a ticked-off panther can’t stop two kids on a mission to find their missing teacher!
 
Bunny Starch, the most feared

Overview

From Newbery Honoree Carl Hiaasen comes this New York Times bestseller set in Florida's Everglades in which an eccentric eco-avenger, a stuffed rat named Chelsea, a wannabe Texas oilman, a singing substitute teacher, and a ticked-off panther can’t stop two kids on a mission to find their missing teacher!
 
Bunny Starch, the most feared biology teacher ever, is missing. She disappeared after a school field trip to Black Vine Swamp. And, to be honest, the kids in her class are relieved.
 
But when the principal tries to tell the students that Mrs. Starch has been called away on a "family emergency," Nick and Marta just don't buy it. No, they figure the class delinquent, Smoke, has something to do with her disappearance.
 
And he does! But not in the way they think. There's a lot more going on in Black Vine Swamp than any one player in this twisted tale can see. It’s all about to hit the fan, and when it does, the bad guys better scat. 
 
“Ingenious . . . Scat won’t disappoint Hiaasenphiles of any age.” —The New York Times
 
“Woohoo! It’s time for another trip to Florida—screwy, gorgeous Florida, with its swamps and scammers and strange creatures (two- and four-legged). Our guide, of course, is Carl Hiaasen.” —DenverPost.com

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Starred Review, School Library Journal, January 2009:
“This well-written and smoothly plotted story, with fully realized characters, will certainly appeal to mystery lovers.”

Review, The New York Times Book Review, February 15, 2009:
"Not many authors are equally successful at writing books for adults and children, but Carl Hiaasen seems to have made an effortless transition ... The ingenious plotting makes SCAT more engrossing than either of its predecessors."

Most other students don't seem too upset that teacher Bunny Starch is not at school, but Nick and Marta are convinced that something isn't quite right. The stern biology instructor hasn't been seen since she was puddling around Black Vine Swamp on a recent field trip. True, there is a vague, unsigned note about a family emergency, but our young sleuths aren't buying it. Carl Hiaasen's second foray into young reader fiction (after Flush) displays anew his talent for creating likable characters and self-propelling plots. Now in trade paperback and NOOK Book.

Brian Monahan

David Pogue
Not many authors are equally successful at writing books for adults and children, but Carl Hiaasen seems to have made an effortless transition…His latest, Scat, won't disappoint Hiaasenphiles of any age…the ingenious plotting makes Scat more engrossing than either of its predecessors. The characters are richer—two of them turn out to be not at all the caricatures they seemed at first. And even the title is a clever pun, referring both to the good guys' message to the bad guys, and to the panther droppings that hold a key to the mystery. In short, Hiaasen's novels for younger readers seem to be maturing right along with them.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Hiaasen reprises Hoot with a panther in the owl role, an oil company as the villain and a rich renegade named Twilly Spree as the outlaw environmentalist determined to save Florida from developers. The kid hero is Nick Waters, saintly son of a minor league pitching coach who joined the National Guard to augment a meager salary, wound up in Iraq and has come back badly injured. Nick's ample worries multiply after his science teacher disappears while on a field trip to the Black Vine Swamp. When Nick goes to the aid of a classmate suspected of involvement in the teacher's disappearance, he stumbles onto dangerous facts about the swamp: an endangered Florida panther has taken up residence, and an oil company has begun an illegal drilling operation. Nick is way too good to be true-he's more the son every parent dreams of-but Hiaasen's smooth writing, whacked-out humor and highly entertaining cast of oddball characters keep the plot clipping along. The achievement is in the underlying earnestness-formulaic or not, the story will move readers, and any kid who loved Hoot will like this. Ages 10-up. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
Written in the tradition of Hoot and Flush, Carl Hiaasen's latest work again features concerned teens tackling environmental issues head-on and exposing a corrupt plot in the process. But the plot here begins unusually, with the disappearance of a much hated teacher from a field trip to Black Vine Swamp. Students Nick and Marta are convinced that Mrs. Starch's disappearance is not due a "family emergency," as the principal states. After all, Mrs. Starch has no family! And no one has seen the teacher since the class field trip ended abruptly, with a fire in the swamp sending the students back to school and Mrs. Starch into the swamp to retrieve one girl's lost inhaler. Soon, Nick and Marta are up to their eyes in a mystery as thick as swamp muck with a solution as elusive as a Florida panther. Their prime suspect, the class delinquent named Smoke, turns out to have nothing to do with the disappearance—and yet, he just might be the key to solving it all. The danger is greater than the sleuthing pair can guess, and the foes—representatives from a thieving energy company—more formidable. Fans of Hiaasen's earlier works will enjoy this, too; newcomers to the author may prefer to begin with Hoot. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8

Once again, Hiaasen has written an edge-of-the-seat eco-thriller. When their unpopular biology teacher goes missing in a suspicious fire during a field trip to the Black Vine Swamp, Nick and Marta don't buy the headmaster's excuse for her absence and decide to do some investigating of their own. Eco-avengers; an endangered, hunted panther; illegal pipelines in the Everglades; and an underachieving student with the nickname "Smoke" all play a part in this gripping novel. From the first sentence, readers will be hooked. The teens' dangerous detective work, with help from some unlikely sources, and the ethics of environmental awareness are well balanced. The emotion and personal changes that Nick goes through due to his father's injury in Iraq are on their own a worthy study of the struggles that military families are facing today. This well-written and smoothly plotted story, with fully realized characters, will certainly appeal to mystery lovers.-Dylan Thomarie, Johnstown High School, NY

Kirkus Reviews
During a field trip to Black Vine Swamp, a suspicious "wildfire" breaks out, and much-feared and -reviled science teacher Mrs. Starch vanishes. The school gets a letter stating she is away on a "family emergency," but no one believes that. Nick Waters and his friend Marta Gonzales are sure bad-boy Duane "Smoke" Scrod, Jr., is to blame for both fire and disappearance. However, there's more to Duane, Mrs. Starch and the fire than Nick or Marta could ever imagine. This is Hiaasen Country, so the complications include a rare Florida panther, a crooked oil company, a tree-hugging Hayduke of a millionaire and a couple of well-meaning-but-not-as-swift-as-the-kids detectives. Hiaasen's third outing for young readers might be a little slow in pacing and the character types might be recognizable to experienced readers, but fans of Hoot and Flush (2002, 2005) will not be disappointed by this funny, believable, environmentally friendly tween thriller. (Thriller. 10-15)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780739371282
Publisher:
Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/27/2009
Edition description:
Unabridged, 8 CDs
Pages:
8
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 5.10(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

The day before Mrs. Starch vanished, her third-period biology students trudged silently, as always, into the classroom. Their expressions reflected the usual mix of dread and melancholy, for Mrs. Starch was the most feared teacher at the Truman School.

When the bell rang, she unfolded stiffly, like a crane, and rose to her full height of nearly six feet. In one hand she twirled a sharpened Ticonderoga No. 2 pencil, a sure sign of trouble to come.

Nick glanced across the aisle at Marta Gonzalez. Her brown eyes were locked on Mrs. Starch, and her thin elbows were planted like fence posts, pinning her biology book open to Chapter 8. Nick had left his own textbook in his locker, and his palms were sweating.

"Good morning, people," said Mrs. Starch, in a tone so mild that it was chilling. "Who's prepared to tell me about the Calvin cycle?"

Only one hand rose. It belonged to Graham, who always claimed to know the answers but never did. Mrs. Starch hadn't called on him since the first week of class.

"The Calvin cycle," she repeated. "Anybody?"

Marta looked as if she might throw up again. The last time that had happened, Mrs. Starch had barely waited until the floor was mopped before instructing Marta to write a paper listing five major muscles used in the act of regurgitation.

Nick and the other students had been blown away. What kind of teacher would punish a kid for puking?

"By now," Mrs. Starch was saying, "the photosynthetic process should be familiar to all of you."

Marta gulped hard, twice. She'd been having nightmares about Mrs. Starch, who wore her dyed blond hair piled to one side of her head, like a beach dune. Mrs. Starch's school wardrobe never varied: a polyester pants suit in one of four faded pastel colors, and drab brown flats. She painted heavy violet makeup on her eyelids, yet she made no effort to conceal an odd crimson mark on her chin. The mark was the shape of an anvil and the subject of wild speculation, but nobody had gotten up the nerve to ask Mrs. Starch about it.

Marta's eyes flicked miserably toward Nick, then back to the teacher. Nick was fond of Marta, although he wasn't sure if he liked her enough to sacrifice himself to Mrs. Starch, who had begun to pace. She was scanning the class, selecting a victim.

A droplet of perspiration glided like a spider down Nick's neck. If he worked up the courage to raise his hand, Mrs. Starch would pounce swiftly. Right away she'd see that he had forgotten his biology book, a crime that would be forgiven only if Nick was able to explain and then diagram the Calvin cycle, which was unlikely. Nick was still struggling to figure out the Krebs cycle from Chapter 7.

"Plants, as we all know, are vital to human existence," said Mrs. Starch, on patrol. "And without the Calvin cycle, plants could not exist. Could not exist_._._."

Graham was waving his arm and squirming like a puppy. The rest of the class prayed that Mrs. Starch would call on him, but she acted as if he were invisible. Abruptly she spun to a halt at the front of Marta's row.

Marta sat rigidly in the second desk, behind a brainy girl named Libby who knew all about the Calvin cycle--all about everything--but seldom made a peep.

"The chart on page 169," Mrs. Starch went on, "makes it all plain as day. It's an excellent illustration, and one that you are likely to encounter on a test. Quite likely_._._."

Marta lowered her head, a tactical mistake. The movement, slight as it was, caught Mrs. Starch's attention.

Nick sucked in a breath. His heart raced and his head buzzed, because he knew that it was now or never. Marta seemed to shrink under Mrs. Starch's icy gaze. Nick could see tears forming at the corners of Marta's eyes, and he hated himself for hesitating.

"Come on, people, snap out of your coma," Mrs. Starch chided, tapping the pencil on Libby's desk. "The Calvin cycle?"

The only reply was a ripping noise--Marta's trembling elbows, tearing holes in the pages of her book.

Mrs. Starch frowned. "I was hoping for a sea of hands," she said with a disappointed sigh. "But, once again, it seems I'll have to pick a volunteer. An unwilling volunteer_._._."

As the teacher pointed her pencil at the top of Marta's head, Nick raised his hand.

I'm toast, he thought. She's gonna crush me like a bug.

Lowering his eyes, he braced to hear Mrs. Starch call his name.

"Oh, Duane?" she sang out.

Great, Nick thought. She forgot who I am.

But when he looked up, he saw the teacher aiming her pencil at another kid on the other side of the classroom. The mean old bird had totally faked him out, and Marta, too.

The other kid's name really was Duane, and Nick had known him since elementary school, when he was two years ahead of Nick and known as Duane the Dweeb. One summer, Duane the Dweeb grew five inches and gained thirty-one pounds, and from then on everybody called him Smoke, because that's what he wanted to be called. Some kids said it was because he was a pyro.

"So, Duane," Mrs. Starch said sweetly. "Have you finished Chapter 8?"
Rumpled and sleepy-looking, Smoke grunted and raised his eyes toward the teacher. Nick couldn't see his expression, but the slump of his shoulders suggested a profound lack of interest.

"Duane?"

"I guess I read it, yeah."

"You guess?" Using a thumb and two fingers, Mrs. Starch spun the yellow pencil into a blur, like a miniature airplane propeller. Under less stressful circumstances it would have been entertaining.

"I read so much," Smoke said, "I forget which is which."

Several students struggled to smother giggles.

Marta reached across the aisle, nudged Nick, and mouthed the words "Thank you."

Nick felt his face redden.

"For raising your hand," Marta whispered.

Nick shrugged. "No big deal," he whispered back.

Mrs. Starch moved across the classroom and positioned herself beside Smoke's desk. "I see you brought your biology book today," she said.

"That's progress, Duane."

"I guess."

"But you'll find that it's much easier to read when it's not upside down." Mrs. Starch rotated the textbook, using the eraser end of her No. 2 pencil.

Smoke nodded. "Yeah, that's better."

He tried to flip open the book, but Mrs. Starch pressed down firmly with the pencil, holding the cover closed.

"No peeking," she said. "Tell me how the Calvin cycle produces sugar from carbon dioxide, and why that's so important to photosynthesis."

"Gimme a minute." Smoke casually began to pick at a nasty-looking zit on his meaty, fuzz-_covered neck.

Mrs. Starch said, "We're all waiting," which was true. The other students, including Nick and Marta, were on the edge of their seats.

They were aware that something major and possibly legendary was about to occur, though they had no clue that within forty-eight hours they would each be questioned by sheriff's deputies and asked to tell what they'd seen and heard.

Meet the Author

Carl Hiaasen has been writing about Florida since his father gave him a typewriter at age six. Then it was hunt-and-peck stories about neighborhood kickball and softball games. Now Hiaasen writes a column for the Miami Herald and is the author of many bestselling novels, including Sick Puppy and Nature Girl. Hoot, Hiaasen’s first novel for young readers, was the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Newbery Honor. And Flush, his second book for kids, spent more than a year on the New York Times bestseller list. You can read more about Hiaasen’s work at www.carlhiaasen.com.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Tavernier, Florida
Place of Birth:
South Florida
Education:
Emory University; B.A., University of Florida, 1974

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Scat 4.4 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 508 reviews.
kaitlyn97 More than 1 year ago
Nick Waters and his friend, Marta, go to the private Truman School in Florida.Everything is pretty normal there; average students, a few nasty teachers (like the biology teacher, Mrs.Starch.) and the known school bully-trouble maker, Duane Scrod Jr. But a few days before Nick's Biology class goes on a field trip to the Black Vine Swamp, an incident occurs. Duane becomes very mad at Mrs.Starch for humiliating him in front of the class and eats her pencil right out of her hand! Tehn he storms out of the class room and doesn't come back to school for awhile. When Nick and Marta's class goes to the Black Vine Swamp, a small wildfire breaks out. Everyone is ordered to leave. But, Mrs. Starch stays behind to retrieve a student's inhaler. She goes missing. later, it is found out that the fire was arson and not an accidnet. What is going on? Where did Mrs.Starhc go, and does it involve Duane? Read to find out!! It starts out slow, but gets better. I like the theme and where it takes place. A very good book; great for kids and pre-teens to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book with amazing plots and characters i highly recommend it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this is the best book ever along wilth all the other books written by this author
Mystery15 More than 1 year ago
Scat, by Carl Hiassen, is another young adult book that entertains. It has a combination of variety in settings and characters, and a strong plot, and is his best book yet. The book has a complex plot with many small details that slowly tie together. The main issues are to bust an illegal oil drilling operation and to return a panther cub to its mother. There are a wide variety of characters, including the noble teenage hero, a tough biology teacher, and the idiotic, short-tempered antagonist. The book has many interesting settings, such as a wet, misty swamp, a creepy house in the wilderness, and a reputable school. Paris, France, Iraq, and Texas are not visited but are significant to the story. Overall, Hiassen has written a great book that closely resembles his earlier works for children. It's good variety and plot make it a perfect addition to anyone's library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best mystery book i've ever read i luv this book sooooooo much
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is about martha and nick go looking for their biology teacher in a swamp. LOVE THE ALL THE BOOKS
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is very good i would recomend it to anybody who likes animals and a good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a good book, but at times the plot was unrealistic. I was looking for a good realistic fiction and this book did okay. I recommend it to people who have read Hoot (by the same author) and enjoy environmental stories.
Mary Mallusp More than 1 year ago
this is an awesome book! you really need to read it.But i didn't see any part about JB.
Book_Worm_1998 More than 1 year ago
Scat was an amazing book! It starts out a little slow, but once you get into it, it is an addicting book! I would definitely recommend this book to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing!!! I recommend this book to childre 12 years or older. The main characters in this book are Nick Waters, His friend Marta, JImmy Bayliss who works at the Red Diamond Oil Company, Duane Scrod jr. a.k.a.- Smoke, Mrs. Starch the eviiiil biology teacher, and Nicks mom an dad. At the beginning when the students are a Black Vine swamp their biology teacher disappears when she goes to get a childs medicine!!! Nick and Marta, even the sheriff have a good guess at who did it! But is their guess right? You will have to read it to find out!!! Publisher: Random House Children's Books Pub. Date: 04/27/2010 ISBN-13: 9780375834875
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm 12 almost 13 girl and I read it last year but I read it again this year,it doesnt get old! How everything happens you cant get enough. And at the end I wanted it to keep going. I have also read Flush which is also by the same author and it was very good too! I haven't read Hoot yet but I'm planning on it! But right now I'm reading the second book of The Hunger Games ( I would recomend The Hunger Games too)!!! I love The Hunger Games series!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm reading this book for battle of the books and if i wasn't, i would still read it. I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is REALLY good! I noticed that Nick was sort of obsessed with panthers so I guessed that they would see one sooner or later...... read to find out more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love tis book scat means poop lol
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a book that cept me on the edge of my the whole time i read it i couldn't put it down. "Smoke" is the bulley or so they think. Who started the fire? Where is Mrs.Starch? You need to read the book to find out
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this at the same time my friend read it, and we both LOVED it! As soon as I finished it, I read Hoot and Flush. This is a must read for everyone of all ages!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is about two kids named Nick and Marta and they have this very strict teacher named Mrs. Startch as their bio teacher. Mrs. Startch takes their students on a field trip and they must leave suddenly due to a forest fire. One of Mrs. Startch's students left something in the forest and Mrs. Startch goes back in. Suddenly, she doesn't come out of the forest during the forest fire. Everyone thinks she is dead or she is missing. While the police do an investigation on this fire and the disappearance of Mrs. Startch, Dr. Dressler the headmaster of Truman School goes to her house and finds a letter addressed to him saying that she needs to leave due to a "sudden family emergency". Dr. Dressler and the police department think that a student, Duane Scrod Jr, a student that didn't like Mrs. Startch might have something to do with her disappearance. So when they hear this about Mrs. Startch's disappearance, they go to solve the mystery. Read this book by Carl Hiaasen to find out more on what happened to Mrs. Startch! Reading this book was an awesome experience. This book had a lot of excitement and suspense. It made me want to read more books by Carl Hiaasen and many authors like him because of the suspense and excitement they put into their books and stories."'This is so freaky, Nick.' Marta puffed her cheeks to let the air hiss out. 'I mean, I can't stand the woman, but still, to think her lost in that swamp..." (Hiaasen 54). I think this point proves how suspenseful this story is because Hiaasen leaves the reader with a "cliff hanger" on how they really think about her even though she is lost in the forest. This book left a lot of "cliff hangers" which made it a very suspenseful and exciting book to read. I would recommend this book to an audience that loves to read mysterious, suspenseful books. This book would be an excellent book for people who like suspenseful, mysterious books because of all of the suspense and mystery that Carl Hiaasen puts into this book. I have also read the "Series of Unfortunate Events" by Lemony Snicket and I think these books are also mysterious and suspenseful. These books remind me of "SCAT" because of all of the mystery and suspense Lemony Snicket puts into all 13 of his books in this series as well. If you like reading "SCAT" you would love reading "The Series of Unfortunate Events" because they have the same suspense, mystery, and their stories are very similar. My favorite scene in "SCAT" would probably have to be the scene when Dr. Dressler goes to Mrs. Startch's house to see what is up with her disappearance. I think that this is my favorite scene of the book because it is really suspenseful and it leads to her disappearance but Dr. Dressler thinks the reason of her disappearance is false. The reason of her disappearance is "a sudden family emergency" but according to Dr. Dressler and her school file, she has no family. I think this is the best scene because it leads the police to her disappearance, it was mysterious, and it was very suspenseful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book rocks
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please take ny advice about this bestseller novel. If you are the type of person who likes mysteries with a twist of love, you'll absoulutly love this book. I have not met a single person who has a conplaint about it. Sincerily, Not telling you who i am but take my advice!!! PS: There aren't alot of "big words" like some of the other people posting are telling you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I ordered this book for a 12-year old who is a reluctant reader. I began reading it myself and was intrigued -- partly because I am familiar with the location and partly because of the humor. Read the first chapter on line and you will be hooked! Enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a very good, spine chilling, page turner book! When I first read this I wanted to read it again and again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a good book, but it didn't have a lot of suspense.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The beginning was a little slow but the characters were really well developed
Liddia More than 1 year ago
This book wasn't really what I expected, but it's good. It drags a little at the beginning, and takes a while to really get interesting. Though, once it gets to the good parts, its really AMAZING. Overall, its ok for reading when you're bored. But definitely not what I expected.