The Weirdo

The Weirdo

3.5 24
by Theodore Taylor
     
 

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Chip Clewt, known simply as the weirdo, lives like a hermit in the Powhatan Swamp, a National Wildlife Refuge that is at the center of a heated controversy between local hunters and environmentalists. A hunting ban on the Powhatan is about to expire. The environmentalists want to protect the wildlife; the hunters are oiling their guns. Then someone completely

Overview

Chip Clewt, known simply as the weirdo, lives like a hermit in the Powhatan Swamp, a National Wildlife Refuge that is at the center of a heated controversy between local hunters and environmentalists. A hunting ban on the Powhatan is about to expire. The environmentalists want to protect the wildlife; the hunters are oiling their guns. Then someone completely unexpected comes forward to spearhead the conservation effort--the weirdo.

Includes a reader's guide.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Samantha Sanders grew up haunted by a dead body she discovered when she was nine. Now sixteen, she finds herself longing for big city life rather than the rural Powhatan swamp region where hunting is a way of life. Unfortunately, a ban has been enforced for the past five years inhibiting the killing of bears and enraging the local hunters. Now that the end of the ban is near, Chip Clewt, otherwise known as the Weirdo because of a disfiguring accident many years before, has made it his mission to keep the bears safe. The mystery picks up when Chip's partner Tom goes missing and Chip suspects foul play. Sam and Chip become unlikely friends and she seems to think there is a connection between the murder seven years ago, Tom, and the bear ban. She becomes determined to find out how these are related. This means defying her father and her roots. Though this book is considered a part of the mystery genre, it is slow to unfold and lacks the element of suspense. The subplot of the developing romance between Chip and Sam becomes more engaging than the actual murder mystery. Taylor leaves too many loose ends that do not propel the story in any direction. He is not able to captivate the reader as a true mystery writer should. 1991, Harcourt, Ages 13 up.
—Jeanna Sciarrotta
From the Publisher
"An eloquent debate pitting human and animal rights against each other is both informative and moving as this murder mystery/love story/environmental thriller weaves its uncommon spell. Deftly drawn characterizations, from the admirable to the loathsome, and an engrossing journalistic format are two of the many strong points that make this timely and compelling novel a winner."—Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547546452
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
03/01/2006
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
218,991
File size:
387 KB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Samantha Sanders was nine years old the afternoon she found Alvin Howell dead. She'd spotted the bright blue cloth over at the edge of Powhatan Swamp just as she turned into her yard. Odd, because it hadn't been there when she went to school in the morning.

Putting her books down on the front porch, she crossed Chapanoke Road, jumped the ditch, and came upon the cloth quicker than she'd expected. It was half-hidden in the brush. Raising a branch, she saw a man's face, mouth wide open as if he was trying to yell, eyes swollen with fright. On his chest was a splotch of red.

Screaming, Sam stumbled back, falling down into the ditch water. Heart beating in her ears, she crawled out and ran for the house. Her hand shook as she lifted the hidden front-door key off its nail and struggled to get it into the lock.

Inside, she called the school district office, weeping now, trying to make herself understood. She wanted her mother, Dell Sanders. Her papa, a Coast Guard bo'sun, was out on temporary sea duty. Her brother, Steve, was at baseball practice.

Delilah Sanders came on.

"Mama, Mama, Mama...there's a dead man...."

"Where, Samantha?"

"Dead man..."

"Where, Samantha? Calm down. You're not making any sense."

"Dead man out in front of the house..."

"Are you sure?"

"He's there."

All light, listen to me. I'll call the sheriff. You lock the door and stay inside. Get some water, take an aspirin. All right, Samantha..."

"Yes, Mama. Come home, please come home."

"I'll be there just as fast as I can."

Dell arrived home twenty minutes later —- even before thesheriff's car came up the road, roof light flashing — and went about holding Sam and calming her down.

A moment later there was a sharp knock on the door. A deputy in plain clothes, identifying himself as Ed Truesdale, showed his ID card and asked, "Where is he?"

"My daughter said he's right across the road. Look for some blue just over the swamp ditch."

Truesdale, taking a gun out of his coat, hurried off in that direction as Dell and Sam watched silently. Sam clutched her mother. They saw him jump across the ditch, lift a branch, and stand there, looking down. Then he returned to his car to use the radio.

In a few minutes, he was up on the front porch again, asking if he could come in.

Dell said, "Sure. Would you like some coffee?"

Truesdale said, "Yes, thank you. Could you tell me who found him?"

"My daughter, Samantha. This is Samantha."

Looking ill, Sam stood a few feet away.

Truesdale said, "Miss Samantha, why don't you come over here an' sit beside me an' tell me what happened. I got a daughter little bit older'n you." He took a seat on the couch and motioned her over.

Sam went over and sat down.

"Where you go to school?"

"MacFadden, in Currituck."

"Be darned. I put two daughters through there. What grade?"

"Fourth."

"Good grade. Well, I've got a few questions, Samantha. How'd you know he was there?"

"The dead man?"

Truesdale nodded.

Sam told him she saw blue and went over to investigate.

"An' you didn't see the blue there this mornin' when you went off to school?"

"No, sir."

"When you went up the road this mornin' — I'm guessin' you take the bus..."

Sam nodded.

"...you see anybody? Any car pass you, in either direction?"

'No, sir."

"You see anybody on foot?"

"No, sir."

"You ever seen the dead man before?"

"Yes, sir."

"Where?"

"At Dunnegan's." That's what everyone called the nearby convenience store.

"You know his name?"

"No, sir."

"He is, or was, Alvin Howell. Lives, or did live, 'bout seven miles north, off Tucker Road." Truesdale scratched his head. "Uh, you ever see Mr. Howell come down Chapanoke before?"

"No, sir."

"Well, I guess that's 'bout all, Samantha, an' I do appreciate your help. Now, what you have to do is put this unfortunate incident outta your head forever. Hard to do, I know, but try, huh?" He smiled widely at her and stood.

Seven years later, no one had found out who killed Mr. Howell. The incident had deepened Sam's dread of the swamp.

Her papa had once said, "Only the Powhatan an' the one who did it knows." He was probably right.

Three-thirty P.M. The big Buick station wagon with Virginia plates made a rooster tail of ivory dust along the dirt road to the old white two-story farmhouse that sat on the northern edge on the Powhatan, west of the George Washington Canal.

The Sanders farm was on the North Carolina side of the border, the "hick" side, as stuck-up Virginians often said, conveniently forgetting there wasn't much difference between rural Tar Heels and rural hayseed Virginians.

Finally, the green wagon pulled into the front yard. Sam's Uncle Jack merrily tooted several times, causing her father's two penned hunting dogs to break the chill autumn silence. The din sawtoothed across the brown cornfields and over into the swamp.

Sam opened the front door and yelled for old Martin, the bluetick coon hound, and Rick, the black Lab duck dog, to shut their loud mouths. They enjoyed making noise when visitors drove up.

Then she hurried across the creaky porch and approached the new Le Sabre, saying, "Hi, Uncle Jack, Aunt Peaches..." looking in at the occupants.

"Hi, Samantha, you pretty thing."

He always said the same thing on seeing Sam. She knew different. If pretty was gauged by girls in fashion magazines or on the morning soaps, Sam wasn't pretty. In her own hard-eyed opinion she was as plain as freckled biscuit dough. So she always cringed inwardly when Uncle Jack gave his silly compliment.

Meet the Author

THEODORE TAYLOR is the author of many award-winning and acclaimed middle grade and young adult novels, including Billy the Kid: A Novel, The Maldonado Miracle, and the modern classic The Cay and its prequel-sequel, Timothy of the Cay. He lives in Laguna Beach, California.


THEODORE TAYLOR (1921-2006), an award-winning author of many books for young people, was particularly known for fast-paced, exciting adventure novels. His books include the bestseller The Cay, Timothy of the Cay, The Bomb, Air Raid--Pearl Harbor!, Ice Drift, The Maldonado Miracle, and The Weirdo, an Edgar Award winner for Best Young Adult Mystery.

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The Weirdo 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sam Sanders is a young girl who has never been involved with danger, until she comes home from school and finds something suspicious. She lives on a dirt road away from the town in the middle of nowhere. She runs over to where there was a blanket lying over something. She sees the head of a man, and is scared right out of her shoes. She calls her parents and the cops, and they are right on the scene. A few weeks later, her aunt and uncle ask her to watch their dog, Buck. He is one of the best hunting dogs in the United States. Her Uncle Jack paid her a lot, because Buck was the most important to him. After the leave for vacation, Buck runs after a bear. She can¿t find him, so she has to sleep in a tree stump. She hears something walking towards her and notices that it¿s a man. She got ready to scream, but didn¿t. The man is carrying a dead person, but doesn¿t see Sam. She runs to the Clewt¿s house for safety. She meets Chip, and they want to catch the killer. Will that be possible for the two? What I liked best about the book was all the action that took place. You want to put the book down, but another good scene comes up. The one thing I didn¿t like was all the Indian passages. This book reminds me of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, because a guy goes around and kills people. People that would like this book would be ones that like mysteries. This is a pretty good book that I encourage to others.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great. It has a lot of mystery. I like to read are mystery books so that's why I thought it was great. I don't recommend this book to anyone if you don't like mystery. I did this as a school project for Mrs. Pope at EMS. Some characters throughout the book are Samantha, Chip, and Tom.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book on a project for Ellis Middle School. It's one of the books I liked that I have read for school assaignments. I'm happy that my teacher chose this book for us to read. She is one of the bestest teachers out there that you can find.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book in my school library and I've read it four times since then. You just can't beat this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book starts off exciting and suspenseful. who cant resist a good suspenseful mystery book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved the book! It was an awesome story!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books ever written! It's not only chatchy, but intresting and a page turner. You never want to put it down
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Weirdo by Theodore Taylor is the best book I've ever read, and I loved it the first time I read it. It is full of excitement and suspense, and I recommend it to all audiences. Read this book and buy it from Barnes and Nobel. They're great too. And actually I rate this book at a 100 stars, if there were such thing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hey everyone, this is a great book and it got me a 99-A on a book report. It is a good book to read for a report or just for enjoyment. I would recomend it to middle school students on up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please lend this to me
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jerk. *sets Dark on fire with powers*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Weirdo is a great book to read. It keeps you wondering what going to happen next. I like it! I wish everybody could read this book.
S-Leatherman More than 1 year ago
This is a great novel, I absolutely love it! It keeps you on the edge of your seat, keeps you wondering! I recommend mainly to a younger audience!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was HORRIBLE!!!! Unless you like enviromental stuff, don't read this. They make it sound so extravegant and then it's just soooooooo boring. DON'T READ IT!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is the worst book ever! it stunk! me and a few girls trade mystery books! we went to the library and chose a few books i choosed this one!!!! i was soooo stupid!!!! i was the only one among my frends who read it i told them it was horible! they took my word for it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book, The Weirdo, is so interesting once you read the first page you will be glued to it until the end. You must read it!! The Weirdo is one of the most interesting books I have ever read and I¿ve read a lot of books in my life. Charles ¿Chip¿ Clewt is a troubled teenager trying to fit in with everyone around him. This is highly impossible to him because he has been burned. His whole left side of his body is an almond color. As you read on you will find that the physical shape of this young man¿s body doesn¿t matter to a girl named Sam. You will be amazed about how Chip helps save the Powhatan swamp and regains his self-esteem back. This book is somewhat romantic if you want to call it that. Chip finds Sam on his roof after she experiences one of the most horrific sights ever. Sam a beautiful young lady in Chip¿s eyes wants to experience having a friend. Sam does not think Chip is attractive in any way what so ever. But she thinks he¿s attractive in his own way like being nice and very smart. I mean come on he graduated high school at the age of fifteen years old. So think about do you think it¿s romantic? When you finish you will be astonished for it is one of the most fascinating books you have ever read! (I hope) I loved it, it was mesmerizing. Do you really want to know more about The Weirdo? Well you can¿t from me at least! Just go to your public library and check it out! You will be mesmerized by the exciting adventure filled pages of The Weirdo!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a really good book. I had to read it for a school project and i am soo glad that we got ot read it!!! I think that i am going to read it over and over again!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for a school project, and let me tell you, this is literally the worst book I have ever read. The story is a drag. It's supposed to be a mystery book but doesn't have any suspense in it whatsoever. The author instead gives us two teenagers who try to save bears from hunters in a swamp. Please, don't read this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was one of the better books that I have read. The plot was interesting and I also like how the author gave the characters real personalities. If you live in the eastern part of North Carolina you can relate to the story very well. There is also some very good action parts in the book that make you want to never put the book. I would highly recomend this book to people who like mystery books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is so confusing i dont get it at all it switches up to much and its just boring and lame theordore taylor im sorry but this book is horrible the cay was good though but this one was just horrible and had no meaning i mean who cares about hunting bears and an obvious murder and a dumb teenager that played with fire and got burned once again this book is horrible .
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had the Weirdo for a summer reading project. Just when the book starts to get interesting, it gets TERRIBLE! Trust me, you don't want to read this book. You'll regret it. The first 2 chapters are great, then the story just drags. Something that should have happened 15 chapters ago happened MUCH later! Thank you and PLEASE don't read this book.