Friday, February 20, 2009

Book Review: Hoot, by Carl Hiaasen

     Soon they stopped marching, and the kid began to loosen the knots on Roy's wrists. "Don't turn around," he said.
     "What's your name?" Roy asked.
     "I don't have a name no more."
     "Sure you do. Everybody's got a name."
     The kid grunted. "I been called Mullet Fingers. And I been called worse."
     "You don't really live out here, do you?"
     "None a your business. What'f I do?"
     "All by yourself? What about your family?" Roy asked.
     The boy rapped him lightly on the back of the head. "You ask too many nosey questions."

Roy Eberhardt is used to being the new kid, due to his dad's frequent transfers for work. He is also used to facing bullies, and so he has learned to deal. But being the new kid at Trace Middle School has him dealing with more than just Dana Matherson, school bully. He's also tangled up with a host of other odd characters: Beatrice the Bear - a fierce girl who plays on the girls' soccer team, Garrett - the king of fake farts, a bald foreman named Curly, a runaway boy who sometimes goes by the name Mullet Fingers, a corporate big-wig named Chuck Muckle, and a pretty young starlet with a startling voice. And all of them are tangled up with endangered owls, a vacant lot, Mother Paula's All-American Pancake House, the police, politicians, and parents with questionable behavior.

For Teachers and Librarians:
Hoot is a real hoot - with a few serious messages craftily weaved throughout. It is sarcastic, funny, action-packed, mysterious, and full of memorable characters. Those traits alone are enough to lure even your most reluctant readers into the book and hold their attention all the way through. But you will also have quite a large number of ways to use this book in your classroom. It touches on corrupt politics and business practices, conservation, animal activism, protected species vs. development, bullies - and ways to outsmart them, friendship, being the "new kid," right vs. wrong - and how to decide which is which... The great thing is, all of these are totally kid-centered, so your students will easily be able to relate, and to discuss, and to apply what they learn to their own lives and communities.

For Parents, Grandparents and Caregivers:
Hoot is one of those books that appeals to such a wide number of groups, you will love it as much as your kids will. If your kids are dealing with bullies, this is a great example of how to deal with them and survive with your dignity and self-respect firmly intact. If your kids are into environmentalism, this is a strong example of just how powerful kids can be at making a major impact in their communities. If your kids are going through being the new kid, for the first time or the fiftieth time, they will identify with how Roy handles the same situation. If your kids know of someone at school who acts a little strangely, perhaps this book will prompt them to show some compassion - since we never truly know what our friends deal with at home. And if your kids and you are going through a rough patch, maybe this book will help both of you see each other as possible allies, rather than adversaries. But most of all, it's a great story: funny, mysterious, and full of action.

For the Kids:
Reading Hoot is something you don't want to pass up: it's funny, sarcastic, full of action and mystery, and who can turn down a book that has a bald guy in it...named Curly? Roy Eberhardt is new to Trace Middle School, and it's not his first time being "the new kid." But, being the new kid more than once has taught him a few things about how to deal with everything from bullies to making new friends. When Roy looks out the bus window and sees a shoeless boy running like the wind - away from the school bus - he can't forget it, and sets out to find him. Roy has no idea what this one bit of curiosity is going to drag him into, but once he's there, he learns a lot about himself, and about other kids, and about the adults around him, and about the power kids can have when they work for something they care about.

For Everyone Else:
Hoot should be on everyone's Must Read list. It's smart, and sarcastic, and mysterious, and it gives you a lot to root for: a boy finding his place in a new school, a tiny endangered owl species struggling to survive, another boy shunned by his own mother but embraced by others, and kids banding together to stand for what is right. Don't miss it.

Wrapping Up:
If you're looking for a well-written book that will make you laugh, and get angry, and empathize, and cheer, then Hoot is the book you need to go out and find. Read it, and be immensely satisfied.

Title: Hoot
Author: Carl Hiaasen
Pages: 304
Reading Level: 10 and up
Publisher and Date: Random House Children's Books, 2004
Edition: 1st Paperback
Language: English
Published In: United States
Price: $8.95
ISBN-10: 0375829164
ISBN-13: 978-0375829161


  1. i loved this book! it was amazingly funny. best book ever!!

  2. Oh this book is the best book ever. I read it for a school report, but I got really really into it. It is a really good choice for young kids around the age of 10-13.

  3. i loveeeeeeeeeeeeeed the book soo much. I did it for a school report and started to love it. It is a great book for all ages but is focussed aroud 10-13

  4. this book was terrible.

  5. i loved this book. a grat story with unlikely heros

  6. this book is the best book I have ever read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. this book was amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing!!!!!!

  8. THIS BOOK WAS AWSEOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A GUY SHOOTS A TOILET!

    LOL :p


  10. Thank you I'm a 6th grader and I needed a summery for school butt I never read the book this saved my life

  11. Dear Anonymous 6th grader:

    I'm glad you visited and found this information helpful. And of course, you summarized what I've written into your own words, right? More importantly, even if your assignment is already done, I hope you will go and find the book and read it. It's a great story and easy to read. And as you can tell from other comments from other kids here, it's way funny! Totally worth your time, I promise.

  12. It was a very funny and good book to read!!!!!!!!!!


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