Carl Hiaasen for kids? Oh, yes. This is his fourth, in fact! And good stuff it is, too.

CHOMP.jpgChomp
by Carl Hiaasen

Knopf
ISBN: 978 0 375 86842 9

Wahoo (no really, that’s his name) and his dad Mickey are animal wranglers – and doing just fine, until his dad suffered a concussion and had a hard time working. So when a big offer comes along, they can’t really resist taking it for the money, even if they have some serious reservations about working for a big survivalist show with a star who is not only a big phony, but full of his own hype enough to be dangerous around actual animals!

It’s bad enough when the foolish star decides he wants to wrestle Mickey’s alligator and needs saving, but when the crew moves into a real swampland and he wants to take on truly wild animals, things go from bad to worse. Not only does he foolishly tangle with animals he has no business touching, but a storm rolls in and, to top it all off, the crazed, abusive father of Wahoo’s classmate shows up, intent on fetching her home, no matter who might stay in his way.

It’s complete mayhem, but it is heavily laced through with Hiaasen’s signature humour, which he translates very nicely for this younger audience. it’s got his typical Florida setting and environmental message, but adds in quite a lot of pointed observations about television, acting, and fame along the way. The whole package is nicely layered without being too didactic, and a really, really fun read. (side note – these are different characters than his earlier books, so if you haven’t been reading them yet, starting here is just fine!)

  • Jennifer

    Ooooh! I’m a huge Carl Hiaasen fan (I always take one of his books on vacation with me…they’re perfect vacation reads, especially if you happen to be vacationing in Florida). I’d heard he had some books for kids, but hadn’t ever checked them out. This one sounds perfect for my 10 year old son. I’ll pick it up. Thanks Alice!

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