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An hilarious eco-thriller set in Florida featuring a nightmare teacher, a boy on a mission, a stuffed rat named Chelsea, and a motherless panther cub.

About the Author

Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida, where he lives today with his family. He has written many books, but this is his first young adult title to be published in the UK. He writes a weekly column for the Miami Herald.

Reviews

Starred Review. Gr 5-8-Nick and Marta live in dread of Bunny Starch, the biology teacher. When Smoke, the class loner, gets on her bad side, Mrs. Starch makes him write "five hundred words on the history of the pimple." During a field trip to Black Vine Swamp, where illegal oil-drilling is taking place, the teachers disappears and all fingers point to Smoke. Although an unsigned note is found explaining that the teacher had a family emergency, Nick and Marta suspect foul play and work with Smoke to solve the mystery. Along the way they encounter crooked oilmen, an eccentric millionaire ecologist, and get a glimpse of an endangered panther and her cub. This eco-mystery (Knopf, 2009), set in Florida, is permeated with Carl Hiaasen's wonderfully quirky characters, and Ed Asner's raspy narration plays each of them to the hilt. He voices the crisp harshness of Mrs. Starch, the lazy drawl of the adults, and the voices of the youngsters with ease. His performance is marvelous and his perfect pacing plays up the story's humor while the ecological message is incorporated as a subtle part of the tale. A real gem.-Tricia Melgaard, Centennial Middle School, Broken Arrow, OK Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information

A brilliant, fast-moving eco-aware thriller - LOVEREADING4KIDSHiaasen fans will love this book and newcomers will be hooked by this entertaining thriller. - SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - John MillenWe missed this in hardback last year but have been gripped by the paperback version just out. Eco aware page-turning thriller with scary teachers, oil prospectors and a panther on the loose. - ANGELS AND URCHINS

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 2008 Reed Business Information.

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