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Hoot Paperback – December 27, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 934 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Roy Eberhardt is the new kid--again. This time around it's Trace Middle School in humid Coconut Grove, Florida. But it's still the same old routine: table by himself at lunch, no real friends, and thick-headed bullies like Dana Matherson pushing him around. But if it wasn't for Dana Matherson mashing his face against the school bus window that one day, he might never have seen the tow-headed running boy. And if he had never seen the running boy, he might never have met tall, tough, bully-beating Beatrice. And if he had never met Beatrice, he might never have discovered the burrowing owls living in the lot on the corner of East Oriole Avenue. And if he had never discovered the owls, he probably would have missed out on the adventure of a lifetime. Apparently, bullies do serve a greater purpose in the scope of the universe. Because if it wasn't for Dana Matherson...

In his first novel for a younger audience, Carl Hiaasen (Basket Case, etc.) plunges readers right into the middle of an ecological mystery, made up of endangered miniature owls, the Mother Paula's All-American Pancake House scheduled to be built over their burrows, and the owls' unlikely allies--three middle school kids determined to beat the screwed-up adult system. Hiaasen's tongue is firmly in cheek as he successfully cuts his slapstick sense of humor down to kid-size. Sure to be a hoot, er, hit with middle school mystery fans. (Ages 10 to 15) --Jennifer Hubert --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

With a Florida setting and proenvironment, antidevelopment message, Hiaasen (Sick Puppy) returns to familiar turf for his first novel for young readers. Characteristically quirky characters and comic twists will surely gain the author new fans, though their attention may wander during his narrative's intermittently protracted focus on several adults, among them a policeman and the manager of a construction site for a new franchise of a pancake restaurant chain. Both men are on a quest to discover who is sabotaging the site at night, including such pranks as uprooting survey stakes, spray-painting the police cruiser's windows while the officer sleeps within and filling the portable potties with alligators. The story's most intriguing character is the boy behind the mischief, a runaway on a mission to protect the miniature owls that live in burrows underneath the site. Roy, who has recently moved to Florida from Montana, befriends the homeless boy (nicknamed Mullet Fingers) and takes up his cause, as does the runaway's stepsister. Though readers will have few doubts about the success of the kids' campaign, several suspenseful scenes build to the denouement involving the sitcom-like unraveling of a muckity-muck at the pancake house. These, along with dollops of humor, help make the novel quite a hoot indeed. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 0760 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling; Reprint edition (December 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440419395
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440419396
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (934 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,051 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida, where he still lives with his incredibly tolerant family and numerous personal demons.

A graduate of the University of Florida, at age 23 he joined The Miami Herald as a general assignment reporter and went on to work for the paper's weekly magazine and later its prize-winning investigations team. Since 1985 Hiaasen has been writing a regular column, which at one time or another has pissed off just about everybody in South Florida, including his own bosses. He has outlasted almost all of them, and his column still appears on most Sundays in The Herald's opinion-and-editorial section. It may be viewed online at www.miamiherald.com or in the actual printed edition of the newspaper, which, miraculously, is still being published.

For his journalism and commentary, Hiaasen has received numerous state and national honors, including the Damon Runyon Award from the Denver Press Club. His work has also appeared in many well-known magazines, including Sports Illustrated, Playboy, Time, Life, Esquire and, most improbably, Gourmet.

In the early 1980s, Hiaasen began writing novels with his good friend and distinguished journalist, the late William D. Montalbano. Together they produced three mystery thrillers -- Powder Burn, Trap Line and Double Whammy -- which borrowed heavily from their own reporting experiences.

Tourist Season, published in 1986, was Hiaasen's first solo novel. GQ magazine called it "one of the 10 best destination reads of all time," although it failed to frighten a single tourist away from Florida, as Hiaasen had hoped it might. His next effort, Double Whammy, was the first (and possibly the only) novel about sex, murder and corruption on the professional bass-fishing circuit.

Since then, Hiaasen has published nine others -- Skin Tight, Native Tongue, Strip Tease, Stormy Weather, Lucky You, Sick Puppy, Basket Case, Skinny Dip, The Downhill Lie and Nature Girl. Hiaasen made his children's book debut with Hoot (2002), which was awarded a Newbery Honor and spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller lists. For young readers he went on to write the bestselling Flush (2005) and, most recently Scat (January 2009). The film version of Hoot was released in 2006, directed by Wil Shriner and produced by Jimmy Buffett and Frank Marshall. ("Hoot" is now available on DVD).

Hiaasen is also responsible for Team Rodent (1998), a wry but unsparing rant against the Disney empire and its creeping grip on the American entertainment culture. In 2008, Hiaasen came back to nonfiction with The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport. The book chronicles his harrowing and ill-advised reacquaintance with golf after a peaceful, 32-year absence.

Together, Hiaasen's novels have been published in 34 languages, which is 33 more than he is able to read or write. Still, he has reason to believe that all the foreign translations are brilliantly faithful to the original work. The London Observer has called him "America's finest satirical novelist," while Janet Maslin of the New York Times has compared him to Preston Sturges, Woody Allen and S.J. Perelman. Hiaasen re-reads those particular reviews no more than eight or nine times a day.

To prove that he doesn't just make up all the sick stuff in his fiction, Hiaasen has also published two collections of his newspaper columns, Kick A** and Paradise Screwed, both courageously edited by Diane Stevenson and faithfully kept in print by the University Press of Florida.

One of Hiaasen's previous novels, Strip Tease, became a major motion-picture in 1996 starring Demi Moore, and directed by Andrew Bergman. Despite what some critics said, Hiaasen continues to insist that the scene featuring Burt Reynolds slathered from his neck to his toes with Vaseline is one of the high points in modern American cinema.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Carl Hiaasen forges into new territory: The kid book realm. Cleaned up and devoid of ... violence or much profanity, he makes a cute, quirky book that isn't limited to just kids. If anything, Mr. Hiaasen's literary gifts are more pronounced when there are no seedy elements to distract the readers.
Roy Eberhardt recently moved from beautiful Montana to the swampy mishmash of Miami, and he's not thrilled about the change. He misses his old home, and the biggest, meanest bully of all, Dana Matherson, has taken a dislike to him. But on the bus, Roy catches a glimpse of a barefoot kid racing down the sidewalk. When he sees the boy a second time, he punches out Dana and pursues the kid (called Mullet Fingers, for a reason that will become evident late in the book).
A mystery vandal is sabotaging the site of a future pancake restaurant, pulling up stakes, sprat-painting a cop car, and setting loose a bunch of glittery cottonmouths. Things don't improve when Roy encounters the boy's sister, Beatrice, a very tall jock with muscles and teeth of steel. Beatrice warns Roy to stay away from Mullet Fingers, but Roy is already quite involved. Mullet Fingers is on a one-boy campaign to save the tiny burrowing owls that live in the construction site -- and will be buried alive in their burrows when the construction begins. Roy begins walking the line between law and outlaw, right and wrong, trying to save Mullet Fingers and the tiny owls.
Roy is the kind of kid that readers love instantly -- he's a quiet Charlie Brown who comes out of his shell for a good cause. (And he moons Dana) Mullet Fingers is a little harder to pin down, a strangely but that seems to be Hiaasen's intent. Beatrice is half-hilarious, half menacing -- the scene where she bites off part of Roy's bike tire is a scream.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love Hiaasen's novels about Florida and all of the zany characters he creates to tell his pro-ecology stories. When I saw he had written another one I reflexivly one clicked to have it sent to me. When I got it I thought it was a tad smaller in size than the usual novel one buys in hardcover and the print seemed to be a little large, but no matter as I dove into the saga of Roy Eberhardt.
I was perhaps a couple of chapters into the book when I noticed on the fly leaf that it was a Children's Book of the Month Club selection. Really? Well, I was enjoying and as I continued to read through it I continued to be drawn along with the story of the new boy from Montana being introduced to both the beauty of Florida and it's not so beautiful experiences with developers.
In this story the guys in black work for a Pancake House conglomerate called, Mother Paula's All American Pancake House. They intend to open their 469th family style restaurant on a piece of property in Coconut Grove. The fences are up. The construction trailer is on the site. The bulldozers have arrived. All appears to be ready for construction to begin. Then things start to happen. First all the survey markers are pulled up and all the stake holes are filled in.The air is let out of the construction vehiles tires. Alligators (small ones) are put in the out house toilets. No work is being done. The date for a grand opening is approaching. Who is doing this and why are no mystery to the reader, but they are a serious question to the construction foreman, Curly, police officer Delinko and Curly's boss at headquarters, Chuck Muckle. Of course, Mother Paula's is about to be constructed on land on which there a bunch of burrowing owls. Mother Paula's people know it. No one else does until a very unusual "hero" sets in motion a wonderful string of events which leads to a predictable but very humorous conclusion.
It may have been written for children, but what the heck - we are all kids at heart.
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By A Customer on September 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book! What a fun read! This is a book which will appeal to all ages. As a fifth grade teacher I can't wait to read it to my kids. I know that many of them will identify with the main character. This definitely ranks as one of my all-time favorites right after Harry Potter and Holes. I anxiously await Mr. Hiaasen's next children's book.
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Format: Hardcover
Being a fan of Mr. Hiaasen's wonderfully twisted, weird fiction for adults, I was intrigued by the idea of him writing for a younger audience. Would there be a crazed, hulking idiot with a dead pit bull hanging off his arm? A roadkill-eating former governor? How would he present his somewhere-between-amused-and-disgusted attitude toward humanity in a manner palatable to kids?
I'm happy to report that HOOT is funny, well written, and enjoyable, even for a depraved old lady like me. The plot concerns Roy Eberhardt, an intelligent, resourceful middle-school student who has just moved to Florida from Montana. He misses the mountains and wilderness of Montana. As a kid who has moved a lot, he's not surprised to be the victim of bully Dana Matherson. While being pummeled by Dana on the school bus, Roy spies a kid running along the sidewalk, a kid with no backpack and no shoes. Intrigued, he sets out to find him and gets involved up to his eyeballs in the strange kid's guerilla tactics to save a particular street corner from its fate as the future site of another Mother Paula's All-American Pancake. The adults seem to be ignoring the burrows of tiny owls that will be buried by the bulldozing equipment any day now. Roy's parents explain that it surely is a shame about the owls, but the company must have filed all of the papers and received all of the necessary permits. But Roy and his new friends --- Mullet Fingers, the outlaw boy, and Beatrice, his tough, soccer playing stepsister --- are not about to take the destruction of the owls' burrows lying down. Along the way they outwit Officer Delinko, the ambitious cop who tries to protect the site, and Curly, the foreman who's responsible for getting the job started.
Roy's parents are thoughtful and very caring.
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