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Mudshark Library Binding – May 12, 2009

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Library Binding: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books (May 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385909225
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385909228
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,024,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3–6—His reflexes honed chasing triplet toddler sisters, Lyle Williams, 12, earned the nickname Mudshark during an especially fierce game of Death Ball. He relishes reading and observing the world as much as he enjoys sports, and his memory for finding lost articles wins him the prestige of unofficial school detective. The inevitable trouble in paradise occurs when the librarian's psychic parrot threatens his reputation. Mudshark decides that he can simultaneously neutralize the bird and solve a missing-eraser problem with a little help from a wacky assortment of classmates. The principal's intercom announcements that introduce each chapter may cause teary-eyed chortles ("Please refrain from forming hunting parties to hunt the gerbil"). Paulsen presents readers with the unabashedly entertaining machinations of Mudshark, lone bastion of sanity in the midst of school chaos. Fresh and light with scads of humor, this is a tale that doesn't take itself too seriously. That said, the episodes of school-borne mischief hit their target audience just right. Themes of community, literacy, and determination find an oddly snug fit alongside radioactive faculty restrooms and crayfish population explosions. Use this as a classroom read-aloud or hand it to children who like quick reads with strong vocabulary. Fatten those lean humor sections with this slim charmer.—Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In this very short grade-school mystery, Paulsen introduces readers to Mudshark (real name Lyle Williams), a student with astonishing powers of observation, an iron-clad memory, and an ice-cool demeanor. Whenever something goes missing, Mudshark’s the guy to find it. So when all the erasers disappear from the classrooms, the principal enlists Mudshark to uncover the culprit. Paulsen weaves in a wide cast of humorous characters, including an art-aficionado custodian and a psychic parrot who seems to be muscling in on Mudshark’s beat. Paulsen’s deft hand with detailing and sometimes-light, sometimes-heavy touches of humor draw the story along more than the mystery, as readers might arrive at the solution before they really realize what they’re supposed to be on the lookout for. But Paulsen makes it a fun, if slight, ride all the same, and it’s always refreshing to see a character that is legitimately cool because he’s smart. Give this to readers who aren’t quite ready for the adventures of the like-minded Calder from Blue Balliett’s novels. Grades 3-6. --Ian Chipman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Gary Paulsen is one of the most honored writers of contemporary literature for young readers. He has written more than one hundred book for adults and young readers, and is the author of three Newberry Honor titles: Dogsong, Hatchet, and The Winter Room. He divides his time among Alaska, New Mexico, Minnesota, and the Pacific.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#43 in Books > Teens
#43 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

This is a perfect book for my sixth graders.
A cast of very likable characters and quirky, colorful animals plus the sweet wackiness all combine to make Mudshark a keeper! :)
MUDSHARK is a great addition to any Gary Paulsen collection.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on May 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
MUDSHARK is a great addition to any Gary Paulsen collection. It's not the HATCHET adventure type, but rather one of the crazy, mad-cap mishap stories like HOW ANGEL PETERSON GOT HIS NAME and LAWN BOY.

Mudshark is actually Lyle Williams. He got his name for his lightning speed and his incredible observation skills. These are skills he honed while keeping an eye on Kara, Sara, and Tara, his triplet sisters. When they became mobile, life became one accident-avoidance after another.

Most of Mudshark's skills are put to use helping his friends at school. He has a certain knack for finding anything that goes missing. The main adventure, in what I hope is Paulsen's first in a series of Mudshark adventures, is locating the school's mysteriously missing erasers. Yes, gradually every eraser in the school has disappeared.

The cast of characters in MUDSHARK is quite colorful. There's a talking parrot in the library, an easily excitable English teacher, a culturally educated custodian, and a "free-range" gerbil, just to name a few. I especially enjoyed the principal's announcements that opened each chapter. His running commentary on some sort of out-of-control situation in the faculty restroom was a hoot!

Aimed at an audience of 8-12 year olds, MUDSHARK is one of those fabulous Paulsen books that can be enjoyed by anyone from a beginning chapter book reader to a senior citizen who remembers what it's like to be a kid. At only 83 pages long, MUDSHARK is a quick way to pass the time and enjoy a laugh or two.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By CandyR on August 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book came highly recommended and I started reading it with/to my 9-yr old son. The story is reasonably interesting, but the writing style gives me pause. The sentences often run a third of a page long (with lots of commas, subordinate clauses, recounting of old tales, side stories, thoughts about what would/could happen in the future and whatever else could pop for a fleeting moment into a kids brain, I suppose) - No, that sentence isn't half as long, rambling or complex as the ones you'll find in this book :-). If your child reads more of Wimpy Kid and Captain Underpants than Charlotte's Web, stay clear of this one.

A few examples:
Page 16: A few were downright frightening, but the letter that received the most attention and prompted the subsequent hiring of a child psychologist whose job it was to visit classrooms throughout the district looking for Potential Cries for Help from Disaffected Youth read, "Body parts could be gathered from city morgues and, using duct tape and the clever manipulation of electricity, a human being could be manufactured."

Page 17: The custodian was constantly trying to fit new tanks into the rooms, and everyone hoped that he was garnering huge overtime pay for the weekend and school vacation visits he made to clean the tanks and feed the crayfish, lest they die - which they would, an unfortunate and reeking discovery made immediately following the first three-day weekend of the school year.

Page 18: Young people did learn a lot about the Inevitable Cycle of Life, which was sure to help them as they matured, got jobs as bankers and lawyers and car engine designers, then planned the sizes of of their own families and immediately had their house pets spayed or neutered.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By The Children's Book Reporter on October 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Mudshark is cool. He's athletic, he's friendly, and he's smart. Really, really smart. He can remember everything, and reigns supreme as item-finder and mystery-solver at his middle school...until a strange, "telepathic" parrot takes up residence in the library, just as things around his school are beginning to get very strange.
Mudshark (I mean the book this time) is clever and very, very funny. Because it is clearly early middle grade, the plot is small; I would argue that even as a middle grade book, it could have been slightly better developed... In particular, I would have been more satisfied if the reader had more insight/emotional involvement in the solving of the mystery, as the outcome seemed rather sudden. However, the characters were lovable and unique, the narrative voice was excellent, and the humor was superb. Highly recommended to readers ages 8-10 in particular.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on June 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Gary Paulsen, the prolific writer of award-winning books for boys, introduces a new character in his latest effort. Mudshark, aka Lyle Williams, loves to play death ball. He earned his nickname by making an amazing tackle during a game. But Mudshark is known for much more than his incredible ball-playing abilities. He has lightning-fast reflexes (honed from hours of chasing after his triplet sisters: Kara, Sara and Tara), and because he has a great memory and keen sense of observation, he is also good at solving mysteries.

Strange things start happening at Mudshark's elementary school. Erasers are disappearing in large numbers from the classrooms, a gerbil is on the loose somewhere in the building, and there is a problem in the faculty restroom. The Principal calls on Mudshark for help.

All the students know Mudshark is good at solving mysteries. If you lose your homework, you can count on him to find it. He is certainly up to the challenge of solving the "mystery of the disappearing erasers," but his mission is complicated by the librarian's pet parrot, who not only can talk, he also can observe things and speak in full sentences about them. For instance, when Betty wants to know where her recipe for lard is (Betty is always experimenting with formulas and recipes for all manner of concoctions), the parrot says, "Check the window ledge in the girls' restroom." Sure enough, the recipe is there. The students are amazed at the parrot's ability and believe he is psychic. They also think he might be as good as, or better than, Mudshark when it comes to solving mysteries.

But the parrot doesn't solve the mystery of the missing erasers. Mudshark does after much observation and deduction. Answering that question, though, leaves him with a bigger one.
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