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Scat [Kindle Edition]

Carl Hiaasen
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (308 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $5.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Bestselling author and columnist Carl Hiaasen returns with another hysterical mystery for kids set in Florida's Everglades.
 
Bunny Starch, the most feared biology teacher ever, is missing. She disappeared after a school field trip to Black Vine Swamp. And, to be honest, the kids in her class are relieved.
 
But when the principal tries to tell the students that Mrs. Starch has been called away on a "family emergency," Nick and Marta just don't buy it. No, they figure the class delinquent, Smoke, has something to do with her disappearance.
 
And he does! But not in the way they think. There's a lot more going on in Black Vine Swamp than any one player in this twisted tale can see. And Nick and Marta will have to reckon with an eccentric eco-avenger, a stuffed rat named Chelsea, a wannabe Texas oilman, a singing substitute teacher, and a ticked-off Florida panther before they really begin to see the big picture.
 
That's life in the swamp, kids.


From the Hardcover edition.


Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5–8—Once again, Hiaasen has written an edge-of-the-seat eco-thriller. When their unpopular biology teacher goes missing in a suspicious fire during a field trip to the Black Vine Swamp, Nick and Marta don't buy the headmaster's excuse for her absence and decide to do some investigating of their own. Eco-avengers; an endangered, hunted panther; illegal pipelines in the Everglades; and an underachieving student with the nickname "Smoke" all play a part in this gripping novel. From the first sentence, readers will be hooked. The teens' dangerous detective work, with help from some unlikely sources, and the ethics of environmental awareness are well balanced. The emotion and personal changes that Nick goes through due to his father's injury in Iraq are on their own a worthy study of the struggles that military families are facing today. This well-written and smoothly plotted story, with fully realized characters, will certainly appeal to mystery lovers.—Dylan Thomarie, Johnstown High School, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Hiaasen starts off this story—a hybrid madcap swamp adventure and cast-driven environmental whodunit—with the disappearance of a biology teacher after a fire breaks out during a field trip in the Everglades. The immediate suspect for the fire, at least, is a young miscreant, but friends Nick and Marta figure something else is afoot: it might have something to do with the nefarious oilmen slinking about nearby, as well as the rumor of an endangered panther and her cubs in the swamp. A generous cast of characters—each imbued with a few unexpected traits—flits about and provides most of the impetus to keep things rolling. Adding some emotional heft is the subplot involving Nick’s father; he returns home from Iraq minus his right arm, and Nick binds his own arm so that they can learn to become lefties together. Hiaasen’s gumbo tastes a lot like his previous efforts, pitting conservation against reckless greed and setting the can-do of youth among determined Floridian quirkiness. But there’s a reason why a recipe tastes so good time and again. Grades 5-8. --Ian Chipman

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for the Classroom March 14, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I teach 6th Grade Reading and this book is perfect for this age group. I loved it too so don't be afraid to read it if you are an adult.

The school setting and the stern teacher who disappears on a field trip will appeal to young readers. I particularly liked the sub plot with the Iraqi veteran. It added a timely dimension to the story.

I live in Florida and I have actually seen a Florida panther in the wild. They are very rare, and you really feel special if you get the chance to see one. If you live anywhere and love wildlife, you will love this story!
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner by Hiaasen February 19, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Scat is Carl Hiaasen's third book for young readers, following Hoot and Flush. In this novel, like his others, he focuses on environmentalism and Florida, but he also tones down the content compared with his regular novels.

Scat follows the story of Nick and Marta, two high school students, who are in Mrs. Starch's biology class. Mrs. Starch is legendary as the strictest teacher in the school, with a singular focus on teaching biology. One day, she takes her biology classes on a vacation to a local swamp. While they are there, a mysterious swamp fire stars, forcing the trip to an abrupt end. After the students return to school, they realize that Mrs. Starch has not returned. The next day, principal reassures the students that Mrs. Starch had to leave due to a family emergency, but this excuse does not sit well with Nick. First of all, he is not aware of Mrs. Starch having any family, and also she had been previously threatened by Dwayne "Smoke" Scrod, a rebellious student who had a run-in with her.

Nick decided to investigate Mrs. Starch's disappearance and brings Marta along to help. They begin by visiting her house on the outskirts of town, but are chased away by a mysterious man named Twilly Spree. Although they (as well as the police) suspect Smoke to be involved with Mrs. Starch's disappearance, Nick is baffled when Smoke suddenly visits to borrow his biology book. To further this improbable connection, Smoke seeks out Nick to tell Nick that he is innocent as he runs from the police who have come to apprehend him at school. Nick and Marta's search for Mrs. Starch adds a new dimension as they try to figure out if Smoke was telling the truth.

Then of course, there is the environmental element.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Novel for Young Readers January 27, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Newbery Honor Winner Carl Hiaasen returns to Middle Grades Fiction with SCAT (following Hoot and Flush) a mystery/comedy set in Florida. It is ideal for readers age 10-13, but has a well-plotted mystery that could entertain adult readers as well (particularly Hiaasen's fans).

It all begins when Mrs. Bunny Starch, feared Biology teacher, disappears during a school field trip to the Black Vine Swamp -- where an illegal and undercover oil-drilling operation is taking place. Mrs. Starch regularly embarrasses and intimidates her students, so there's no shortage of suspects who may have had a hand in her disappearance.

It's up to two adventurous students -- Nick and Marta -- to solve the mystery. They must navigate a web of weird characters -- an eccentric eco-avenger, a juvenile delinquent named Smoke, a crooked oil prospector, and an endangered Florida panther -- in order to solve the mystery.

SCAT is a page-turner with heart, humor, and adventure. A good book for both boys and girls, filled with the kind of wacky characters with which Hiaasen has built his career.

You might consider checking out the film version of Hoot (New Line Platinum Series), too. Enjoy!

Stacey Cochran
Author of CLAWS available for 80 Cents
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book for Older Readers March 5, 2009
Format:Hardcover
As a fourth grade teacher, I read a number of "children's" books to find new reading material for my students. I picked up Scat because many of my students have read or are reading Hoot or Flush.

I found the book to be very entertaining. It was my first book by Carl Hiaasen and now I am intrigued to read more. I am currently working my way through Hoot and I have a new appreciation for the humor now that I have read Scat.

The story is centered around the disappearance of Mrs. Starch while on a field trip and the miraculous change that occurs in the class deliquent, Smoke. Throw in a shady oil company and their illegal drilling operation and the mysterious woodsman on a search for panther poop and you begin to understand the book a little.

I think this book is more appropriate for older readers (11-15 years old). There was some mild language and scenes (a naked man is found painted orange and glued to a tree) that might be inappropriate for younger readers. Additionally, there is some criminal activity (the theft of drilling equipment) that is made to seem allowable since it is done in the name of ecology.

I certainly hope that Mr. Hiaasen will continue to write books for students. They are perfect for encouraging reluctant readers to begin a love of reading.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hiassen's Scat February 10, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Carl Hiassen's book Scat is a twistedly funny book. He paints a wonderful picture and really makes you believe in his characters. It is intended for 5th graders into middle school but I am an adult really enjoyed it.

Mrs. Bunny Starch is not the most liked science teacher but when she goes missing her students begin to wonder. Nick and Marta make it their job to find out what exactly happened to her in the Black Vine Swamp. They team up with some unlikely people like Smoke who does not have the best of reputations.

I would recommend this book to ages 10 and up and up. If you are an adult don't think this is a kids book and not for me, particularly if you have any interest in ecological matters.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars fun beach read
Especially a beach in Florida as this book makes you appreciate the protected areas even more as you realize they are indeed getting gobbled up yearly by concrete!
Published 4 days ago by SueM
3.0 out of 5 stars Scat by Isabella😃
I did not like the bad words in this book but other than that it was pretty good😊 I also recommend Chomp.
Published 6 days ago by Thomas Hanson
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Hiaasen Hit!
Another Hiaasen hit! This one, like "Hoot", has a very distinct environmental flavor (and that's OK). Read more
Published 9 days ago by Cowboy-not Wyoming
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME BOOK!
ANOTHER GREAT CARL HIASSEN BOOK! WHEN IS THE NEXT ONE COMING OUT??? (MY 9 YEAR OLD SON WANTS TO KNOW)
Published 19 days ago by Mary from Long Island
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary at First
The teacher goes missing but you quickly figure out what's happening. Literally, with every word you learn something new. Mystery.
Published 22 days ago by EIS
5.0 out of 5 stars Nicely done story!
My son is reading this book in school, and has enjoyed it quite a bit. Although I think some of the writing may not be totally appropriate for the 5th grade level (some of the... Read more
Published 23 days ago by amlapilusa
5.0 out of 5 stars My 10 and 11 year olds loved this - and so did I
My 10 and 11 year olds loved this - and so did I! We couldn't wait to finish it. It was an easy read and they reached their AR goal because of Carl Hiaasen! Read more
Published 28 days ago by Ann Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great, entertaining. I didn't know it was in his children's series, but enjoyed it nonetheless :)
Published 28 days ago by Chastity Birdsong
4.0 out of 5 stars SCATT Review
I chose this particular rating because I would have made the book have a real mystery. That, my friend is why I gave SCATT this rating.
Published 1 month ago by caroline hamblin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good book
Published 1 month ago by AY
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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.

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