Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

Published: 2002

Genre: middle grade fiction

Length: 292 pages

Setting: Coconut Cove, Florida, present day

Interest: I saw it at the library used book sale and remember hearing it was a good audiobook. That means it would make a good read aloud. Miss Adventure decided it should be our next bedtime story.

Summary: Roy Eberhardt has moved to Coconut Cove, Florida from Montana. Roy is unlucky enough to be targeted by the school bully, Dana Matherson. Dana causes Roy all kinds of trouble, especially on the bus. One day, Roy is intrigued to see a boy his age running away from the bus stop. He investigates and eventually meets Mullet Fingers, the run-away step-brother of the soccer player and tough girl, Beatrice Leep. Mullet Fingers draws Roy into some potential vandalism on a nearby construction site. Mother Paula’s All American Pancake House is planning on putting their newest restaurant in Coconut Cove. Unfortunately, the property they’ve chosen is home to several protected burrowing owls. Mullet Fingers is trying to stop the destruction of their burrows, and with Roy’s help, the construction is stopped.

Final thoughts: A fine enough story, with a hint of aspirational leanings. The story itself is nothing special for the adults reading the books, but kids will like it. You get a bit of trying to find your place in a new school and dealing with bullies – your typical relationship difficulties in middle school. I liked the owls and Mullet Finger’s side of the story. The kids were able to make a difference and help protect the owls. Mullet Fingers was trying to do it illegally, by vandalizing the property. (The poor foreman, Curly, was traumatized by the end – snakes! alligators! but no owls, no siree Bob!) It was only when Roy got involved and brought the information out into the open and used public, legal channels, that the project got cancelled. (I’m sure there’s a message there for the kids.) And, since it’s a middle grade book, everything comes out right in the end (except Mullet Fingers still doesn’t have a home to live in).

It did work well as a read aloud. The book moved along nicely, with not too many voices to keep track of. The chapters were usually 15-20 minutes worth of reading, so there was always an easy stopping point when I was ready to be done. There is a movie version of the book, which we have not seen. Should we put it on our Netflix queue?

Title comes from: The main plot of the book was about trying to save some owls

Reading challenges fulfilled: #37 in my Maybe 100 This Year Challenge, and an H on my Author Reading the Alphabet Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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