Wednesday, February 21, 2007



by Carl Hiaasen.

Following on the great success of his first kids lit outing, Hoot, adult author and newspaper columnist Carl Hiaasen brings forth another tale of environmental activism by kids and a few complicit adults. I don't think I've ever seen a kids book adapted into a movie so quickly as that last, and certainly, Hiaasen's writing lends itself easily to the cinema. In much the same way as with Eoin Colfer, you can see the action playing out as you read - which makes for great kid appeal and an easy read that pulls you along with it.

I think what I'm finding I like best about this book, though, is the same thing that I love about Andrew Clement's novels: the characters and their relationships. Like Clement, Hiaasen's adult are real people, fully fleshed out, and the kids come to understand them a bit. In so much of kidslit, adults are a little flat, sort of stock cardboard cutouts, with maybe one eccentric exception. Here, though, the parents come to life and the kids discover more about them during the story. The kids and parents have good relationships, trusting (even when kids are sneaking around doing things that would make their parents instantaneously grey) each other to do the right thing, even if it looks a little wonky at the outset. I like how often, they end up helping each other or supporting each other or maybe even working together towards something they think is a worthwhile endeavour. I like that this gives credit to both kids and adults.

The setting in this book that really steals the show, too - Hiaasen's deep love for his home state is palpable as he lovingly and richly describes it. It makes the Keys sound idyllic, the perfect place for a family, and it is part of what makes this book jump off the page and into the mind's eye.

Fantastic for middle-grade readers (maybe grade 4 or 5 to 7 or 8?) of either gender (both brother adn sister are fiesty and get to play a real role in the action, often working together). Even a reluctant reader could eaily get sucked into this one, which I think moves a little faster than his first.

Labels: , , ,

I enjoyed this book, but thought that "Hoot" was better.
Have you ever tried reading his novels for adults?
Post a Comment

<< Home