A Few Reviews… Chomp by Carl Hiaasen

Hello Readers,

Last night I started to write a few reviews for the four (now five books) I have finished this month.  My plan was to get all four reviews done last night before bed, didn’t happen.  I got the Throne of Fire review done and then called it a night.  I did spend about an hour finishing off Ashfall by Mike Mullin, so now I have a fifth review to get done this weekend.

Today I review the second book I finished this month…Chomp by Carl Hiaasen.  You are probably saying to yourself “I don’t think I’ve heard of that Hiaasen book, is it one of his adult books?”  I say to you, silly reader I don’t read adult books…how boring!

No this is Hiaasen’s newest, and I was very happy to get a NetGalley copy of this book that will not be published until March of 2012.  This was my first experience with NetGalley and I have to say that if I hadn’t liked the book as much as I did then I don’t think I would have liked reading the book on the computer.  I did enjoy the fact that I read this entire novel in the classroom during our SSR time, which lead to lots of retelling with students.  I noticed lots of copies of Hoot, Flush and Scat appearing as I read Chomp.

Chomp is a continuation of Carl Hiaasen’s wacky world of South Florida.  Like his previous novels for young readers it takes place in Florida, the characters are completely bonkers and the story revolves around animals and the environment.  I really love Hiaasen’s books, Hoot is probably in my top ten books of all time.

Chomp follows a young boy named Wahoo Cray, who was named after the wrestler, not the fish.  Perfect Hiaasen.  Wahoo lives with his animal wrangling father and international business working mother.  They have a menagerie in their backyard that includes big snakes, naughty monkeys, raccoons and gators, just to name a few.

The family is late on some big bills so Wahoo’s mom takes a job in China while he and his father take a job wrangling animals for an adventure TV show called Expedition Survival with Derek Badger.

This Badger character turns out to be a complete fraud and his only real survival skill is that he can swallow and eat anything without puking.  His whole survival show is staged and completely fake.  I had fun telling my students stories about how stupid he was and striking a heroic pose as I talked about Derek Badger.  Hiaasen is clearly poking fun at Bear Grylls and the other survivalist show guys out their on basic cable.

The story goes into typical Hiaasen gonzo as they whole thing moves into the Everglades and Derek goes missing and a monster with a gun shows up.  I won’t tell you how the whole thing ends, but I will tell you that a poke at Twilight is made that still makes me giggle today.

Chomp is a wild ride on a flat bottom air boat and I suggest you take a ride.

Read on,

Mr. H


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