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2 Beaverton Children's Middle Readers- General
1 Hawthorne Children's Young Adult- Newbery Award Winners

Hoot

by

Hoot Cover

 

 

Excerpt

Roy would not have noticed the strange boy if it weren't for Dana Matherson, because Roy ordinarily didn't look out the window of the school bus. He preferred to read comics and mystery books on the morning ride to Trace Middle.

But on this day, a Monday (Roy would never forget), Dana Matherson grabbed Roy's head from behind and pressed his thumbs into Roy's temple, as if he were squeezing a soccer ball. The older kids were supposed to stay in the back of the bus, but Dana had snuck up behind Roy's seat and ambushed him. When Roy tried to wriggle free, Dana mushed his face against the window.

It was then, squinting through the smudged glass, that Roy spotted the strange boy running along the sidewalk. It appeared as if he was hurrying to catch the school bus, which had stopped at a corner to pick up more kids.

The boy was straw-blond and wiry, and his skin was nutbrown from the sun. The expression on his face was intent and serious. He wore a faded Miami Heat basketball jersey and dirty khaki shorts, and here was the odd part: no shoes. The soles of his bare feet looked as black as barbecue coals.

Trace Middle School didn't have the world's strictest dress code, but Roy was pretty sure that some sort of footwear was required. The boy might have been carrying sneakers in his backpack, if only he'd been wearing a backpack. No shoes, no backpack, no books-strange, indeed, on a school day.

Roy was sure that the barefoot boy would catch all kinds of grief from Dana and the other big kids once he boarded the bus, but that didn't happen....

Because the boy kept running-past the corner, past the line of students waiting to get on the bus; past the bus itself. Roy wanted to shout, "Hey, look at that guy!" but his mouth wasn't working so well. Dana Matherson still had him from behind, pushing his face against the window.

As the bus pulled away from the intersection, Roy hoped to catch another glimpse of the boy farther up the street. However, he had turned off the sidewalk and was now cutting across a private yard-running very fast, much faster than Roy could run and maybe even faster than Richard, Roy's best friend back in Montana. Richard was so fast that he got to work out with the high school track squad when he was only in seventh grade.

Dana Matherson was digging his fingernails into Roy's scalp, trying to make him squeal, but Roy barely felt a thing. He was gripped with curiosity as the running boy dashed through one neat green yard after another, getting smaller in Roy's vision as he put a wider distance between himself and the school bus.

Roy saw a big pointy-eared dog, probably a German shepherd, bound off somebody's porch and go for the boy. Incredibly, the boy didn't change his course. He vaulted over the dog, crashed through a cherry hedge, and then disappeared from view.

Roy gasped.

"Whassamatter, cowgirl? Had enough?"

This was Dana, hissing in Roy's right ear. Being the new kid on the bus, Roy didn't expect any help from the others. The "cowgirl" remark was so lame, it wasn't worth getting mad about. Dana was a well-known idiot, on top of which he outweighed Roy by at least fifty pounds. Fighting back would have been a complete waste of energy.

"Had enough yet? We can't hear you, Tex." Dana's breath smelled like stale cigarettes. Smoking and beating up smaller kids were his two main hobbies.

"Yeah, okay," Roy said impatiently. "I've had enough."

As soon as he was freed, Roy lowered the window and stuck out his head. The strange boy was gone.

Who was he? What was he running from?

Roy wondered if any of the other kids on the bus had seen what he'd seen. For a moment he wondered if he'd really seen it himself.

That same morning, a police officer named David Delinko was sent to the future site of another Mother Paula's All-American Pancake House. It was a vacant lot at the corner of East Oriole and Woodbury, on the eastern edge of town.

Officer Delinko was met by a man in a dark blue pickup truck. The man, who was as bald as a beach ball, introduced himself as Curly. Officer Delinko thought the bald man must have a good sense of humor to go by such a nickname, but he was wrong. Curly was cranky and unsmiling.

"You should see what they done," he said to the policeman.

"Who?"

"Follow me," the man called Curly said.

Officer Delinko got in step behind him. "The dispatcher said you wanted to report some vandalism."

"That's right," Curly grunted over his shoulder.

The policeman couldn't see what there was to be vandalized on the property, which was basically a few acres of scraggly weeds. Curly stopped walking and pointed at a short piece of lumber on the ground. A ribbon of bright pink plastic was tied to one end of the stick. The other end was sharpened and caked with gray dirt.

Curly said, "They pulled 'em out."

"That's a survey stake?" asked Officer Delinko.

"Yep. They yanked 'em out of the ground, every damn one.

"Probably just kids."

"And then they threw'em every which way," Curly said, waving a beefy arm, "and then they filled in the holes."

"That's a little weird," the policeman remarked. "When did this happen?"

"Last night or early this morning," Curly said. "Maybe it don't look like a big deal, but it's gonna take a while to get the site marked out again. Meantime, we can't start clearin' or gradin' or nuthin'. We got backhoes and dozers already leased, and now they gotta sit. I know it don't look like the crime of the century, but still-"

"I understand," said Officer Delinko. "What's your estimate of the monetary damage?"

"Damage?"

"Yes. So I can put it in my report." The policeman picked up the survey stake and examined it. "It's not really broken, is it?"

"Well, no-"

"Were any of them destroyed?" asked Officer Delinko. "How much does one of these things cost-a buck or two?"

The man called Curly was losing his patience. "They didn't break none of the stakes," he said gruffly.

"Not even one?" The policeman frowned. He was trying to figure out what to put in his report. You can't have vandalism without monetary damages, and if nothing on the property was broken or defaced....

"What I'm tryin' to explain," Curly said irritably, "it's not that they messed up the survey stakes, it's them screwing up our whole construction schedule. That's where it'll cost some serious bucks."

From the Hardcover edition.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

desi_young, November 12, 2008 (view all comments by desi_young)
With only two young adult/kids books under his belt, Hiaasen brings his wacky offbeat characters with a pro environment flair and anti new construction to a younger generation. I went to see him at a speaking engagement once for the other kids book Flush, and he was amazed at how many kids were there as he stated his other writings should be held off for reading til his crowd was a little bit older. As with any Hiaasen book, the bad guys will always get what they deserve and the good guys win and something strange will happen that will make you shake your head.
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(13 of 31 readers found this comment helpful)
ami_in_autumn, November 8, 2008 (view all comments by ami_in_autumn)
well...the first time i read this book, it`s so difficult for me to understand. I`m an Indonesian young girl who was assigned by my lecture to make a responses from this book. honestly, there were so many difficult words that not custom to be used in daily English conversation,it makes me headache. i read this book with a dictionary beside me. but once i started to read this book, somehow i get so excited.i can`t stop reading it. it just like watching the movie itself.the story made me feel so curious with what will be happened next. this is the first novel book that i finished reading it without skipping any chapter. now, i`ve been thinking of a response to be made. since i like every characters in this story i intend to make pictures of them based on my own imagination.
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(9 of 21 readers found this comment helpful)
neongreenfreak911, August 30, 2008 (view all comments by neongreenfreak911)
i love this book! ive gotten to page 35! i was going to finish tonight cause im so upsessed with it but i left it in my locker!!!!!!!!



ahhhhhhh! i cant stand it!!!
im sooo anxious im looking for an online book
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(17 of 29 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780375829161
Author:
Hiaasen, Carl
Publisher:
Puffin
Author:
Abrahams, Peter
Subject:
General
Subject:
Children's 12-Up - Fiction - General
Subject:
Mysteries, Espionage, & Detective Stories
Subject:
Humorous Stories
Subject:
Children's 9-12 - Fiction - Mysteries / Detective
Subject:
Nature & the Natural World - Environment
Subject:
Social Situations - Physical & Emotional Abuse
Subject:
Social Situations - Moving
Subject:
Nature & the Natural World - Environment & Ecology
Subject:
Nature & the Natural World - Ecology
Subject:
Environmental protection
Subject:
Owls
Subject:
Florida
Subject:
General Juvenile Fiction
Subject:
Children s Middle Readers-General
Subject:
Action & Adventure
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20130516
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 5
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.05x5.29x.67 in. .52 lbs.
Age Level:
12-UP

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Hoot Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Puffin - English 9780375829161 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "With a Florida setting and proenvironment, antidevelopment message, Hiaasen (Sick Puppy) returns to familiar turf for his first novel for young readers. Characteristically quirky characters and comic twists will surely gain the author new fans, though their attention may wander during his narrative's intermittently protracted focus on several adults, among them a policeman and the manager of a construction site for a new franchise of a pancake restaurant chain. Both men are on a quest to discover who is sabotaging the site at night, including such pranks as uprooting survey stakes, spray-painting the police cruiser's windows while the officer sleeps within and filling the portable potties with alligators. The story's most intriguing character is the boy behind the mischief, a runaway on a mission to protect the miniature owls that live in burrows underneath the site. Roy, who has recently moved to Florida from Montana, befriends the homeless boy (nicknamed Mullet Fingers) and takes up his cause, as does the runaway's stepsister. Though readers will have few doubts about the success of the kids' campaign, several suspenseful scenes build to the denouement involving the sitcom-like unraveling of a muckity-muck at the pancake house. These, along with dollops of humor, help make the novel quite a hoot indeed. Ages 10-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , “A wonderful tour-de-force.”
"Review" by , “A rollicking, righteous story.”
"Review" by , “You don’t have to be a young adult to enjoy it.”
"Review" by , “Yes, it is a hoot.”
"Synopsis" by , Roy, who is new to his small Florida community, becomes involved in another boy's attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site in this Newbery Honor book and the first children's book by New York Times bestselling author Hiaasen.
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