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Flush [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Carl Hiaasen
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 2005 Thorndike Literacy Bridge
Noah's dad, Paine, is a kind but slightly irresponsible fisherman, passionate about saving the local Florida aquatic life. When Paine discovers that a local businessman is running a scam from his casino boat, he takes the law into his own hands, sinks the boat and ends up in jail. The scam involves releasing the effluent from the boat's toilets directly into the water, to avoid the cost of disposing of it safely. Noah and Abby, his sister, take up the fight on Dad's behalf and enlist the help of Shelly, former girlfriend of Dodgy Businessman. Shelly knows that DB is up to no good and comes up with a plan to prove it. She gets a job as a barmaid back on the casino boat and plans to sneak a huge load of coloured dye into the toilets. Meanwhile...Noah and his sister have never known their paternal grandfather but have always been told that he died in mysterious circumstances in South America. As they delve deeper into the mystery, an elderly stranger turns up and seems to be watching over them, even intervening to save Noah when he's being beaten up by DB's horrible son...On the night planned for Shelly's mission, Noah and Abby are watching from a small rowing boat. Unfortunately they are spotted from the deck of the casino boat by a violent thug who works for DB. As he raises his gun to take a shot at the kids, he is pushed aside by the mysterious old man. When the toilets are flushed that night, the bay turns orange, the coastguard are called and the terrible scam revealed. Dad gets let out of prison and of course the stranger turns out to be their grandpa!
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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From School Library Journal

Grade 5 Up–In Flush (Knopf, 2005), Carl Hiaasen's ecological concerns focus on illegal dumping of raw sewage from a floating casino. Noah Underwood's dad has sunk the gambling ship, the Coal Queen, in protest. Now the elder Underwood is launching a media campaign from his jail cell to raise public awareness since the sewage-spewing ship will soon be back in operation. Though Noah and his younger sister Abbey believe in their father's cause, they also fear their mother will file for divorce if he continues to react so outrageously to environmental issues. After a few false starts and run-ins with the casino owner's son and the ship's hired goon, the siblings come up with a plan to use food coloring to expose the hazardous dumping. Working with Shelly, the casino's bartender, and aided by a mysterious white-haired man, Noah and Abbey set their trap, but end up adrift off the Florida Keys. Rescue and an unexpected family reunion make their successful exposure of the corrupt casino owner even sweeter. It takes a few more plot twists before the Coral Queen is closed forever, and by then Noah's parents have learned better ways to manage their marital problems. Michael Welch's narration neatly balances the protagonist's earnest youthfulness with the story's humor. In the manner of Hoot (Knopf, 2002), Hiaasen's award-winning first foray into young adult novels, Flush deals with serious ecological and personal issues. With good insight into real world relationships plus a mix of solid citizens and offbeat good guys, this audiobook has broad appeal and will be valued in middle school, high school, and public libraries.–Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. Hiaasen's second novel exhibits some of the same elements found in his 2003 Newbery Honor Book: Florida local color, oddball adults (buxom and brawny), and a delightful quirkiness.But the sparkle that catapulted Hootinto the limelight isn't quite as brilliant here. Even so, there's plenty to like in this yarn, which, once again, drops an environmental issue into the lap of a kid. Righteous indignation, usually resulting from some sabotage of Florida's natural resources, has gotten Noah Underwood's dad in trouble before. This time, however, Dad's gone too far: he sunk a floating casino. Why? Its owner is dumping human waste in the water. Unfortunately, Dad can't prove it, and that's where Noah and his younger sister, Abbey, come in. The amateur sleuthing puts the sibs into some mildly suspenseful, occasionally amusing, situations, which, as in the previous book, share space with run-ins with a local bully (Noah takes some lumps but gets sweet revenge). An old-fashioned deus ex machina interrupts an otherwise believable setup, but Hiaasen still succeeds at relating an entertaining story while getting across a serious message about conservation and the results of just plain greed. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
If I hadn't known that Flush was aimed at younger readers, I would have read the book just as happily as an adult reader who enjoys rooting for heroic youngsters who straighten out their elders. The book has the trademark Hiaasen humor, concern about the environment, an ability to turn a plot upside down on a dime, and reverence for what makes youngsters laugh. It's great fun!

The main difference between Mr. Hiaasen's "adult" books and this one shows up in his gentle way of describing everything. He's much harsher in the adult books, but I think the gentle style is actually more appealing. As a result, I heartily recommend this book for young readers "of all ages."

The book opens with a "glug" as Noah Carmichael visits his dad in the local jail on Father's Day. No, Noah's dad didn't get drunk: He got even by sinking a floating casino that he believes has been dumping its sewage into the water. There's just one little problem: Noah's dad has no proof. His dad has a heart of gold, but he acts a little impulsively sometimes (how about all the time?).

As a point of principle, Noah's dad decides to stay in jail. This creates certain tensions in the family as Noah's mom is overhead to mention the "d" word that no youngster wants to hear parents use.

Eventually, a fully calmed down dad arrives home . . . and swears off tackling Dusty Muleman and his casino while agreeing to pay damages and take anger management classes. At that point, Noah and his sister Abbey decide that they will have to get to the bottom of the toilet bowl. In the best tradition of Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher, the youngsters hatch up and execute a hilarious scheme to catch Dusty "red-handed" with dyed evidence that tracks back to the casino boat.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A FUN READ WITH A SERIOUS MESSAGE! GREAT JOB! Sept. 30 2005
Format:Hardcover
I love to read (and to write) children's books. I think they're much more creative and original than adult books, and FLUSH is no exception. What an imagination this talented author has.
I especially like his kooky characters, their sassy dialogue, and that Hiaasen tackles a serious issue like the environment in a clever way that teaches children without preaching ... and makes them laugh all along the way.
I may be going about this backwards, but I read FLUSH first; now I'm going back to read HOOT! After reading FLUSH, there's nothing else I can do but read HOOT. I'm hooked on Hiaasen. Fantastic!
Reviewer: Betty Dravis, author of The Toonies Invade Silicon Valley
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5.0 out of 5 stars Flush April 13 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a great book. My daughter 9 read it as part of a Book Club selection. My son 12 read it because it was lying around. The both loved it.
They enjoyed the plot with it`s twists and turns. I must admit that I also read it and loved it. It was an easy read for all of us. Just found out
it was written by the same author who wrote Hoot which we saw as a Movie. Great book. I really recommend it for kids, but adults will enjoy it too.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  388 reviews
84 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richie's Picks: FLUSH Oct. 1 2005
By Richie Partington - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
IN the spring of 2002 I wrote about Carl Hiaasen's first children's book, HOOT:

"Carl Hiaasen does an incredible job of showing the different styles of activism that different people resort to. He presents the reader with the contemporary clash of free enterprise versus global ecological issues. He has a lot to say between the lines about parenting, and he has some great insights into the methods of dealing with bullies.

"I've never read his adult books, but I sure hope Hiaasen writes more books for kids. HOOT is one heck of a first step into the world of children's literature."

So I was, of course, ecstatic that both the 2003 Newbery committee and 2003 Best Books for Young Adults committee recognized HOOT.

I was somewhat less thrilled about having to wait three long years for the pleasure of reading a second children's book by Hiaasen. And while FLUSH is a completely different story, everything that delighted me three years ago about reading HOOT is equally applicable to FLUSH.

"The deputy told me to empty my pockets: two quarters, a penny, a stick of bubble gum, and a roll of grip tape for my skateboard. It was pitiful.

" 'Go on inside. He's waiting for you,' the deputy said.

"My dad was sitting alone at a bare metal table. He looked pretty good, all things considered. He wasn't even handcuffed.

" 'Happy Father's Day,' I said.

"He stood up and gave me a hug. 'Thanks, Noah,' he said."

So begins FLUSH, the story of what happens after Paine Underwood pulls the plug on the Coral Queen and willingly gets arrested for doing so.

The Coral Queen is a three-tiered casino boat owned by Dusty Muleman. Dusty has been making a killing off of the boat's operations because he worked a deal with the local Native Americans to park the boat in a marina on their lands, give them a cut of the take and, thus, avoid having to take the customers a few miles offshore to gamble like all the other casino boat operators are required to do. What Noah's dad is so hot about is that he is sure that the raw sewage periodically washing up on Thunder Beach is the result of the Coral Queen's holding tanks being emptied illegally into the water.

A 60 Minutes piece about the author that was broadcast last month, "Florida: 'A Paradise of Scandals' "[...] introduces Hiaasen:

"In a little less than a century, the state of Florida has been transformed from a largely uninhabited swamp to the fourth-largest state in the union. And no one has written about that transformation more successfully than Carl Hiaasen.

"Part humorist, part muckraker, his satirical novels about greed, crime and corruption in the Sunshine State have become fixtures on the best-seller list and embraced by influential literary critics who compare him to Mark Twain and H.L. Mencken.

"He is also an award-winning children?s author and a former investigative reporter-turned-columnist for the Miami Herald.

"And he has made a career of documenting, analyzing and interpreting what may be the most bizarre state in the union -- and one, Hiaasen says, is 'a victim of its own geography.' "

In the 60 Minutes interview Hiaasen talked about how being out on the water in his skiff is like church for him. In that regard, reading FLUSH feels like you are peering in even closer at the heart of Carl Hiaasen.

When I discussed HOOT three years ago, I mentioned that it contained humor, a bit of sadness, and a touch of suspense. All three qualities are once again present in FLUSH. So are the wildly quirky characters, from the bully (Jasper Muleman Jr.), to the brute (Luno), to the buxom blonde (Shelly), the bum (Lice Peeking), the bumbling attorney (Mr. Shine), and the mysterious pirate.

Carl Hiaasen is a master at storytelling. That he has utilized his superb talents to once again write a satirical novel about greed, crime and corruption in the Sunshine State for children (and me) is cause for celebration.

Thanks, Carl!
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grandpa and Granddaughter Recommended! May 30 2007
By Michael Meredith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
There aren't many books that can appeal to both a grandfather and granddaughter, without leaving one or both of them feeling just a little shortchanged. Flush is that very, very rare exception!

Carl Hiassen has mixed in his usual elements into a froth that's appropriate for youths, but remains equally appealing to adults. There's a comic bad guy who values profit over quality of life (in this case the owner of a floating casino); a few witless thugs (both adult and kid-sized) and a man with anger management issues (a little reminiscent of the guy in Sick Puppy). But the heart of the story rests with the narrator, Noah and his little sister Abbey, two kids that share their dad's love for the Florida Keys.

Noah's dad has already tried to stop the Coral Queen casino boat from dumping raw sewage into water around the Keys, by sinking it. Unfortunately, the efforts of the local sheriff have restricted his ability to follow through once the boat is raised and reopened within a week. That leaves Noah and Abbey to find a way to shut down the boat, and clear their dad before their mom loses her patience and leaves him. But how do you prove that a specific boat is the source of foul bacteria and worse, especially when there's rat in the Coast Guard office that tips off the boat's operator whenever they are about to pop a surprise inspection?

It helps if you're resourceful and don't mind riding your bike everywhere. It also helps if you befriend a semi-rough blonde with a barb wire tattoo, and can stay clear of the boat owner's bully of a son.

I bought this book for my 10 year old granddaughter and she loved it! Then I read it and loved it. Within a month or so I suspect that everyone in the family will have finished it, with similar results.
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flush July 3 2006
By T. Hancock - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I enjoyed flush just as much as I enjoyed Hoot. My only word of caution is that the book has many more adult overtunes, and there is one entire chapter that gets the book kicked out of my outloud reading program at school. I think that even kids as young as 13 may lack the maturity for some of the situations in the book.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Erica's Review Jan. 18 2006
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This was an excellent book , with a great story line, that doesn't keep you guessing but definately keeps you at the edge of your seat.

Flush is about a boy named Noah , and the things he has to put up with , because of his father Paine ( who can be a real Pain ) who sunk the Coral Queen a casino boat who has been dumping human waste into the ocean. This is not only disgusting, but really unhealthy for ocean life and people. But no one believed Noah's father when he told them the reason he sunk the Coral Queen. He was actually put in jail. So Now Noah has taken it into his own hands to prove his father right. It's amazing what he gets himself into, and how far he is willing to go.

This is a great realistic Fiction book for middle school boys, because the book is told from a boy's point of view and has that boyish humor to it.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just for the Young Reader - Five Stars! June 13 2006
By John R. Linnell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This time I didn't make the mistake of not realizing that Flush was a "young readers" book when I ordered it as I did with Hoot, his first such novel. I didn't care, because based on my prior experience, I expected an entertaining and pure Hiaasen adventure and I was not disappointed.

Hiaasen has a way of writing his pro-ecology novels whether for us seasoned citizens or for younger readers which demands constant refueling on the part of the reader. His villians are alway very villanous and his good guys are often flawed, but always but always endearing.

In this book the good guys are a family named Underwood, Mom and Dad (Donna and Price) and the kids (Noah and Abbey). Price has taken offense that a bad guy named Muleman who owns a casino boat tied up in their harbor sees fit to simply empty the boat's holding tanks into the harbor rather than into a pump out system. To deal with the issue he has gone aboard the boat and pulled the seacocks sending the Casino Queen to the bottom. Following his arrest Price refuses to let his wife bail him out and decides to use his incarceration as a bully pulpit to talk to the press about Muleman's activities. He references Nelson Mandela as his role model.

Muleman has insulated himself from investigation and prosecution in numerous ways and the remainder of the book involves getting Dad out of jail and keeping him out, exposing the truth about Muleman and generally seeing that justice is done.

As usual it is done in a very entertaing and creative way. There are other characters who populate the book you will enjoy as well. So, no matter that Hiassen wrote this for young readers. You are only as old as you feel and after reading this you will feel yound indeed.
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