Flush Library Binding – Sep 13 2005
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8–Noah and his sister, Abbey, are more understanding of their volatile dad's latest arrest than their mother, who begins talking of divorce. Dad sank the Coral Queen, a casino boat on a Florida Key because, he alleges, its owner, Dusty Muleman, has been illegally dumping raw sewage into the local waters. Soon enough the kids begin trying to gather proof that will vindicate their father and put the casino out of business. The colorful cast includes a drunken lout named Lice who disappears before he can be persuaded to testify against Dusty, his former boss. His rough-around-the-edges girlfriend, Shelly, comes through, though, helping the siblings dump dye in the boat's holding tanks, which finally brings the matter to court. Dusty's son, Jasper, is a chip off the old block, threatening and beating Noah on several occasions until he and, later, Abbey are rescued by a mysterious stranger who turns out to be their grandfather, long ago thought to have died in South America, probably while involved in drug smuggling. As the tale ends, he's back to Colombia to settle old scores. The plot would practically disappear if any one of the major characters had a cell phone, but the environmental story is front and center and readers will be hooked as the good guys try to do the right thing. This quick-reading, fun, family adventure harkens back to the Hardy Boys in its simplicity and quirky characters.–Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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 the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"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.
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.
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.
The book is well written, the vocabulary rich, the story complex and exciting and Hiaasen keeps it real. The parents (Thank you!!) are not some dumb, clueless dopes who can't get a handle on their children. The children do not have the run of their house. There are consequences for your actions for both the adults and the children in the story. Carl Hiaasen keeps the relationships between parents and children so real in this book. I just can't say enough about how really good this story is.
For those of you who have enjoyed Hiaasen's adult novels through the years, take heart. Though he remains true to the high adventure that has been his trademark he has lost the language that has sometimes marred his storytelling. This cleaned up, PG rated novel is the best book I've read in a very long time. I hope that many of you will enjoy it with your child like I have mine.
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