Scat Paperback – Apr 27 2010
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Starred Review, School Library Journal, January 2009:
“This well-written and smoothly plotted story, with fully realized characters, will certainly appeal to mystery lovers.”
Review, The New York Times Book Review, February 15, 2009:
"Not many authors are equally successful at writing books for adults and children, but Carl Hiaasen seems to have made an effortless transition ... The ingenious plotting makes SCAT more engrossing than either of its predecessors."
About the Author
CARL HIAASEN was born and raised in Florida. He writes a column for the Miami Herald and is the author of many bestselling novels including Bad Monkey, Star Island, and Nautre Girl.
His books for younger readers include the Newbery Honor winner Hoot, as well as Flush, Scat, and Chomp. Skink—No Surrender was Hiaasen's first book for teens and features one of his most iconic characters, the reclusive ex-governor of Florida now known as Skink.
You can read more about Hiaasen's work at carlhiaasen.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
The day after their field trip to the Black Vine Swamp, something mysterious happens. Mrs. Starch doesn't come back, and she is never absent, and people start to wonder. While there might be a scrawled note and a message on her answering machine that states that she has had to deal with a family emergency, people, especially Nick and Marta, aren't buying it.
They are all convinced that Smoke, the kid in Mrs. Starch's class that she dislikes the most, has something to do with her disappearance.
In a whirlwind adventure filled with arson, endangered animals, the Iraq war, the Florida wet lands, a money hungry wannabe oil rigger, and panther poop, Nick and Marta set out to find their missing biology teacher.
Carl Hiaasen definitely has a knack for adventure. Every story he creates always has some crazy plot that makes you think as well as laugh! In this case, Hiaasen poses the problem of destroying the environment for monetary gain and how it affects the ecosystem in a hilarious manner. He also throws in some other great themes to think about: not judging people by their history/the way they look, believing in yourself and never giving up, learning to live with what you've got, and working as a team.
These themes are so important for younger readers (and sometimes older!) to learn, and Hiaasen did such a great job of incorporating them into the book without blatantly stating them. While this book has more of a middle-grade audience, it is great for all ages of readers, although there is a tad bit of language. Overall, I think the book was masterfully written and was a worthwhile and entertaining read.
Reviewed by: Tasha
I admire Carl Hiaasen's messages, story-telling ability, and writing skill as expressed in Scat. While the story is slightly gentler than what an adult version might read like, Scat doesn't talk down to younger readers. Instead, Mr. Hiaasen assumes that all his readers are caring, concerned, idealistic, and dedicated to doing the right thing. We need more books like this one.
In weaving his tale, Mr. Hiaasen shares a point of view that what seems to separate us is less important than what should draw us together: Selfish, inappropriate desires drive us apart and everything else is good glue. The book is populated by selfish people (both present and not present, but referred to) and people who find that their concern for others (including all the animals) is greater than their concern for their immediate comfort.
If you aren't in favor of protecting endangered species when you start Scat, you may well become one after reading this story. In addition, you'll realize that you can play a role in helping: You just have to reach out to find and do something useful.
Teachers will love the way that Scat shows that teachers can be better and worse than their students and administrators. Students may learn not to judge teachers too quickly by their appearances and mannerisms in the classroom. I didn't learn that lesson until I was almost 16 when I had a teacher who was terrific to and for me, but whose quirks made her a source of humor for many of my classmates. I honor to this day what Mrs. Verna L. Reynolds did for me. In some ways, she could have served as a prototype for Mrs. Starch (don't you love that name?) in the book. I wish I could share this book with her, but she's passed on to a better place.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The main character in Scat is Nick, a mid-teens Florida kid concerned about his father, a reservist in Iraq. These concerns are justified but are also competing with a more local concern: the disappearance of the dreaded Mrs. Starch, Nick's drill sergeant of a biology teacher. Mrs. Starch has vanished after a field trip to the local swamp that had been concerned by a fire that turns out to be caused by arson.
The prime suspect for the arson is Duane Scrod, Nick's classmate and a known troublemaker who has also vanished after a nasty argument with Starch. Duane has had previous arrests for arson and has a nickname of Smoke, so things don't look good for him. Of course, there's more to Smoke than meets the eye, and there is another suspicious party: a shady oil exploration company that has a scam that involves digging in a nature preserve.
Similar to Hoot, Scat also deals with a threatened animal, in this case, the Florida panther. And like almost all Hiaasen books, a major theme involves overdevelopment and the destruction of Florida's natural beauty. And like all Hiaasen books, this is a fun read, with a lot of humor and some more serious moments as well. Though tamer than Hiaasen's adult work (i.e., no real sex or violence), this will appeal to most people, regardless of age.
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