On My Bookshelf: Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

August 07, 2017

In Hoot by Carl Hiaasen, Roy is the new kid at school barely surviving the efforts of the school bus bully to crush him, until he spots a boy his age running barefoot one day. Roy is determined to find the boy and find out what he's running from. When he does find out, Roy becomes involved in a battle to preserve the habitat of burrowing owls. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: Everybody loves Mother Paula’s pancakes. Everybody, that is, except the colony of cute but endangered owls that live on the building site of the new restaurant. Can the awkward new kid and his feral friend prank the pancake people out of town? Or is the owls’ fate cemented in pancake batter?

Why I liked it: Hoot's main character is Roy Eberhardt, the new kid at Trace Middle School in Coconut Grove, Florida. The bully on his school bus seems to be his biggest problem until he gets involved in the antics of an unnamed boy he sees running barefoot (think Maniac Magee) and that boy's protective. bossy sister, Beatrice. The book is full of laugh out loud funny parts that readers of any age can appreciate.

In Hoot by Carl Hiaasen, Roy is the new kid at school barely surviving the efforts of the school bus bully to crush him, until he spots a boy his age running barefoot one day. Roy is determined to find the boy and find out what he's running from. When he does find out, Roy becomes involved in a battle to preserve the habitat of burrowing owls. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
Classroom application: This novel is a perfect middle grades book. So much of new young adult literature has themes and content that isn't really appropriate for middle school students, but Hoot isn't one of these books. I imagine that Carl Hiaasen's three other ecology mysteries: Scat, Chomp, and Flush aren't either.

I picked up the book because the sixth grade team at my school is considering adding it to their curriculum since our school is focused on the environment. We are looking into programs our local nature center offers, particularly one on owls, but any program focused on the protection of threatened species would be a perfect pairing with the book. It would be amazing if our students could do some service learning related to land conservation as well.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Hoot for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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