Saturday, April 7, 2012

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen

Wahoo Cray (named after the wrestler, by the way, not the fish) is worried about his father. Mickey Cray is one of the best wild animal wranglers in the world, but ever since he was hit on the head by a frozen iguana falling out of the tree he just hasn't been the same. This means that the Cray family is running out of money. That's when the crew from Expedition Survival! arrives, hoping to use Mickey Cray's animals and services for their popular cable adventure show. Mickey isn't convinced that it's a great idea, but Wahoo knows that this is just what they need to pay off their debts and start fresh...that is, if they can all get out alive.

Wahoo is a good, solid character who is a great combination of man and boy; sometimes he needs to be both. He's worried about his father's health, sanity, and reputation, but he also wants his mom to be able to come home and not have to work at a job that means she has to work in China. Coming out of the recent recession there have been a number of books that include a piece like this in their narrative. I think that this truly does reflect many children's reality in that they do have an awareness and concerns about their families' financial situations. What might not reflect their reality is living in a location that is also home to alligators, snakes, turtles, and many different kinds of animals.  It's evident that Carl Hiaasen, a longtime Florida resident, has a deep understanding of both the area and the wildlife. That authenticity comes through in the story. There's lots in here that will appeal to readers, including the animals but also a comedic adventure story that gets stranger and more dangerous as the book goes on. Also, the visual appearance of Chomp and Carl Hiaasen's other children's books really speaks to me; this will be an attractive, attention-grabbing book to have on shelves.

Find out more information about Carl Hiaasen at his website. 

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
Fat Vampire by Adam Rex
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Chomp! by Heather Brown
Can You Tell an Alligator from a Crocodile? by Buffy Silverman

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