What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
What's the story?
Roy is the new kid in school, and is already being picked on by the school bully, Dana. But one day, while having his face mashed against the bus window, he sees a mysterious barefoot boy running away from the bus and school. Roy tracks him down and discovers, among other things that the boy, who calls himself Mullet Fingers, is committing acts of vandalism against a construction site where they plan to build a pancake restaurant on land where rare and endangered burrowing owls are nesting.
Meanwhile, in dealing with Dana, Roy finds that getting the better of him only seems to make him more dangerous. Fortunately, he finds an ally in Beatrice, Mullet Finger's stepsister, who's even tougher than Dana. And Mullet's pranks, rather than discouraging the foreman of the construction crew, seem to make him more dangerous.
Is it any good?
Carl Hiaasen's first novel for children has many likable characters, and Roy's parents stand out as caring, concerned, intelligent, and ultimately supportive. HOOT features lots of stupid and venal adults, cute animals, a kid hero on his own, a tough girl with heart of gold, a mean bully, fart jokes, and an evil corporation. Stupid adults are won over by cute animals and plucky kid heroes.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the issues raised here concerning the conflict between environmental and economic concerns. How should we balance our human needs with those of the natural world?
What do you think about the ways in which the characters behave to protect the owls?
You might want to watch the movie version of Hoot and compare and contrast the two.
Which version do you like better? What would you have done differently?