Sunday, January 22, 2006
Hiaasen, Carl. 2005. FLUSH. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0375821821 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-8]
In this fast moving, environmental adventure story, Noah Underwood sets out to prove his father’s innocence of a crime. Noah’s father, Paine, attempted to sink a floating casino because the owner, Dusty Muleman, was dumping human waste into the waters of the Florida Keys. He is jailed, and Noah decides to gather evidence that will clear his dad and close the casino for good. Along the way, Noah enlists the help of Lice Peeking, an ex-employee of Dusty’s, Lice’s colorful bartender girlfriend Shelley, and an old “Pirate” who just happens to appear out of nowhere at a very crucial time in the story. Eventually Noah outsmarts the casino owner and gains the information he needs to nail the offender
This is the second environmentally focused story from author Carl Hiaasen. His characters are well-developed and although Noah is twelve, he is exceptionally responsible and smart. However, he does make mistakes and that helps to make the story believable. Noah also has to endure the bullying of the casino owner’s son, Jasper, but Hiaasen is careful to not make Noah a total victim. The reader is left satisfied when Noah’s overall plan to help his father also includes Jasper getting his just reward. Noah’s parents are also portrayed in a believable fashion in that the stress of the father’s continued impulsive actions has the mother contemplating divorce. A truly delightful cast of characters, an interesting and believable plot line, and some very funny situations will make FLUSH a true hit with readers!
The Florida Keys is the geographical area of interest in this novel. Readers can map the area and locate all the nature preserves that are there. Research the sites and investigate efforts to keep preserves environmentally safe. Compare the efforts in maintaining the Florida Keys preserves with other nature preserves in different states.
These books also deal with environmental issues:
Delaney, Mark. THE KINGFISHER’S TALE. ISBN 1561452262
George, Jean Craighead. THE MISSING GATOR OF GUMBO LIMBO. ISBN 006440434X
Hiaasen, Carl. HOOT. ISBN 0375821813
By Pamela Kemp