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Chomp by Carl Hiaasen


by Carl Hiaasen

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When Wahoo Cray’s family runs low on dough, he and his dad land a gig working as animal wranglers for phony TV survivalist Derek Badger. And it does not work out as well as he had planned it to be
  LizzyW.Gl | Mar 30, 2016 |
2016 Challenge: Book I've Been Meaning to Read

★ ★ ★ ★

What an enchanting read.....

I ♥ most all of Hiaasen's work: he's honest, irreverent, funny, and takes a look at real environmental issues.

Wahoo & his father have a wildlife rescue center in their backyard.... His father has recently suffered a concussion from a frozen iguana that fell out of a tree, and now has headaches & sees double.....

They are approached by a reality t.v. show that wants to hire them & their alligator for an Everglades episode.

The star of the t.v. show is a total egotistical fake with ideas of grandeur. While filming w/ Alice the tame alligator, the star decides to hop on Alice's back and ends up going for a wild ride...

Soon all are on their way to an Everglades tour site, with the addition of Tuna, a run-away schoolmate of Wahoo's whose father has blackened her eye.

When her father shows up, even more madcap madness abounds.

Well written, fast paced , and entertaining... a good read for pre-teens. ( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jan 23, 2016 |
Very enjoyable romp through the everglades with a stupid fake survivalist TV star, a real animal wrangler and his son, Wahoo (our protagonist), and Wahoo's new friend, Tuna, and her mean-drunk father. Quirky, amusing, sweet, and serious all at the right times. I think I enjoyed this more than Carl Hiassen's adult books, although those are entertaining as well. ( )
  Connie-D | Jan 17, 2016 |
Wahoo and his father, a professional animal wrangler, take a job with a reality TV show in the Everglades and quickly come to regret it.

This was a pretty good audiobooks choice for a summer's worth of knife-throwing practice! Lots of muggy swampy nature and the characters are all great, and while the action plot did take awhile to get going, it was perfectly exciting once it did.

I was constantly distracted by the fact that the most-competent adult character in the book is a long-suffering yet ultracompetent PA by the name of Raven Stark and I kept having to remind myself she *wasn't* Tony and Pepper's kid out proving herself. ( )
  melannen | Jan 1, 2016 |
Wahoo's father Micky was conked on the head by a frozen iguana a few months ago and since then he's been plagued by double vision and head aches and the family has turned down animal wrangling job after animal wrangling job. Until Expedition Survival, a reality television show starring Derek Badger offers Micky and Wahoo more money than they can afford to turn down. Wahoo and Micky end up bringing Tuna along with them as well. Tuna is a classmate of Wahoo's whose father has been beating her up and needs a place to hide out. Unfortunately Derek Badger is not the man everyone see's on the show. He's essentially a spoiled brat that needs to be babysat morning, noon and night so when "the survivalist" gets lost in the Everglades it is a catastrophe of epic proportions. Add to this Tuna's drunk, abusive father running around the Everglades with a gun and almost constant rain and you have to wonder if everyone will survive the weekend.

I haven't read much by Carl Hiaasen before but I am beginning to think I should give it a try. This book was really funny. Derek Badger and Micky both have strong over the top personalities and it's interesting to see the contrast of the two. They both do crazy things but Micky seems to have a better handle on himself and what the outcomes of his actions will be. Poor Wahoo and Tuna are forced to be the adults in a lot of situations and they do a nice job of drawing your eye to how ridiculous many of the adults are.

It's not all humor though. Tuna's family situation is discussed at length and it's hard for Wahoo to hear. Watching him struggle with how to help his friend, getting his mother's advice and trying to save her from her father are all heart felt moments. Wahoo has a very hard time wrapping his mind around the idea until he really sees Mr. Gordon's level of crazy up close and personal.

The Everglades themselves and some of the critters are some of the most amazing characters in the book. The Everglades sound gorgeous and dangerous and it was easy to imagine the island they camped on, the bugs and the treacherous weather. ( )
  Rosa.Mill | Nov 21, 2015 |
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Mickey Cray had been out of work ever since a dead iguana fell out of a palm tree and hit him on the head. The iguane, which ad died during a hard freeze, was stiff as a board and weighed seven and a half pounds.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375868429, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month for Kids, April 2012: Carl Hiaasen taps into a pop culture phenomenon in Chomp by taking on the popularity of reality television shows with one of his own, “Expedition Survival!.” The Florida Everglades provide the perfect backdrop for a reality survival show and Mickey Cray, a wild animal wrangler, and his son Wahoo are hired to keep the pampered Expedition Survival! star from accidentally killing himself with the local wildlife. The Cray’s are joined by a girl on the run from her abusive father and adventure, laughter, and even a mysterious disappearance follow. The eccentric characters and wacky humor that make Hiaasen’s adult books so much fun to read carry over to the pages of Chomp and Wahoo’s voice of reason in the cacophony of unpredictable adults is an appealing dynamic for young readers. --Seira Wilson

Amazon Exclusive: Q&A with Author Carl Hiaasen

Q. What do you enjoy most about writing for kids versus writing for adults?

A. The best part about writing for kids is the piles of letters I get. Grown-ups might stop you in an airport and tell you they like the novels, but kids will sit down and write a three-page letter, complete with illustrations. They're sharp and perceptive, and they really love the irreverent point of view in the books.

Q. Chomp pokes fun at a survivalist reality TV show--what do you think about America’s obsession with “reality” TV?

A. Reality television taps into the same human impulse that makes you slow down on the highway to gawk at a six-car pile-up. Everybody does it and nobody wants to admit it. Beside Jon Stewart, the best comedy on television is Finding Bigfoot and some of these other reality shows. Infested! is another good one, particular the bedbug episode.  

Q. As a native Floridian, what is the most exotic animal you’ve encountered?

A. Poisonous snakes, gators, crocs, iguanas, black widow spiders, all that stuff. I tried to raise a couple of wild raccoons, which I would not recommend. I also used to breed rat snakes, which are beautiful animals. Even though Chomp takes place in the Everglades, I wouldn't call it a scary place--not nearly as scary as the lobby of the Orlando airport on a day when the Disney tours arrive.

Q. In Chomp, both Mickey and Wahoo are fearless when it comes to snakes and other wild beasts (and nutty people, for that matter)--do you have any animal phobias?

A. Yeah, I'm not crazy about chihuahuas. My Labrador and I will go two or three blocks out of our way to avoid one. For some reason they always want to chew my ankles off.

Q. You named the two kids in Chomp after fish--Wahoo and Tuna--how did that come about?

A. I just thought it would be cool to name a boy after Wahoo McDaniel, who played for the Dolphins when I was a kid. I'm not sure whether he was named after the fish, or after the wild noises he made when he was a pro wrestler. As for Tuna, it's just a fun name that looks good on the page. "Big Tuna" is what they used to call Bill Parcells, the former Giants coach. He looks nothing like a tuna, by the way.

Q. Did you know when you started writing that you would include a character who is being abused by a parent?

A. My novels don't have wizards and dragon-hunters, just ordinary kids in the ordinary world. And the reality, sadly, is that some kids go home every night wondering if their mother or father is going to hurt them. That's Tuna's world, and I didn't have any qualms about portraying it that way. In Scat I had a character whose dad comes back very badly injured from Iraq. Again, that's real life for thousands and thousands of families in this country.

Q. Can we assume you are going to keep writing for kids (we hope)?

A. Hoot was going to be my one and only novel for kids, but now I'm sort of hooked on writing them. Young readers are just the coolest audience, and I feel so lucky that my novels have been so well-received. I don't see myself quitting. It's too much fun.

Q. You clearly have the single word title thing going for your kids’ books, is that just something you started with and stuck to, or is there more to the story?

A. The novels for young readers have one-word titles because I want to distinguish them from the grown-up novels, which all have two-word titles like Skinny Dip and Strip Tease. It was a conscious decision. I have a son in middle school (and also grandchildren), and none of them are ready to read the Big Person novels yet. The one-word title lets the booksellers (and the parents) know that those are the kid-safe books.

Q. What has been your most memorable moment as an author?

A. I was at a book-signing in Boulder, Colorado, when a very nice woman told me she'd named her cancerous tumor after a character in one of my novels. It was quite astonishing. I was flattered (who wouldn't be?) but also a bit rattled. The happy ending was that her surgery had been successful and she was totally recovered.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:22 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

When the difficult star of the reality television show "Expedition Survival" disappears while filming an episode in the Florida Everglades using animals from the wildlife refuge run by Wahoo Crane's family, Wahoo and classmate Tuna Gordon set out to find him while avoiding Tuna's gun-happy father.… (more)

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