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Middle Schooler Book Reviewer: CHOMP by Carl Hiaasen

I just completed my Independent Reading Package with Quizzes edition for the Carl Hiaasen novel CHOMP. Chomp is a delightful romp around the everglades. Yes, again Hiaasen gives his readers a taste of southern Florida. Chomp’s characters are awash with personality deficits, fishy names, and heroic deeds. Our hero, a middle-school boy named Wahoo (named after the wrestler, not the fish) teams up with a girl from school named Tuna to save his father from her father. Set in the dangerous Florida Everglades during the filming of the reality TV show Expedition Survival! Wahoo and Tuna separate fact from fiction.

Moral lessons usually abound in Hiaasen’s YA books, and Chomp is no exception. Here we learn about the delicate balance of the wild animals in the everglades and how intrusive species are invading the environment. Wahoo’s dad, Mickey Cray , runs a wildlife zoo and is a professional animal wrangler with a pet 14-foot alligator named Alice. When Expedition Survival! Comes to town the super phony survivalist actor, Derek Badger, has a near death experience with Alice, he decides to go into the wild and go wild. As we watch Derek Badger disintegrate into the nonsense of reality TV we witness Wahoo and Tuna take on her abusive drunkard father. As always with Hiaasen’s YA books good triumphs over evil, celebrity is not idolized, the bad guy goes to jail, and the other characters just keep on keepin’ on. Young Wahoo and Young Tuna are still kids, but kids with a deeper insight into how their world turns. We know they will be okay.

I hope you share this jolly jaunt through the swamp, the storms, the critters, and the characters of Hiaasen’s Chomp with kids soon. The entertainment level is high, the action is packed, and the read is good ol' fashoined fun.

My Independent Reading Package contains four quizzes to be given weekly, a reading log, reading calendar, answer key with conversion chart, and suggested activities for end of novel projects.

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