Book review: 'Chomp' is laugh-out-loud funny

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"Chomp" by Carl Hiaasen, age 10 and older. $17.

Author Carl Hiaasen, who writes a newspaper column for the Miami Herald and mysteries for adults, sure doesn't waste words. "Chomp" is his fourth book for kids; in each he has used a one-word title. ("Hoot," "Flush" and "Scat" are his earlier books.)

But while his titles may be simple and straightforward, his novels feature crazy characters, bizarre plot lines and some laugh-out-loud-funny scenes. They also carry important environmental lessons for kids.

"Chomp" tells the story of Wahoo Cray, who shares his backyard with gators, snakes, monkeys, raccoons and turtles because his dad captures wild animals. (What did we say about crazy characters?)

When Wahoo's dad gets a job on reality-TV show "Expedition: Survival!" (you can guess what that's like), things get downright dangerous as the show's star, Derek Badger, insists on doing all his own stunts with the wild animals. Badger's fake tan and Australian accent make him memorable, especially when he threatens to "fry up" any critters he finds crawling over him.

Once filming of the show starts, Derek has a run-in with a bat and disappears. And it's up to Wahoo, Tuna (a friend who's running from trouble) and Wahoo's dad to sort things out.

books - bookclub

First Published April 16, 2012 12:00 AM


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