How does Hiaasen follow up his page-turning novel about saving owls in Florida (Hoot )? With a second fast-paced story featuring an environmental theme--this time about ocean pollutants harming turtles' habitats (and the surroundings in general) in the Florida Keys. Welch (TV's Joan of Arcadia ) has a compelling, snappy delivery suited to 11-year-old Noah's personality; he's a clever kid who wants to set things right, even when it pits him against shady characters and the local bully. Noah is exasperated over his father's arrest for sinking a casino boat that the man believes is flushing sewage into the ocean. The boy also knows that proving his dad's suspicions could go a long way toward healing his strained family and saving the ocean. Welch handily captures Noah's moods, though not even he can make eccentrics such as Lice Peeking and his burly bartending girlfriend Shelly likable at the outset (they grow on listeners, however). Those who couldn't get enough of Hiaasen's last outing will find plenty to hoot about in this solid recording. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)[Page 72]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Gr 5 Up -In Flush (Knopf, 2005), Carl Hiaasen's ecological concerns focus on illegal dumping of raw sewage from a floating casino. Noah Underwood's dad has sunk the gambling ship, the Coal Queen , in protest. Now the elder Underwood is launching a media campaign from his jail cell to raise public awareness since the sewage-spewing ship will soon be back in operation. Though Noah and his younger sister Abbey believe in their father's cause, they also fear their mother will file for divorce if he continues to react so outrageously to environmental issues. After a few false starts and run-ins with the casino owner's son and the ship's hired goon, the siblings come up with a plan to use food coloring to expose the hazardous dumping. Working with Shelly, the casino's bartender, and aided by a mysterious white-haired man, Noah and Abbey set their trap, but end up adrift off the Florida Keys. Rescue and an unexpected family reunion make their successful exposure of the corrupt casino owner even sweeter. It takes a few more plot twists before the Coral Queen is closed forever, and by then Noah's parents have learned better ways to manage their marital problems. Michael Welch's narration neatly balances the protagonist's earnest youthfulness with the story's humor. In the manner of Hoot (Knopf, 2002), Hiaasen's award-winning first foray into young adult novels, Flush deals with serious ecological and personal issues. With good insight into real world relationships plus a mix of solid citizens and offbeat good guys, this audiobook has broad appeal and will be valued in middle school, high school, and public libraries.-Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT[Page 81]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.