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Chomp
Cover of Chomp
Chomp
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The hysterical #1 New York Times bestseller from Newbery honoree Carl Hiaasen featuring gators, snakes, bats that bite, and reality show hosts gone wild!

When Wahoo Cray's dad—a professional animal wrangler—takes a job with a reality TV show called Expedition Survival!, Wahoo figures he'll have to do a bit of wrangling himself to keep his father from killing Derek Badger, the show's inept and egotistical star. But the job keeps getting more complicated: Derek Badger insists on using wild animals for his stunts; and Wahoo's acquired a shadow named Tuna—a girl who's sporting a shiner courtesy of her father and needs a place to hide out.
They've only been on location in the Everglades for a day before Derek gets bitten by a bat and goes missing in a storm. Search parties head out and promptly get lost themselves. And then Tuna's dad shows up with a gun . . .
It's anyone's guess who will actually survive Expedition Survival. . .

"Only in Florida—and in the fiction of its native son Carl Hiaasen—does a dead iguana fall from a palm tree and kill somebody." —New York Post

"Chomp is a delightful laugh-out-loud sendup of the surreality of TV that will be enjoyed by readers of all ages." —Los Angeles Times

"Chomp shines in its humorous, subtle tweaks on pop culture. . . . The real satisfaction, however, is not so much in the book's humor but in its truth." —Time Out Chicago Kids
From the Hardcover edition.
The hysterical #1 New York Times bestseller from Newbery honoree Carl Hiaasen featuring gators, snakes, bats that bite, and reality show hosts gone wild!

When Wahoo Cray's dad—a professional animal wrangler—takes a job with a reality TV show called Expedition Survival!, Wahoo figures he'll have to do a bit of wrangling himself to keep his father from killing Derek Badger, the show's inept and egotistical star. But the job keeps getting more complicated: Derek Badger insists on using wild animals for his stunts; and Wahoo's acquired a shadow named Tuna—a girl who's sporting a shiner courtesy of her father and needs a place to hide out.
They've only been on location in the Everglades for a day before Derek gets bitten by a bat and goes missing in a storm. Search parties head out and promptly get lost themselves. And then Tuna's dad shows up with a gun . . .
It's anyone's guess who will actually survive Expedition Survival. . .

"Only in Florida—and in the fiction of its native son Carl Hiaasen—does a dead iguana fall from a palm tree and kill somebody." —New York Post

"Chomp is a delightful laugh-out-loud sendup of the surreality of TV that will be enjoyed by readers of all ages." —Los Angeles Times

"Chomp shines in its humorous, subtle tweaks on pop culture. . . . The real satisfaction, however, is not so much in the book's humor but in its truth." —Time Out Chicago Kids
From the Hardcover edition.
Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
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Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.2
  • Lexile:
    800
  • Interest Level:
    MG
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 4

Recommended for you

 
Awards-
Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    Mickey Cray had been out of work ever since a dead iguana fell from a palm tree and hit him on the head.

    The iguana, which had died during a hard freeze, was stiff as a board and weighed seven and a half pounds. Mickey's son had measured the lifeless lizard on a fishing scale, then packed it on ice with the turtle veggies, in the cooler behind the garage.

    This was after the ambulance had hauled Mickey off to the hospital, where the doctors said he had a serious concussion and ordered him to take it easy.

    And to everyone's surprise, Mickey did take it easy. That's because the injury left him with double vision and terrible headaches. He lost his appetite and dropped nineteen pounds and lay around on the couch all day, watching nature programs on television.

    "I'll never be the same," he told his son.

    "Knock it off, Pop," said Wahoo, Mickey's boy.

    Mickey had named him after Wahoo McDaniel, a professional wrestler who'd once played linebacker for the Dolphins. Mickey's son often wished he'd been called Mickey Jr. or Joe or even Rupert--anything but Wahoo, which was also a species of saltwater fish.

    It was a name that was hard to live up to. People naturally expected somebody called Wahoo to act loud and crazy, but that wasn't Wahoo's style. Apparently nothing could be done about the name until he was all grown up, at which point he intended to go to the Cutler Ridge courthouse and tell a judge he wanted to be called something normal.

    "Pop, you're gonna be okay," Wahoo would tell his father every morning. "Just hang in there."

    Looking up with hound-dog eyes from the couch, Mickey Cray would say, "Whatever happens, I'm glad we ate that bleeping lizard."

    On the day his dad had come home from the hospital, Wahoo had defrosted the dead iguana and made a peppercorn stew, which his mom had wisely refused to touch. Mickey had insisted that eating the critter that had dented his skull would be a spiritual remedy. "Big medicine," he'd predicted.

    But the iguana had tasted awful, and Mickey Cray's headaches only got worse. Wahoo's mother was so concerned that she wanted Mickey to see a brain specialist in Miami, but Mickey refused to go.

    Meanwhile, people kept calling up with new jobs, and Wahoo was forced to send them to other wranglers. His father was in no condition to work.

    After school, Wahoo would feed the animals and clean out the pens and cages. The backyard was literally a zoo--gators, snakes, parrots, mynah birds, rats, mice, monkeys, raccoons, tortoises and even a bald eagle, which Mickey had raised from a fledgling after its mother was killed.

    "Treat 'em like royalty," Mickey would instruct Wahoo, because the animals were quite valuable. Without them, Mickey would be unemployed.

    It disturbed Wahoo to see his father so ill because Mickey was the toughest guy he'd ever known.

    One morning, with summer approaching, Wahoo's mother took him aside and told him that the family's savings account was almost drained. "I'm going to China," she said.

    Wahoo nodded, like it was no big deal.

    "For two months," she said.

    "That's a long time," said Wahoo.

    "Sorry, big guy, but we really need the money."

    Wahoo's mother taught Mandarin Chinese, an extremely difficult language. Big American companies that had offices in China would hire Mrs. Cray to tutor their top executives, but usually these companies flew their employees to South Florida for Mrs. Cray's lessons.

    "This time they want me to go to Shanghai," she explained to her son. "They have, like, fifty people over there who learned Mandarin from some cheap audiotape. The other day, one of the...

About the Author-
  • CARL HIAASEN has been writing about Florida since his father gave him a typewriter at age six. Then it was hunt-and-peck stories about neighborhood kickball and softball games. Now Hiaasen writes a column for the Miami Herald and is the author of many bestselling novels, including Nature Girl and Star Island.

    Hoot, Hiaasen's first novel for young readers, was the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Newbery Honor. And Flush, his second book for kids, spent more than a year on the New York Times bestseller list.



Reviews-
  • DOGO Books arna12345 -...
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 9, 2012
    Hiaasen extends his brand of Florida eco-adventures with this loopy foray into reality TV. Derek Badger, star of Expedition Survival!, arrives to film an Everglades episode, enlisting the services of animal wrangler Mickey Cray, a sort of Dr. Doolittle who specializes in snakes and keeps a 12-foot-long gator named Alice as a pet. Mickey holds his nose but takes the job, assisted by his son, Wahoo, a goodhearted teenager who’s able to handle his father as well as his father handles pythons. Badger, naturally, is a complete fraud, who choppers off to a hotel each evening while mosquitoes dine on his crew. After filming starts, Badger gets lost in the swamp with only his (dim) wits to help him survive. There are no cute owls or endangered panthers to save—tension derives from wondering whether Badger will get himself killed before Mickey does it for him, and a subplot about Wahoo’s friend Tuna, who’s on the run from her abusive father. Not as tightly constructed as Hoot and tamer than Flush, but still pretty hilarious. Ages 10–up. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from December 1, 2011
    Lots of kids think they live in a zoo; Wahoo Cray actually does. Wahoo's dad, Mickey, was the best wild-animal wrangler in south Florida until an iguana, frozen solid in a flash freeze, fell from a tree and conked him on the head. Now, Mickey has migraines and double vision, and the family's in such dire financial straits that Wahoo's mother has taken a temporary job teaching Mandarin to American businessmen in China. When offered good money for the use of Mickey's tame animals, there's no saying no to the production company of Expedition Survival!, a "reality" show starring Derek Badger (actually a former stepdancer named Lee Bluepenny with a fake Steve Irwin Australian accent). The Crays, however, draw the line at harming any animal; and Derek doesn't think the scenes are "real" enough. The production company hires Mickey and Wahoo as guides on an Everglades location shoot, which is complicated in true Hiaasen fashion by an abused, runaway girl from Wahoo's class, a toothy encounter with a jazzed-out snake, a disastrously unsuccessful live-bat brunch…and a vanishing star. Hiaasen's best for a young audience since Newbery Honor Hoot (2002) features a shy, deep-feeling protagonist who's also a pragmatist and plenty of nature info and age-appropriate cultural commentary. Humorous adventure tales just don't get any more wacked…or fun to read than this. (Fiction. 10-15)

    (COPYRIGHT (2011) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from March 1, 2012

    Gr 6-9-Things are looking bleak for Wahoo and his animal wrangler father; the mortgage is months overdue, and Wahoo's mother has left for the summer to work in China. They think it is the answer to their financial frustrations when the hit reality TV show Expedition Survival! wants to hire Mickey and Wahoo to help their star, more prima donna than rugged survivalist, film their Everglade episode. On the first day, Derek Badger ignores Mickey's sage animal-handling advice, attacking a python and trying to ride a croc. The result is an infuriated handler and some excellent footage. The show, however, loves the realistic feel and decides to head to the wilds for some unscripted shoots. Wahoo runs into a physically abused schoolmate and is inspired to take her with them to save her from her father. Tuna's father pursues her, and suddenly keeping Derek safe isn't Mickey's only potentially deadly task. Chomp reads at a good pace and has some unique, lovable characters. The author manages to sustain a comedic mood with the inept survivalist and the budding romance between two fish-named youngsters while simultaneously developing an underlying sense of tension. Mystery, action, humor, and exotic animals and settings, all tied together by a writer with an exceptional grasp of language, makes this a sure hit with any mystery-loving readers.-Devin Burritt, Wells Public Library, ME

    Copyright 2012 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2011 “Hiaasen’s best for a young audience since Newbery Honor Hoot (2002) features a shy, deep-feeling protagonist who’s also a pragmatist and plenty of nature info and age-appropriate cultural commentary…. Humorous adventure tales just don’t get any more wacked…or fun to read than this.”

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    Random House Children's Books
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