By Carl Hiassen
Completed August 26, 2011
My son will be reading Scat as part of his sixth grade Language Arts assignment, so I decided to try a new strategy: Read his assigned book first so I know what he’s reading! It was fun to read this book, making mental notes of plot twists or characters that I thought he would enjoy. And it didn’t hurt that Scat was a well-rounded story.
Nicky Walters and his friend Marta were students in Mrs. Starch’s biology class, when she vanished into the swamp during a field trip. Nicky and Marta were suspicious of their classmate, Smoke, who had a falling out with the teacher during class. Little did Nicky and Marta know that Mrs. Starch and Smoke were in “cohoots” – along with a colorful naturalist, Twilly – to help protect endangered panthers from being killed.
Scat had a little bit of everything: well-developed charactes, plot twists, secrets, bad guys, good guys and animals with their own characterizations (I especially loved Horace the bloodhound). Set in Florida, I enjoyed learning about panthers and other wildlife that live in my home state. I was a bit surprised, though, by the anti-Iraq war stance in the novel. While I don’t disagree with what Hiassen wrote, I am not sure it had its place in the story. I will be curious to see if my son picks up on it.
This is just a little quibble; overall, I was very pleased with Scat and think it’s the perfect book for my son and his classmates. I look forward to my son’s interpretation of this fun book. ( )