“Hoot” by Carl Hiaasen

Being beaten up by the school bully on the bus, Roy has his face squashed up against the window when he spots a barefoot boy running away through the neighbourhood, and is intrigued to find out where is he going and why he is running barefoot.

Roy’s family is used to moving around the country, and having come from the mountains to the everglades is a big change for Roy. Further investigations into the mystery runner leads Roy to the conflict between a young eco-warrier and a national chain of pancake houses, and their development of a site which is home to a colony of small burrowing owls.

Carl Hiaasen’s love of Florida shines through this novel, and it’s a great way for youngsters to be introduced to environmental conflicts and issues, with warmth, humour and intelligence. I really enjoyed it, even though I’m not strictly the correct demographic!


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