Monday, September 17, 2018

SQUIRM by Carl Hiaasen (yes, it's about snakes, but very funny)



Squirm by Carl Hiaasen (on sale Sept 25, 2018, Alfred A.Knopf Books for Young Readers,  278 pages, for ages 8 to 12)



Synopsis (from the publisher)

Some facts about Billy Dickens:
* He once saw a biker swerve across the road in order to run over a snake.
* Later, that motorcycle somehow ended up at the bottom of a canal.
* Billy isn’t the type to let things go.

Some facts about Billy’s family:
* They’ve lived in six different Florida towns because Billy’s mom insists on getting a house near a bald eagle nest.
* Billy’s dad left when he was four and is a total mystery.
* Billy has just found his dad’s address–in Montana.

This summer, Billy will fly across the country, hike a mountain, float a river, dodge a grizzly bear, shoot down a spy drone, save a neighbor’s cat, save an endangered panther, and then try to save his own father.

Why I recommend it:  Like all of Carl Hiaasen's middle grade novels, this is hugely entertaining and hilarious. Billy displays just the right amount of middle-school sarcasm, without being annoying. There are non-stop shenanigans, each wilder than the last. This is exactly the kind of book MG readers LOVE.  And in his slightly snarky way, Billy makes you care about his missing Dad, and about endangered species and other wildlife. You'll learn a lot about Florida wildlife, especially birds and snakes, and--bonus!-- you'll learn just as much about Montana wildlife, like grizzly bears and caracaras. You'll also learn about the modern-day Crow native Americans and enough about quad-copters, or drones, to wish you owned one. They're very cool.

Personally, I hate snakes, but Billy has a healthy respect for them and knows how to handle them properly, leading to his reputation at school as "Snake Boy."


Favorite lines:  (from pg. 9) 

I google a picture of a wild-hog hunter who got bitten by a diamondback over near Yeehaw Junction. That's a real place, you can look it up. The hog hunter's arm is swollen thick as a pine stump. His fingers look like boiled purple sausages. I hold up the phone so that Kyle and his all-jock posse can see the photo. 

"That's what can happen," I say, "When you're not careful."

Kyle goes pale and edges back his chair. "Dude, you are a total psycho."


Visit Carl Hiaasen's website








18 comments:

  1. I love Carl Hiassen's books and this sounds like another winner. I'm not a big fan of snakes either but will give this one a go. Thanks for sharing and I have it on the top of my list to read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Greg. Seems like most of us are not big fans of snakes. But this won't give you nightmares and you'll probably laugh!

      Delete
  2. I read one of Carl's books and really enjoyed it. It's great that you can learn stuff from this one while it's funny too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Natalie. I think the best MG books are ones you can learn from while you're laughing.

      Delete
  3. This sounds great. It sounds like a sort of survival story, which I always like.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Unknown. Do I actually know you? It is a sort of survival story, although that's not the most important part of it.

      Delete
  4. That cover really gets your attention! I have never read Carl Hiaasen's MG novels. They sound hilarious read. There's so much to learn in this story about Billy and his adventures in Florida and Montana. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Pat. All of Carl Hiaasen's MG novels have one-word titles and striking covers like this. The marketing department must have realized it would get readers' attentions with the bright color and simple but effective drawing of that particular animal.

      Delete
  5. I don't know if I should admit this in a public post, but I've never read a Carl Hiassen MG novel . . . After your feature and review, I think I need to add him onto my TBR author list. Thanks for sharing this for MMGM.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No worries, June. You might want to start with HOOT, for which he won a Newbery honor. It started him on the road to environmentally-themed MG books.

      Delete
  6. Love that quote, and even though I'm not terribly comfortable with snakes, this sounds really fun! Thanks for sharing--I'll be looking it up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Suzanne. Seems most of us are not comfortable with snakes. But Hiaasen has pulled off a small miracle by making them almost likable.

      Delete
  7. I do hate snakes, but I love funny books. I will put this on my TBR list. Thanks for telling me about this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another snake hater! Yes, it's very funny, Rosi, so I think you'd enjoy it.

      Delete
  8. Hi Joanne, I haven't been blogging much but I see you've been pretty regular all summer: good for you! Hope your health is doing well.

    I love Carl Hiassen, and I think his covers are wonderful. This one sounds great, because I actually like snakes a lot! I'll be reading a ton of YA over the next few months for the Cybils, but this one is going on my MG TBR. 2019 will be the year I return to MG. I think!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so cool that you like snakes, Kim! You'll definitely enjoy this one. Ooo, being a Cybils judge is a lot of work. Good for you!

      Once a month has become my new regular schedule, since my illness over the past year. It seems to work for me.

      Delete
  9. This sounds like fun. I know his MG books are very popular and funny. I also like that they tie into nature in some way. I hadn't heard of this one, so thanks for sharing. :)
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jess. He's one of the best MG writers about the environment.

      Delete

YAY for comments! I read and appreciate each one and I always try to answer. All opinions welcome. Let's have a conversation.