Carl Hiaasen

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Minimum grade level: 


2005 Young Reader's Choice Award Junior Division Nominee; 2003 Newbery Honor book

Roy Eberhardt has just moved to Florida. although his parents assure him he'll love it, just like he loved his old home in Montana, Roy doesn't. "Disney World is an armpit," Roy had stated flatly, "compared to Montana." But things in Florida get a little more exciting the day Roy sees the running boy.

Read page 1.

Where is the boy running? He doesn't get on the school bus, and Roy can't find him anywhere at the middle school. It's the first interesting thing that's happened since he moved to Florida, and he wants to find out more. But as soon as he starts asking questions about the running boy, he's confronted by one of the biggest bullies in the school, Beatrice Leep, otherwise known as Beatrice the Bear. She makes it very clear that the running boy is none of Roy's business.

Meanwhile, there's another mystery brewing in Roy's town. Who left the live alligators in the porta potties at the construction site of a new restaurant? And why?

Discussion questions

  1. Roy is unhappy about moving to Florida and starting at a new school. Have you ever moved or changed schools before? How did you feel?
  2. Do you know any bullies like Dana Matherson? What is the best way to deal with a bully? What makes someone become a bully?
  3. How is Roy's family different than Beatrice/Mullet Finger's family?
  4. Mullet Fingers sets out to sabotage the Mother Paula's building project because he wants to save the owls. Are there any situations you feel strongly about that would make you act like Mullet Fingers?
  5. After Roy gives his own name when taking Mullet Fingers to the hospital, his mother tells him, "Honey, sometimes you're going to be faced with situations where the line isn't clear between what's right and what's wrong. Your heart will tell you to do one thing, and your brain will tell you to do something different. In the end, all that's left is to look at both sides and go with your best judgment." Do you think Roy did the right thing by giving his name at the hospital? Have you ever been in a situation like Roy's mother describes? What did you do?
  6. This book is set in Florida. Did you feel like you got a good feel for what Florida is like by reading Hoot?
  7. Why did Mother Paula's Pancakes "lose" the Environmental Impact Statement? What do you think they could have done instead?
  8. There is a lot of humor in this book. Find one of the parts you thought was funny and share it with the group.
  9. Who are you most like in the book and why?

If you liked this book, try

  • Lostman's River by Cynthia DeFelice
  • Tree Girl by T.A. Barron
  • Riding the Flume by Patricia Curtis Pfitsch
  • Stefan's Story by Valerie Hobbs
  • Holes by Louis Sachar


Pancakes like Mother Paula's

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.