cover image HOOT


Carl Hiaasen, , read by Chad Lowe. . Listening Library, $26 (, unabridged, four cassettes, 6.5 hours, $26 ISBN p) ISBN 978-0-8072-0922-6

Lowe's audiobook repertoire (most recently Big Mouth & Ugly Girl) grows with this unhurried, optimistic reading of bestselling author Hiaasen's debut work for young readers. Since his parents move around a lot, Roy Eberhardt is used to being the new kid at school. But when he and his family settle in Florida, being hassled by the school bully lands Roy in the middle of an ecological mystery. While taking a pummeling on the bus, Roy becomes fascinated with a boy he sees running in the street. The boy turns out to be a homeless, neglected kid who uses unorthodox tactics to save a local owl habitat from being developed as a pancake house. Roy inadvertently gets caught up in the boy's sometimes-humorous conservation efforts, with eventually positive results. With his youthful voice, Lowe again serves up a realistic portrayal of these young protagonists. The combination of a solid vocal performance and Hiaasen's stable of quirky characters will likely keep young listeners hooked, and established Hiaasen fans amused. Simultaneous release with the Knopf hardcover. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)