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*Scat* by Carl Hiaasen- young readers fantasy book review
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by Carl Hiaasen
Ages 9-12 384 pages Knopf January 2009 Hardcover    

Mrs. Bunny Starch, the most feared teacher at the Truman School, has disappeared after a field trip to the Black Vine Swamp in the Florida Everglades. The trip was cut short when a brush fire broke out nearby; Mrs. Starch was last seen heading back into the swamp in search of a lost asthma inhaler.

Although the principal insists Mrs. Starch was called away unexpectedly due to a family emergency, Nick and Marta donít believe it. Theyíre suspicious of fellow classmate Duane Scrod, Jr., class delinquent and pyromaniac, who insists on being called Smoke. Itís no secret Duane threatened Mrs. Starch, and now Marta swears she saw him riding in the teacherís car.

The two set out to uncover the mystery and end up crossing paths with Twilly Spree, an eccentric eco-avenger who knows more than he is willing to tell. Add to the mix a rare Florida Panther, an unscrupulous oil magnate, and an illegal drilling operation for an environmental thriller with page-turning appeal.

Newberry Honor author Carl Hiaasen began his writing career as a reporter for the Miami Herald, which he credits for giving him most of the material featured in his many novels for both adults and children. Scat is his third novel for young people and like its predecessors, it too is a winner.

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