October 24, 2010

Mudshark - by Gary Paulsen

This is a short, interesting book about a very smart 12-year-old in a very weird middle school.  The middle school is overrun by animals, the boys are crazy about Death Ball (a mix between soccer, football, rugby, and mudfighting), and the teacher's bathroom is becoming a radioactive danger zone.  There is a girl who is becoming a mad scientist with her explosive and stinky inventions, a nutty animal-loving librarian, a secretive art-loving janitor, a girl who carries a skull everywhere, a cafeteria cook whose recipes send half the students to the nurse with stomach aches every day, then there's Mudshark.

Mudshark is the most normal kid in his school, and he's nowhere near normal.  All the kids (and teachers) come to him whenever they lose something, and he's always able to tell them exactly where it is.  He is the coolest dude in the school until one day the librarian brings a new parrot to school.  Suddenly Mudshark has competition!  Can he solve the mysteries that are making his school weirder and more dangerous, and at the same time save his popularity from that pesky parrot?

It's a short book, and the story is interesting, though the characters and plot aren't developed very deeply.  It's good to read for the funny descriptions and the mystery factor, but it seems like Gary Paulsen just had some weird story ideas pop into his head and wrote them down.  It's a smarter story than many books of this length, which I like, but I'm not crazy about the direction his writing is going.  Read it for yourself, and see what you think, then let me know.

1 comment:

Kyle said...

Mr. K-
I enjoy your site. It is amazing how many teachers don't know what is on their shelves.

I enjoyed Gary Paulsen's new book Master of Disaster.


Kyle (another) Mr K (kimmal)