Flush (paperback)

by Carl Hiaasen

AR Level 5.0, 9 points

Did you ever read Hoot?  It was a Newbery Award winner awhile back.  It is about a boy who was upset over burrowing owl homes being destroyed to build something.  I read that book, because it was about owls, and I love owls.  After reading Flush and then looking up Hiaasen’s other books, I realized he writes about conservation and being environmentally aware.  It is a great way to appeal to and inform our youth, because they are more likely to learn from a book or watch a movie (Hoot was made into a movie) than to listen to a teacher talking about it.  I am glad someone is using interesting literature to educate our children in this way.

Flush is about a casino boat that is dumping its waste into the marina.  The waste then pollutes the beaches and surrounding waters, choking wildlife and making it unsafe for children to swim in the water.  This takes place in the Florida Keys, where there are manatees, sharks, loggerhead turtles, fish, and numerous other sea creatures.  Noah is a sixth grade boy whose dad is adamant about shutting down this casino boat for the sake of the environment, to the point of sinking it and getting himself thrown into jail.  Noah then decides to take matters into his own hands and find a way for the authorities to see that the boat is in fact guilty, and his dad isn’t just crazy or making it up.

What I liked about this book wasn’t just that it raises awareness of pollution and the consequences of dumping, but it also very vividly describes the Florida Keys.  I want to now go and visit.  The talk of mangroves, the green flash at sunset, and numerous fish and wildlife made Florida seem like an appealing place to vacation, as long as there are no casino boats flushing their toilets into the ocean.

What I didn’t like about this book was that it had some slow parts.  It was overall a good book, but there were times where I put it down and didn’t want to pick it up right away.  I decided that it had been long enough, and I just picked it up and finished it in one sitting.  It was also a bit predictable, although that can also be a good thing for young readers.

Book 5 of 40 (year 2)