Noah's dad is sure that the owner of the Coral Queen casino boat is flushing raw sewage into the harbor–which has made taking a dip at the local beach like swimming in a toilet. He can't prove it though, and so he decides that sinking the boat will make an effective statement. Right. The boat is pumped out and back in business within days and Noah's dad is stuck in the clink.
Now Noah is determined to succeed where his dad failed. He will prove that the Coral Queen is dumping illegally . . . somehow. His allies may not add up to much–his sister Abbey, an unreformed childhood biter; Lice Peeking, a greedy sot with poor hygiene; Shelly, a bartender and a woman scorned; and a mysterious pirate–but Noah's got a plan to flush this crook out into the open. A plan that should sink the crooked little casino, once and for all.
My Two Cents: Carl Hiaasen is the master of middle grade books with an eco-angle, and Flush is my favorite of his so far. The characters here are all flawed, but everyone in Noah's family means well and is really trying to do what they think is right. There's adventure, mystery, and humor here, but a lot of values and morals are presented too in a way that will help kids decide for themselves what they believe in and what they think is right. A great book to get kids reading, thinking, and discussing eco issues.
Grade Level: 3-5
- Noah's little sister Abbey is named for "some weird old bird who's buried out west in the middle of a desert. Read more about Edward Abbey and see why you think Noah's dad wanted to name his kid after Abbey. (Also, why do you think he wanted a son named Noah?)
- Watch this Minute Physics video about why we have high tide and low tide.
- Check out these online resources for kids and teachers from the U.S. Coast Guard
- There are so many marine animals mentioned in this book--barracuda, needlefish, snappers, pilchard, dolphins, turtles, muttonfish...Learn more about marine wildlife and how you can help preserve it at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
- Find places from the book like the Florida Keys and Caloosa Cove on a map.
- Hiaasen's other eco-adventures: Hoot, Scat, Chomp
- Another kid who lives near the ocean and has to reconcile her dad's questionable actions with his love for her: The Year the Swallows Came Early by Kathryn Fitzmaurice
- Another Southern story with a complicated family and plenty of water: Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage