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MUDSHARK by Gary Paulsen

MUDSHARK

By Gary Paulsen

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: May 12th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-385-74685-4
Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Paulsen’s peppy, lightweight new classroom comedy about a super-sharp kid is meant to amuse, and it does. Set in a slightly surreal school populated by a host of idiosyncratic but identifiable character types, the story, told in the third person, revolves around the ever resourceful Mudshark, a boy blessed with perfect recall, lightning-fast reflexes and a good heart. Because of these attributes, everyone at school depends on Mudshark’s whizzy brain until the librarian gets an all-seeing (and unfortunately always belching) parrot. Will the parrot eclipse Mudshark as school detective? Not the most profound question in the universe perhaps, but one that boys should delight in. The funniest part of the story is the principal’s announcements ordering the superintendant to report to the faculty restroom with an increasingly dire list of equipment that runs from large stick to Geiger counter, and the most touching is the super’s meditation on the impermanence of thought. Add in the mystery of the missing erasers, a bored cat and a course of aversion therapy, and it equals fun. (Fiction. 8-12)