Reviews for Chomp : Library Edition

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #4
Hiassen's many fans will cheer for Chomp, his sharp and multifaceted send-up of reality TV. Wahoo and his father, Mickey, caretakers of a private South Florida zoo and desperate for income, take the job of providing host Derek Badger animals for his popular reality show, Expedition Survival! There's just one problem: Badger isn't remotely up to interacting with the dangerous creatures of the Everglades, despite his show's premise, and unpredictable Mickey cares deeply for his animals. Hilarity ensues. Narrator Van Der Beek uses his gravelly voice to create compelling personalities for Wahoo, his father, unlikely accomplice Tuna, and the uproariously incompetent Badger; he is particularly effective at contrasting Wahoo and Tuna's sensitivity with Badger's ineptitude. While delivering Hiaasen's wacky brand of humor and offbeat characters without a trace of campiness, Van Der Beek seems truly to be having a good time. Listeners will, too. rebecca kirshenbaum

School Library Journal Reviews 2012 August

Gr 6-9--Carl Hiaasen takes on reality TV in his latest novel (Knopf, 2012). Wahoo Cray is the assistant to his wild animal wrangler father. Their property holds everything from alligators to Bobcats that appear in TV shows and films. However, after Wahoo's father suffers a serious injury, debts pile up and his mother takes a temporary job in China. It also forces Wahoo and his father to accept a lucrative but questionable gig with the reality show, "Expedition Survival." James Van Der Beek's narration captures the cast of colorful characters in this fast-paced, humorous story. His vocal depiction of Wahoo is spot on, and he easily changes gears to play a variety of adults, including Wahoo's gruff but caring father. Derek Badger, the host of the reality show, is expertly drawn as a bumbling buffoon who has managed to convince viewers he is a survivalist. Van Der Beek is at his best with Badger's character, making a fake Aussie accent sound almost, but not quite authentic. As the story moves from being about filming a TV show to an action tale complete with boat chases and a gun-toting baddie, the narrator keeps it all in check, easily changing voices, while also acting as an excellent tour guide of the Florida Everglades thanks to Hiassen's lyrically descriptive text. A fun listen.--Shari Fesko, Southfield Public Library, MI

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