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A Teen Heartthrob’s Take on Chomp

March 16, 2012

This Random Acts of Listening post was written by Nevin Mays, Associate Acquisitions Editor for Listening Library. CHOMP goes on sale March 27th.


I don’t watch much reality TV, especially not wildlife shows. Aside from the Puppy Bowl, which Animal Planet airs for four hours before the Super Bowl each year. But real wild animals are scary! (So are housewives, but that’s another post.) But I have to admit, I was kind of bummed Carl Hiaasen’s “Expedition Survival!” is not a real show, if only for the potential for a black market outtakes DVD.

Wahoo Cray has an unusual home life. His dad, Mickey, is a wildlife wrangler. Popular reality TV show, “Expedition Survival!” has hired Mickey to provide and handle the wildlife for its Everglades episode. But although Mickey can handle any kind of swamp animal, he’s not quite up to the task of refraining from hurting the self-absorbed, fame-hungry host, Derek Badger, who sees nothing wrong with killing and eating a wild animal for ratings.

So it’s up to Wahoo to protect Derek Badger from his dad, while his dad protects the animals from Derek Badger, as they make their way into the Florida Everglades for some realistic footage. Wahoo’s classmate Tuna invites herself along for the ride after receiving a shiner from her old man, and pretty soon the whole company is protecting Tuna, too.

Of course the kids save the day, with some surprising, though accidental, heroics from unexpected places. Carl has, as usual, created a hilarious, outlandish cast of characters, but it’s the kids who exhibit real strength, intelligence, and bravery in the face of a mean drunk, a celebrity-chasing TV host, and the wilds of the Florida Everglades.

And narrator James Van Der Beek brings all the characters and all the action to life. His almost rushed narration increases the feeling of urgency, compelling the listener to stay tuned for “just one more track.” It’s fun to read Carl’s stories, but it’s a real treat to hear it aloud, with all the wackiness and drama unfolding in your head while you close your eyes and envision a huge boa constrictor slowly gulping up a grown man’s legs, or a frozen iguana falling from a tree and knocking flat the man it lands on.

Chomp and Carl Hiaasen fans—Make sure to check out the super-fun page Listening Library created for the new audiobook and take a bite out of the Chomp video game!

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 16, 2012 8:36 am

    This book sounds like a lot of fun! The character’s names make me laugh.

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