Bestselling author and columnist Carl Hiaasen returns with another hysterical mystery for kids set in Florida's Everglades.
Bunny Starch, the most feared biology teacher ever, is missing. She disappeared after a school field trip to Black Vine Swamp. And, to be honest, the kids in her class are relieved.
But when the principal tries to tell the students that Mrs. Starch has been called away on a "family emergency," Nick and Marta just don't buy it. No, they figure the class delinquent, Smoke, has something to do with her disappearance.
And he does! But not in the way they think. There's a lot more going on in Black Vine Swamp than any one player in this twisted tale can see. And Nick and Marta will have to reckon with an eccentric eco-avenger, a stuffed rat named Chelsea, a wannabe Texas oilman, a singing substitute teacher, and a ticked-off Florida panther before they really begin to see the big picture.
That's life in the swamp, kids.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Scat|
|Release Date: 01-27-2009|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Children's Books|
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The day before Mrs. Starch vanished, her third-period biology students trudged silently, as always, into the classroom. Their expressions reflected the usual mix of dread and melancholy, for Mrs. Starch was the most feared teacher at the Truman School.
When the bell rang, she unfolded stiffly, like a crane, and rose to her full height of nearly six feet. In one hand she twirled a sharpened Ticonderoga No. 2 pencil, a sure sign of trouble to come.
Nick glanced across the aisle at Marta Gonzalez. Her brown eyes were locked on Mrs. Starch, and her thin elbows were planted like fence posts, pinning her biology book open to Chapter 8. Nick had left his own textbook in his locker, and his palms were sweating.
"Good morning, people," said Mrs. Starch, in a tone so mild that it was chilling. "Who's prepared to tell me about the Calvin cycle?"
Only one hand rose. It belonged to Graham, who always claimed to know the answers but never did. Mrs. Starch hadn't called on him since the first week of class.
"The Calvin cycle," she repeated. "Anybody?"
Marta looked as if she might throw up again. The last time that had happened, Mrs. Starch had barely waited until the floor was mopped before instructing Marta to write a paper listing five major muscles used in the act of regurgitation.
Nick and the other students had been blown away. What kind of teacher would punish a kid for puking?
"By now," Mrs. Starch was saying, "the photosynthetic process should be familiar to all of you."
Marta gulped hard, twice. She'd been having nightmares about Mrs. Starch, who wore her dyed blond hair