With a name like Mudshark, expect the odd

MudsharkMudshark by Gary Paulsen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Originally $4.99 but marked down to $1.99 at my kids’ school book fair. A short, two dollar book is worth it. I read almost every night to my kids, after all. We consume a lot of pages.

So I picked up Mudshark not knowing anything about it or its author Gary Paulsen. I do know that Scholastic has a business model that gets some books published because the author is prolific, but I never begrudge an author for that.

I can’t say why exactly, but I got the impression that Paulsen actually put something into this book. It feels like it is more than just a piece of pulp fiction.

That being said, it may not be much more than that. The story is odd. An unrealistic mystery involving a parrot works, but not that well. It is fanciful and that’s good. I recall some range of vocabulary, which is always good. And there are some nice tropes that Paulsen employs, like the chapters’ opening with the principal over the public address system.

Ultimately, though, the book is little more than an at times clever diversion. I got the impression that the story started on a whim and needed a resolution. My kids agree…a sometimes clever “meh”.

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