by Gary Paulsen
96 pages, Mystery
Reviewed by bookRacoon

The word is...interesting. An interesting read with a simple plot, suited for young readers.


Lyle Williams, also known as 'Mud Shark', is a genius boy. In this book, each chapter begins with an announcement from the Principal about a bunch of random things. Mudshark feels uneasy about these announcements and notices the one thing they all have in common - that more and more erasers are being stolen from the classrooms. He sets out to find the culprit, and also tries to "clip the wandering habits of a bird that knows too much."


The "culprit" stole erasers from the classrooms. Some kids force an animal into a smelly chamber as part of their solution for it. Otherwise, morality isn't really addressed - except that Mudshark is trying to find the thief.

Spiritual Content

None addressed in the story.


An animal is forced to smell gas in order to "cure its wandering habits."

Drug and Alcohol Content


Sexual Content


Crude or Profane Language or Content

The term "mudshark" can be used as a derogatory term, but is not meant in that light.


A rather odd book, but enjoyable if you like low-key school mysteries. It was very interesting, but it had a strange feel to it; the plot is a little loose, but suited for younger readers. Something I liked about it was how Mudshark found out the truth in an honorable way, and how the "bad guy" apologized for his actions, which, given his explanation, weren't evil, just overreacted.

Fun Score: 4
Values Score: 4.5
Written for Age: 11-12

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