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3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  977 ratings  ·  209 reviews
Mudshark is the go-to guy for any mysteries that need solving. Lost your shoe? Can’t find your homework? Ask Mudshark. That is, until the Psychic Parrot takes up residence in the school library and threatens to overturn Mudshark’s position as the guy who knows all the answers. The word in school is that the parrot can out-think Mudshark. And right now, the school needs som ...more
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published May 12th 2009 by Wendy Lamb Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

MUDSHARK is a great addition to any Gary Paulsen collection. It's not the HATCHET adventure type, but rather one of the crazy, mad-cap mishap stories like HOW ANGEL PETERSON GOT HIS NAME and LAWN BOY.

Mudshark is actually Lyle Williams. He got his name for his lightning speed and his incredible observation skills. These are skills he honed while keeping an eye on Kara, Sara, and Tara, his triplet sisters. When they became mobile, lif
Great writing. Just ... not much of a story. Does that make sense?

By great writing I mean like the following (page 18 and 19):
"There are many ways to describe Ms. Underdorf.
She was brilliant and joyous and she believed--probably correctly--that libraries contain the answers to all things, to everything, and that if you can't find the information you seek in the library, then such information probably does not exist in this or any parallel universe now or ever to be known.
She was thoughtful an
Ms. Yingling
Lyle is known as Mudshark because his speed and agility have been honed by dealing with triplet sisters who have a tendency to make a bee line for dog chewies and electrical outlets. He also has a knack for solving mysteries, and there are a lot of them at his school. Not only is the faculty restroom constantly filled with hazardous materials, but the chalkboard erasers keep going missing, a gerbil is running loose in the building, and the librarian has a foul-mouthed parrot that may or may not ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kori Looker
Mudshark is one of the weirdest books I have ever read. If you like odd books, I recommend this book to you. The reading level is around the fourth grade level. Mudshark is about a fast-thinking go-to guy if anyone has questions or problems. Mudshark’s name is Lyle Williams but he’s known as Mudshark throughout the book. Well, Mudshark is a detective at his school and his enemy is the physic parrot who thinks he can outsmart Mudshark. Erasers go missing and Mudshark uses his skills to solve the ...more
Would be better if has some more adventure instead of just mysteries.
Bones Kendall
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 somet
I read this book to my intervention class. I thought it would be a light and funny read, but I felt it went a little over my 6th graders heads. Of course, these are students who need intervention, so that might be why they could not put together the pieces of what was happening in this book. There is quite a fair amount of sarcasm in this book, coupled with a very distinctive 3rd person point of view with complex syntax that at times was hard to follow.

Mudshark has an uncanny knack for telling s
Dan Tews
"Mudshark" is a great book for all kids at all reading levels because it is an easy and fast read. This book is a hard book to put down because once you start it you have to finish it. "Mudshark" is an easy book to follow and understand but at the same time makes you think. It also makes you put the pieces of the story together. The characters in "Mudshark" are mysterious and some are very funny. This book is a good book to just sit down and read on a rainy weekend.
3.5 stars. "Mudshark" is Paulsen's answer to "Harriet the Spy" meets "Joe Cool". I was a bit puzzled by the rogue parrot's intellectualization, but I liked the protagonist's comparative savvy. Each chapter begins with a broadcast from the principal's office, bellowing an update on several school happenings. The school's population is eccentric, but lovable. "Mudshark" was a fast read, and the characters' antics would be interesting to 9 to 11 year-olds.
Aaron Schroeder
In the novel "Mudshark" by Gary Paulsen, the main character is the kind of kid who everybody comes to when they need something solved. Mudshark continues with this role until a psychic parrot comes into the school and starts making Mudshark look bad. He is then put to the test to prove to himself that he is better than the parrot. I recommend this book to all kids in middle school and older, because it is an easy and fun book to read.
A short realistic (well, maybe not the parts about the bathroom or the parrot)fiction novel about a boy who is turned-to in his school when people need their own personal mysteries solved. Mudshark-the protagonist- is fine with his role solving mysteries and dealing with the quirky happenings at his school until a parrot is brought to the library, and the parrot is able to solve mysteries better than Mudshark.

The story flies by very quickly so this might be a good book for kids who find themsel
Austin Meier
I rated this book a two because this book is a weird book about a boy named Mudshark. He is able to know where lost things are after they have been lost by someone. So if somebody looses something Mudshark is who the ask. Then one day the librarian gets a parrot that is able to find things only because he will wonder around the school. Then one all the erasers in the school disappear and the principle ask Mudshark to find them. He finds the eraser thief and the thief is a nice guy. Then they did ...more
Good book. It's very hilarious and mysterious, but a bit to short for me. I think people who like stories that are short and funny, then this book is for Y-O-U!
3.2 stars

I thought I would like this better because it's by Gary Paulsen. But it was only so-so for me.

Lyle Williams (aka Mudshark) is smart and very, very observant. He's kind of like that guy on the TV program, The Mentalist. He can look at a situation, immediately understand it, notice details that everyone else misses, and then solve people's problems because of it.

Mudshark sets out to solve the mystery of the missing erasers at his school. There's also a missing classroom gerbil, a wacky pr
Very funny. Kids will love this and teachers reading it aloud will laugh as well.
Lisa Frase
I finished reading aloud Mudshark to my fourth graders today. This book is on the Texas Bluebonnet list. It's interesting, but I find that my tongue had a tendency to trip over the many long sentences. I love Gary Paulson as a writer, but this book is a bit different from his usual voice and style.

Mudshark is one smart dude. He is extremely observant and highly intelligent. It's nice to have a super-sharp boy -who is not only smart, but totally cool, as the hero of the story. Mudshark makes rea
Book talk: The word in the hallway is that if you've lost something, Mudshark can find it for you. But his keen observational skills help him with more than just finding lost items. There is no problem too big or too small for Mudshark and everyone goes to him if they've lost something. That is until Betty Crimper comes into the library one day to ask Mudshark about her lost paper and the parrot answers first. Even stranger, he's right. After that everyone starts going to the parrot with their p ...more
Barb Middleton
Mudshark can remember nearly everything. Lose something at school?

Ask Mudshark. He’ll know where it is.

Even adults ask for his help. When the Librarian buys a parrot, it too has great locating skills, and Mudshark’s stream of followers start to seek help from the Parrot.

Except for… the Principal.

He asks for Mudshark’s help in locating the school’s missing erasers and when Mudshark finds them he has to decide whether or not to turn in the culprit. Find out how he gets out of his dilemma and takes
C.C. Thomas
Gary Paulsen is one of my favorite authors and so the expectation was high for this book. It isn't often that I can say I am disappointed in one of his books, but this one is not a typical Paulsen. Most of Paulsen's books fall into three categories: survival/adventure; true story survival/ adventure and humor. I have read and enjoyed dozens of Paulsen's book in each of these categories. With over 200 books to his name, it would be hard to keep up the Newberry pace of 'Hatchet'.

'Mudshark would f
I had to read Mudshark for a library class and I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised by both its humor and its indomitable spirit.

My favorite things about the book are the beginning parts of almost every chapter where the school principal makes the most hysterical public announcements ("...and if you see the gerbil, would you please try to herd it toward room two oh six?")

Great writing made me jot down quotes such as:

-"It was all in the way your thoughts ran through your mind, the way
I love Gary Paulson....really. I've read many of his books and loved him even more after hearing him tell hill literacy life story. However, I couldn't love Mudshark. I've picked it up twice, trying to entice kids to read it as non- Hatchet book. I'm not sure that kids would stick with it, either. The overall theme is a good one, underdog kid makes the win in Death Ball and becomes overnight sensation. He's able to locate lost items until a Psychic Parrot shows Mudshark up as the school detectiv ...more
It was an early rainy summer morning- and I was homesick for a Gary Paulsen book. I wanted the adventure of Hatchet and the poetry of Dogsong. Instead I read through this madcap story of Lyle aka Mudshark, who is so observant that he can solve his peers' and his principal's frustrating little mysteries. It is a cute book- If Paulsen were a musician/lyricist, I'd say this is one of his little ditties. I was looking for one of his soulful ballads.
Final read aloud of 2014-2015. Huge disappointment. Chose it because it's short and because I've enjoyed everything else I've read by Gary Paulsen. But this was definitely no 'Hatchet' or 'My Life in Dog Years'. About a kid with a photographic memory who tries to solve the mystery of some missing erasers. Although it was only 80 pages, it dragged on and I could tell the kids weren't super into it (though it could have been my lack of enthusiasm that was contagious).
Mudshark is so observant, that he's known for "finding" things that have been lost -- just because he noticed something that allows him to know things most people don't remember. But then the school librarian gets a parrot, which is just as observant. Just when Mudshark thought he was in competition for his memory skills, the principal calls on his skills to help find all the school's erasers, which have gone missing from every classroom. This main storyline is peppered with a loose gerbil terro ...more
I read this book because it has a Lexile score of 1080 and is classified as a mystery. I am on a rampage about the Lexile Grading scale for books and that is a discussion best made elsewhere. Why it scores 1080 is beyond me.

BUT, I like this book and enjoyed it. I think most 2nd-6th graders would also. Teaches about observation and thinking in a fun, interesting way.
Mara Vetters
This book is one of the funniest books that I have read in a long time. From the principal's first announcement to the story's sweet and humorous conclusion Gary Paulsen gives us a very well-written story about a gerbil on the loose, a toxic restroom, missing erasers, a (maybe) psychic parrot, and a compassionate observant and clever hero who has to keep his wacky school from falling down.
Probably the best aspect of this book is its humor. Every chapter begins with a short announcement from the
Matthew Prueter
This book is about a very smart boy who helps people out find their lost things and gives people advice. His principle wants him to help him out and solve a problem that the whole school is facing. I liked this book because it was very suspenseful and it was mystery. I would recommend this book to people that like mystery and solving clues.
Paulsen packs plenty of plot, puns, and one parrot in this short book. Was fortunate to share this with fourth graders yesterday and today. Leave it to the kid who was made to repeat this grade say when the story ended: "I really liked that story, where'd you get it?"

Perhaps, sooner rather than later, I will get to use this book in writing instruction.
Lyle Williams, aka Mudshark, is a 12-year-old with quick reflexes and outstanding observational skills. His classmates rely on him to help them find their missing items. When blackboard erasers start disappearing, his principal puts him on the case. There are more than a few amusing moments in this book. Best of all, there are not one, but two, awesome librarians in the book. One is Mudshark's mom and the other is the school librarian, Ms Underdorf. Here's how the author describes her: "She was ...more
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Although he was never a dedicated student, Paulsen developed a passion for reading at an early age. After a librarian gave him a book to read--along with his own library card--he was hooked. He began spending hours alone in the basement of his apartment building, reading one book after another.

Running away from home at the age of 14 and traveling with a carnival, Paulsen acquired a taste for adve
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“She was brilliant and joyous and she believed- probably correctly- that libraries contain the answers to all things, to everything, and that if you can't find the information you seek in the library, then such information probably doesn't exist in this or any parallel universe now or ever to be known. She was thoughtful and kind and she always believed the best of everybody. She was, above all else, a master librarian and she knew where to find any book on any subject in the shortest possible time.

And she was wonderfully unhinged.”
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