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3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  783 ratings  ·  179 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...more
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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
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...more
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...more
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.
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!
Very funny. Kids will love this and teachers reading it aloud will laugh as well.
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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
Addison Children
If you like Hank Zipzer or Wayside School, you will like Mudshark. The school has some very bizarre problems which are announced at the beginning of each chapter, in the form of morning announcements. And the principal is counting on Mudshark, AKA Lyle, to solve them all. Very short book with rather high reading level.
Karen Ball
Lyle "Mudshark" Williams is 12, and the best problem-solver and finder of lost things at his middle school. His nickname (Mudshark) came from a game of DeathBall (combination of soccer, football, rugby, wrestling and mudfighting) in which he got buried in the mud, and managed to still grab the ball carrier and bring him down. Principal Wagner is busy dealing with a faculty restroom crisis (which keeps getting worse), a belching psychic parrot in the media center, and the theft of every blackboar...more
Fun, quick read by Paulsen. Mudshark, aka Lyle Williams, is a kid I would want in his classroom. He is considered "cool" at his school for basically being him. He's kind to others, helps other kids to a fault, inquisitive, nice to his parents, amazingly good with his sisters (triplets), but not overly "good" - if that makes any sense. I like the fact that he is held in high esteem for being himself. In teaching fifth (and fourth for 10 years) I see kids trying to change themselves all the time t...more
The Reading Countess
We read this book together on a summer road trip. As I was reading the inside book jacket, I paused and asked my younger sons if they knew what a 'psychic' was. My middle son nodded and said, "He's like Robin, right?" What? Like Robin? "Uh, that's a sidekick," I explained...

And so began our reading of Paulsen's book. I have loved every book written by the creative author. I especially like how he writes with such voice, and feel that any text by him would serve as a great mentor text for this wr...more
Melanie, Aaron, Annie, and Mary Project
Read by: Annie
Author: Gary Paulsen
Genre: Mystery
Interest Level: 3-5
Grade Level Equivalent: 6.2
Lexile: 1080

Mudshark is a cool and quiet kid who has keen powers of observation developed by having to look after his baby triplet sisters. He can tell anyone where anything is that they have lost through photographic memory and logic. This book is mostly episodic, but the one overarching mystery was that all the school's erasers had gone missing - Mudshark found out that the janitor had taken them beca...more
I enjoyed this book. Gary Paulsen is a great author. One of the best things about him is he is so popular with kids that they don't even care what the book might be about--they are going to read it.

Mudshark was funny and fast. It's about this kid who is so observant he knows everything--or can figure it out quickly. His friends and neighbors come to him for help with missing items or simple mysteries. He seems to be the one with all of answers--until the librarian brings a parrot into school. T...more
Mudshark sees everything. Nothing gets by him. He always knows where to find things (courtesy of his little sisters!). But when the principal starts making weird announcements--a missing gerbal, missing erasers, and something strange in the faculty restroom, where the custodian reports every day with heavy duty equipment--something is up, and Mudshark can't figure it out. Plus, there the parrot in the library, who knows things too. Maudshark's school is weird to start--magicians, animal experts,...more
What a cute book! I am strongly considering using this book for my first read-aloud this school year with my 4th graders. The book is definitely the kids will find amusing. Gary Paulsen is one of the only authors I know of that could write run-on sentences in a book and actually have it published. These sentences could definitely be used as a teaching point. I think teaching points will STICK with the kiddos if they can make some sort of connection with the examples. Tenille and I are really goi...more
This book does no harm, but neither does it contribute much to the literary library of a child who would read this. It is a practice in reading only. A chapter book from an awesome author that did not impress me, but I am still putting it in the library for these reasons:

1. It's a short book...since most children (especially boys) pick books only for length, I suspect this book will be chosen often by 2nd, 3rd and 4th Graders.

2. It has an easy plot to follow

3. Boys will think some of this book...more
Jan 29, 2010 Pam rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: middle school boys
Mudshark is the coolest, smartest, quickest, all-knowing twelve year old in school, having received his nickname during a Death Ball match, when his hand emerged from the mud to stop a runner, without anyone seeing his hand move, just like a mudshark! Mudshark's photographic memory is legendary among his classmates, which is why the Principal finally turns to him to figure out why all the erasers have disappeared from every classroom. As Mudshark turns his attention to the mystery at hand, he be...more
I have been reading this book in literature circles with my fifth grade students, and I have mixed feelings. When the students actually understand what Paulsen is saying, they laugh and think it's great. But sadly, most of the time the students are tripped up by the very long sentences and obscure vocabulary. I love that this has so many opportunities for vocabulary, but if I could start over, this would be my challenge book for the more advanced readers instead of an entire class novel.

The sto...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...more
More about Gary Paulsen...
Hatchet (Brian's Saga, #1) Brian's Winter (Brian's Saga, #3) The River (Brian's Saga, #2) Brian's Return (Brian's Saga, #4) Brian's Hunt (Brian's Saga, #5)

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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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