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3.47  ·  Rating details ·  1,288 ratings  ·  267 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, 83 pages
Published May 12th 2009 by Wendy Lamb Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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Ellie Yes, i do know what the story is about because i have read it

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Average rating 3.47  · 
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 ·  1,288 ratings  ·  267 reviews

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Lyle Williams, nicknamed Mudshark by his classmates, is the go-to guy at school for finding lost items and solving small mysteries. His mind is always working....his memory is amazing. He can remember where he saw lost items and solve almost any mystery or problem. Pretty good for a 12-year old, eh? But he finds himself with a feathered rival when the school librarian gets a parrot. The parrot seems to be psychic. It can answer kids' questions about lost homework and misplaced books faster than ...more
Jul 05, 2010 rated it liked it
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
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
Aug 02, 2016 rated it did not like it
Over the years Gary Paulsen has created some memorable characters, and twelve-year-old Lyle Williams (known to friends and admirers as Mudshark) may join the ranks of his fan favorites. Mudshark is the epitome of Joe Cool, owner of a dazzling logical mind that never misses a trick when he's on the trail of a mystery or missing object in the vicinity of his school. He's the only member of his family never outwitted or overwhelmed by his younger triplet sisters, Kara, Sara, and Tara, who are freq ...more
Katy Chappell
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wow-books
Mudshark is a short mystery chapter book. The main character, nicknamed "Mudshark," has a way of knowing the answers to the questions everyone is wondering such as, "Where did I leave my homework?" This chapter book takes readers on a mystery adventure to discover what is happening to all of the chalkboard erasers and so much more. Through solving the mysteries, readers see special bonds develop through big hearts!

This book would be great for 5th graders because some of the vocabulary is more ad
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, fiction, own, kids
An absolutely hilarious read, all kids and adults will truly enjoy this quick fun story!!
Sep 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kori Looker
Jan 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Nov 05, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Dan Tews
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
"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.
Aaron Schroeder
Mar 20, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Mudshark" by Gary Paulsen is a great book of mystery and problem solving. Books like this fill me with excitement because it is about a case of missing erasers. Books about mystery like this one makes me very tense. That's why I love it. And the idea of a boy with a natural talent for paying attention to a lot of things and knowing where everything is, is brilliant. I recommend this book to all mystery lovers.
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 5th-grade-plus
The characters were too oddball and random for me, so overall, I did not enjoy this book as much as other Gary Paulsen books. I think an upper elementary student would find this quick read humorous, but I thought the characters and events were either bizarre or boring.
Sep 28, 2010 rated it liked it
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!
Nov 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Very funny. Kids will love this and teachers reading it aloud will laugh as well.
May 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
Heavy-handed and over the top. I much prefer Paulsen's memoirs and adventure books to his recent humorous MG books.
Sep 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Would be better if has some more adventure instead of just mysteries.
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Mudshark is the smartest kid in school, finding lost objects and solving mysteries for his classmates and teachers. When a psychic parrot takes up residence in the school library, Mudshark's detective agency is threatened, and he'll do anything to outsmart that talking bird. Between stolen chalkboard erasers, a missing gerbil, and a toxic situation in the faculty restrooms, Mudshark will have to think and scheme and plan to save his school!

This story is hilarious, with weird and wacky characters
Aug 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dropped
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
Curious to read Paulsen again after a long hiatus (will now need to read at least one other title since this one was less than expected). The chapter openers are engagingly full of action and interesting subplot hints galore. The voice of those openers is a fun mash up of 'Letters from the Fountain' and 'Men in Black.' The actual story - plot, character, setting - is 90% telling with smatterings of showing. Some of the telling and showing didn't even match. For example, "Mudshark was cool." Is n ...more
Goshen PL Childrens
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club-books
Such a fun read! It really felt like something that you would read in a collection of short stories, only this was slightly longer than a typical short story. Regardless, it had a very similar plot structure to most short stories. It was a quick read with only a handful of characters, with only one or two really fleshed out characters. All good things to have in a short story. On top of that it was humorous. I loved the little anecdotes from the principal's announcements. I was constantly trying ...more
Katie Merkel
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
My heart went out to the principal of that school! The erasers are disappearing from classrooms, there's a gerbil on the lose, and the faculty bathroom needs to be relocated to Area 51. Can Mudshark, the most observant kid in the school, solve the mysteries, or will the librarian's new, psychic parrot put the Mudshark Detective Agency out of business?

This book was funny. The images and situations Paulsen either described or hinted at were fantastic. My only complaint with the book was that all o
Naomi Campbell
Dec 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
I read this book because it was in a stack of short books I needed to read and then pass on, but I'm so glad I did, because lately I've been reading books by Andrew Clements and this one FEELS like one of HIS. I love Gary Paulsen's books too, but I've been on a Clements kick recently, and it was so funny that this one really had such the same friendly, funny, happy-little-capers going on thoughtfulness in a school environment with kids and all their antics, and animals, too! It was a quick littl ...more
From infancy Lyle spent hours in the library with his mom learning to read, teaching him to think and develop an almost perfect memory. Years later, keeping track of his active triplet sisters developed his fast reflexes. Both earned him his nickname, made him the cool man at school and lead him to form a detective agency.

He’s kind of like a grammar school Sherlock Holmes and the characters in the story are very strange. But in the end everything works out in a very interesting way.

Fave scenes:
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it
2.5 stars. I was not impressed with this one. Aaron is currently reading this for his English class. I felt it was too young for 11 and 12 year olds. This is something 4th graders should read. Lyle, aka Mudshark finds lost items. His ways are being challenged by the school's new pet parrot. Erasers have gone missing, all of them, and Mudshark is assigned the task of locating them. This was a vacation-assigned read, so perhaps that's why it seemed out of place.
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
A Mom review: (read this to my 5 and 10 year olds)

Very different from Hatchet. I would compare this to Frindle. It is a 6th grade reading level but I believe it could be enjoyed by younger audiences as well. Very clean which is always a plus i think dang is the worst word used. They do talk a bit about crayfish reproduction with crayfish mommies and daddies, but it is very pg and would go over a younger kiddos head.
Karin Jenkins
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a fun story. I love at the end that he involves others to help him instead of the typical "I have to do this myself and then find out I should have asked for help." My teenager also enjoyed this short read because of the cool, but humble main character. I would recommend this book for third and fourth grade, especially reluctant readers.
Apr 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Personally I didn't really like this book compared to the other books that Gary Paulsen wrote. Because I didn't think that all the stuff he was saying was not really imaginable because it was kind of unimaginable because there was not to much action coming into the story. But this book was about a kid named Lyle Williams being cool to other people around him.
Rebekah Wampler
Nov 16, 2016 rated it liked it
My Book Club of students loved the book and all said they'd recommend it to a friend. For me, as an adult reader, it wasn't one of my top reads haha, but I would definitely use it again with another student group.
Mario Valdez
I thought this was a very interesting book. I liked and would recommend it to anyone who likes mystery. It was also by Gary Paulsen who is one of my favorite authors ever made this so I already knew I would like it.
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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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