Chomp Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 57 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Chomp.
This section contains 611 words
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Chomp Summary & Study Guide Description

Chomp Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on Chomp by Carl Hiaasen.

"Chomp," by Carl Hiaasen, is a novel written for middle-school readers. The story takes place in southern Florida. The main character, Wahoo Cray, is the son of an animal wrangler named Mickey. Mickey is competent and brave, but he tends to be impulsive and scattered, perhaps due to a recent concussion. Wahoo is quiet and methodical, the opposite of his father and the opposite of the impression his name might give. Wahoo's mother expects him to look after Mickey and keep him out of trouble, even though Wahoo is just a boy. Wahoo and his father take a job wrangling animals for a so-called reality show, "Expedition Survival!" for their latest episode, to be filmed in the Florida Everglades. The Crays need the money to catch up on their mortgage and truck payments.

The star of "Expedition Survival," Derek Badger, has a fake Australian accent and no real survival skills. He kills and eats a creature on every episode, claiming he must do so in order to survive, but when the cameras stop rolling he departs to spend the night in a luxury hotel with room service.

While buying supplies for their trip, Wahoo and Mickey run into a school friend of Wahoo's, named Tuna Gordon. Tuna has run away from home, an old Winnebago parked at Walmart, because her drunken father gave her a black eye. Wahoo and Mickey consider calling the police, but instead they invite Tuna to join them on their expedition into the Everglades. Tuna is a huge fan of "Expedition Survival!" She memorizes the Latin names of animals to escape from the terror of her home life.

During the filming of "Expedition Survival!" the total ineptitude of Derek Badger is revealed. Despite the best efforts of Derek's production assistant, Raven, to keep him in line, Derek takes stupid chances with wild creatures and ends up bitten and scratched. Mickey come to Derek's rescue more than once, but the footage will be edited to make Derek look competent and brave on television. Ultimately Derek tries to eat a bat, but it bites his tongue in self-defense. As a result Derek develops a fever and an infection, making him delirious. The fact of being bitten by a bat, along with Derek's fondness for vampire movies, convinces him that he is turning into a vampire. He steals an airboat and takes off alone into the Everglades to fight his demons.

Meanwhile Tuna's father, Jared, tracks her to the Everglades. He kidnaps Mickey at gunpoint, then forces him to drive an airboat in search of Tuna. Mickey uses all of his cunning to thwart and delay Jared. It is up to Wahoo to keep Tuna safe. He exhibits great bravery at the climax of the story, challenging a drunk man with a gun in order to save Mickey and Tuna. The delirious Derek Badger attacks Jared, biting him in the neck as a police chopper arrives.

Derek loses his job as the star of "Expedition Survival!" to a younger man, a New Zealander who actually knows how to skydive, survive in the wilderness, and interact with wildlife, but everyone agrees not to reveal Derek's vampire delusions to the police or the media. Wahoo becomes a man during the course of the novel, having finally emerged from the shadow cast by his larger-than-life father. Wahoo and Tuna stay in touch, perhaps for a lifelong friendship or romance, even though she moves to Chicago to live with her mother and grandmother.

The novel makes important statements about bravery, coming of age, reality television, gun control, conservation, and child abuse, sprinkled with a generous dose of humor and wit.

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This section contains 611 words
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Buy the Chomp Study Guide
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