Roy Eberhardt has recently, and unhappily, arrived in Florida. Disney World is an armpit, he states flatly, compared to Montana.
Roy's family moves a lot, so he's used to the new-kid drill. Florida bullies are pretty much like bullies everywhere. But Roy finds himself oddly indebted to the hulking Dana Matherson. If Dana hadn't been sinking his thumbs into Roy's temples and mashing his face against the school-bus window, Roy might never have spotted the running boy. And the running boy is the first interesting thing Roy's seen in Florida.
The boy was about Roy's age, but he was running away from the school bus. He had no books, no backpack, and, here's the odd part, no shoes.
Sensing a mystery, Roy sets himself on the boy's trail. The chase will introduce him to some other intriguing Floridian creatures: potty-trained alligators, a beleaguered construction foreman, some burrowing owls, a fake-fart champion, a renegade eco-avenger, some slippery fish, a sinister pancake PR man, and several extremely poisonous snakes with unnaturally sparking tails.
Life in Florida is looking up.
Hoot is a 2003 Newbery Medal Honor Book.