Wahoo Cray's life in Florida is full of animals; his dad is a professional animal wrangler and keeps all their animals in the backyard. After Wahoo's dad is hit on the head accidentally and continues to have headaches and double vision, he cannot work and the family income drops. Since they need money, Wahoo and his dad reluctantly accept a job for a TV show called Expedition Survival! Derek Badger, the show's vain and selfish star, has to "survive" in the wild. Derek is actually just staged in the wilderness pretending to be all alone and fending for his life against tame, trained animals. But Derek causes trouble when he suddenly decides that this Everglades show is going to be 100% real with wild animals, even though he has no experience whatsoever with them. Things only get worse when Wahoo's best friend, Tuna, runs away from her drunk and abusive father and goes with Wahoo and his dad into the Everglades to film, her father following close behind with a gun. Will they all make it out of the Everglades alive?
This book is very creative and funny, just like all of Carl Hiaasen's kids' books. The setting is developed beautifully and contributes to the whole course of the story. Since it is in Florida, the chase through the Everglades is much more exciting than it would have been if set in another place. There are a lot of characters, but all of them are woven into the web of the story. Without one, the story wouldn't be as good as it is. Some of the characters also really stand out and create a hilarious atmosphere. For example, Derek Badger's antics are really comical, particularly when he tries to actually survive in the wild. I especially like how, because the story is narrated in third person, the focus of each chapter can switch between characters; Derek Badger is the focus of one chapter while Wahoo's dad is the focus of another. I understand all of the vocabulary in this book and find it to be overall very amusing and adventurous. I would recommend this book to kids ages 10 and up.