by Gary Paulsen

Hardcover, 2009

Call number



Wendy Lamb Books (2009), 96 pages


Principal Wagner confidently deals with a faculty washroom crisis, a psychic parrot, and a terrorizing gerbil, but when sixty-five erasers go missing, he enlists the help of the school's best problem solver and locator of lost items, twelve-year-old Lyle Williams, aka Mudshark.

User reviews

LibraryThing member bplma
Mudshark, aka Lyle Williams, is the coolest kid in middle school-- He is the go-to guy for all manner of problems-- where did i leave my homework? how do i get out of band practice, my cat is lost, can you find him, etc. He's not really a genius, he just has very good powers of observation, and in
Show More
order to keep his position of importance, he starts the Mudshark Dectective Agency and everyone-- even the principal, come to Mudshark for help. In this book ( the first of several, i am sure) Mudshark helps the principal straighten out some problems involving a class mascot, some missing erasers, the custodian's job and the library parrot who talks too much. LIght hearted and clever-- lots of funny observations about school culture-- Paulsen's new series should find lots of popularity, especially among boys.
Show Less
LibraryThing member prkcs
Principal Wagner confidently deals with a faculty washroom crisis, a psychic parrot, and a terrorizing gerbil, but when sixty-five erasers go missing, he enlists the help of the school's best problem solver and locator of lost items, twelve-year-old Lyle Williams, aka Mudshark.
LibraryThing member hewayzha
Another winner by Paulsen. If you are a boy and want a quick read with lots of humor and the kind of guy stuff boys like, this is the book for you.
I've always read like a boy so I enjoyed this one.

Lyle Williams, otherwise known as Mudshark, is twelve years old and considered very cool. Mudshark is
Show More
very intelligent and has honed his skills of observation so that he pretty much has a photographic memory. This comes in very handy because he can find anything anyone loses.

There are some strange things going on at school and with the appearance of a psychic parrot, things get stranger. Mudshark's principal finally asks Mudshark to help solve the mysteries. You will be very entertained by how Mudshark goes about fulfilling the principal's request.

As I said this is short and sweet. It will definitely appeal to those male readers who may not be that thrilled with reading. I think this would be a good read-aloud in a classroom setting. I do believe even the girls would find this funny.

It was so quick a read that I found that I wished it would have gone on longer. I also think I would like to read more adventures of Mudshark.
Show Less
LibraryThing member ChristianR
Entertaining book for young readers about a boy who, because of his acute observational skills, is excellent at solving problems of the other kids. Crazy things are happening at school, and it's up to him to figure out what's going on.
LibraryThing member delzey
Is it me, or does Gary Paulsen seem to be ripping through a very fertile period? These past few years he's released, it seems, two or three books a year and they always slip in under the radar where I find out about them by accident.

I was actually trying to remember the title of a book of his I
Show More
read and liked and came across this as I was scanning the shelves. Being in the mood for a light read, and with a promising flap summary, I took the bait.

Lyle Williams is Mudshark, a kid we are told is cool. Cool not so much because he is hip but because his demeanor is calm and detached. When things go missing or problems need to be solved everyone – including adults at school – know to go to Mudshark. So notorious that the day someone tags his locker with a sign proclaiming the Mudshark Detective Agency he simply smiles in acknowledgment.

Small problems plaque Mudshark's fellow students - misplaced gym shoes and lost homework folders - but with his keen eye and memory he is able to resolve cases quickly. Larger problems loom as chalkboard erasers go missing, foul odors come from the faculty lounge, and a gerbil has escaped is cage and at large. Complicating matters is a new school pet, a parrot, who appears to possess a psychic ability that threatens Mudshark's place as the school mystery solver. In the end, Mudshark must debunk the parrot, find the missing erasers, and tie up every other mystery in order to retain his title, and his cool factor.

Paulsen's pacing is odd. The book seems to meander for the first 38 pages (out of 83) as he sets up all the bits and pieces that will eventually come together in the end. They almost read like vignettes, and yet when the story finally kicks in there isn't a sense that everything actually is tied together, or that it ever will. It isn't that Paulsen is being crafty, its this feeling that none of it matters. The only clear conflict is that Mudshark is going to be replaced by a parrot, and solving that mystery almost gets lost in the shuffle.

The mystery to me is why people aren't more upset with Mudshark for his abilities. He is able to find lost items and answer mysteries only because he witnesses them. Which begs the question: if you see a kid drop his homework folder, why not tell him he dropped it? Why wait until he realizes its missing and then play at being a detective when really all you're doing is withholding information until it makes you look good? To that end Mudshark isn't cool, he's manipulative and his powers rely entirely on luck, not skill.

Withholding information is key, because Paulsen does that as well. The mysteries presented cannot be solved by the reader (or at least by a smart reader) they can only be solved when Paulsen/Mudshark explain them. Setting up all these careful mysteries at the beginning leaves the reader hoping there's a great puzzle to be solved, but then before clues can be revealed the mystery is solved. Highly unsatisfying.

Paulsen does write with a breezy clarity that makes him a first choice for reluctant boy readers, but this wouldn't be one of my first choices.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Molly2Faith
Mudshark is about a boy who is is great at solving mystery's. However, there is a psychic parrot who appears in the library who is trying to out-solve Mudshark. Once Mudshark has solved some mysteries, he tries to investigate the parrot. Great book!
LibraryThing member KarenBall
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
Show More
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 blackboard eraser in the school. To find the mysteriously missing erasers, Principal Wagner calls upon Mudshark, and the results are classic hilarious Paulsen! Jokes and laugh-out-loud moments aboud in this short novel -- perfect for reluctant readers and anyone looking for a fun read. 6th grade and up.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Stephen.Cooper
Mudshark was an ordinary boy who played a lot of deathball at his school. One day he was sent into the principal’s office. At first he thought he was in trouble, but the principal wanted him to make the Mudshark Detective program to help solve problems at school. He will have to solve
Show More
disappearing erasers, waffle markings on students’ faces, odd lunch choices, and a gerbil running around the school. Most of Mudshark’s friends were deathball players such as Risdon, and Kyle, but he soon finds out that one of his friends is part of the problem. At the end, Mudshark solves all of the mysteries, but one. It happens to be that a 7th grade science teacher has disappeared and he’s probably still looking for the gerbil.
This book will make a great movie! The reason that I think this book can be a great movie is because it has a lot of humor and mystery in it. Another reason is that it should be made into a movie is that deathball can be created into a real recess game. The final reason I think this book can be made into a good movie someday is that I will be the perfect lead actor and I could use the money.
Show Less
LibraryThing member JRlibrary
The humourous tale of a very observant young boy, who takes on a Psychic Parrot as a competitor.
LibraryThing member Sullywriter
Fast and entertaining.
LibraryThing member micsanchez
read by a classmate - easy fun read but still has good plot and vocabulary
83 pages long.
LibraryThing member librarian1204
Very funny. Kids will love this and teachers reading it aloud will laugh as well.
LibraryThing member agrudzien
Mudshark pays such close attention to details, pretty soon everyone in the school is asking him to help them solve their problems. And when the school's erasers go missing, the principal is no exception. As Mudshark uses his brain to figure out where all of the erasers have gone, he realizes he has
Show More
competition: the librarian's new parrot who also seems to know a lot of the school's secrets. Can Mudshark solve the mystery first?

This quick story is not only funny (the announcements at the beginning of the chapter made me laugh out loud) but it's a good mystery, too. The readers solves the mystery along with Mudshark (he directs our attention), but the way the story resolves doesn't get shared until the plan is put into play. Very fun!
Show Less
LibraryThing member tricha11
Overall, I felt this was a good book and kept me entertained throughout, although it was very short. The first element of the story that I enjoyed were the character development. Mudshark (Lyle Williams) is a unique character and we get to see him work his way through problems. I also felt like
Show More
this character was pretty humorous. The second element that I enjoyed was the story itself. It was a very short read, but it makes you think throughout and consider who the perpetrator behind the missing erasers and escaping gerbil is. The third element of the story that I enjoyed was that it is relatable to students. Many students have trouble when they’re not good at something or someone else comes along and is better than they are at a certain task. In the story, Mudshark feels this way when the parrot comes into school and starts solving mysteries with ease. In the end, I felt the main message of this book was overcome adversity and sometimes you see that the right thing to do is not always the easiest thing.
Show Less
LibraryThing member fuzzi
A silly, fanciful, and fun book about a boy who thinks all the time, and remembers where to find lost items.


Texas Bluebonnet Award (Nominee — 2011)
Young Hoosier Book Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2012)
Nēnē Award (Nominee — 2011)
Volunteer State Book Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2012)
Children's Favorites Awards (Selection — 2010)




0385746857 / 9780385746854
Page: 1.0414 seconds