A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Mentions of several landmarks in D.C.; tips on safety around alligators; peek at safety measures, both real and rumored, at the White House.
If you see something, say something -- trust your instincts. Adults aren't always right.
Positive Role Models
Wyatt and friends go with their gut and follow up on their suspicions, though they make very risky choices. They're tenacious and fairly savvy, following up on leads and doing research to put the pieces together. Teachers aren't empathetic, and their focus on preserving order blinds them to what's really going on.
Violence & Scariness
Menacing characters threaten and chase children; possible terrorists kidnap two students; a child is shot at by missiles and a gun; two people get broken bones in collisions; a child hurls a sharp hunting weapon.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A brief kiss; girl is described as part of the “hot girls” clique.
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Products & Purchases
References to social networking and technology brands (such as Twitter, Instagram), snacks, and other brands.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Worst Class Trip Ever is a funny, suspenseful story from humor writer Dave Barry (Peter and the Starcatchers). He strikes just the right tone for this age group: There's plenty of action and excitement but no menacing edge. A "hot girl" turns out to be a bold, resourceful adventurer, and the accidental hero finds he's capable of incredible feats when left with few other options. The two teacher chaperones are comically clueless. The only sour note is some stereotyping: the "weird guys" from a fictional Middle Eastern country, speaking clipped English; a Nigerian taxi driver enraged by a shorted fare; references to another taxi driver speaking "Martian"; a Cuban mom prone to verbal and physical outbursts.
Is It Any Good?
Dave Barry's goofy humor is spot-on in this fast-paced novel of a hapless eighth-grader caught up in an international plot -- it's 24 tamed for the middle school set, punctuated with fart jokes. THE WORST CLASS TRIP EVER is told in the self-deprecating voice of Wyatt, who's trying to impress out-of-his-league Suzana but instead finds himself in awe of her boldness.
For all the implausibility of the plot, Barry is right at home in the world of 13-year-olds. The class dutifully treks from one place where "something historic happened" to the next, and, as on any field trip, all the interesting stuff happens in between: For most of the class, the most exciting part of the trip is speculating why Suzana is spending so much time with the nerds. There are elements of real danger (kidnappers, Secret Service agents, missiles), but they lack teeth -- it’s more slapstick Pink Panther than Mission Impossible.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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