The Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry (2015)

worstThis comedy adventure will have kids cracking up. I booktalked this to 6th and 7th graders, to great success. (Make sure you mention the giant butt kite.)

Recommended grade level: 4-7

Pages: 224 (for ISBN 9781484708491)

Genre(s) and keywords: humor, diverse, adventure, reluctant readers, Latinx protagonist

Tone/Style: humorous, self-deprecating

Pace: moderate to fast

Topics: field trips, Washington, D.C., terrorism, kidnapping, covert activities

Themes: loyalty to friends

Summary: In this hilarious novel, written in the voice of eighth-grader Wyatt Palmer, Dave Barry takes us on a class trip to Washington, DC. Wyatt, his best friend, Matt, and a few kids from Culver Middle School find themselves in a heap of trouble—not just with their teachers, who have long lost patience with them—but from several mysterious men they first meet on their flight to the nation’s capital. In a fast-paced adventure with the monuments as a backdrop, the kids try to stay out of danger and out of the doghouse while trying to save the president from attack—or maybe not. (Source)

Who will like this book?: Wacky hijinks abound in this title, likely to appeal to anyone looking for laughs and excitement. The brand of humor will probably appeal especially to boys.

Who won’t like this book?: This book is highly unrealistic and avoids emotion and Deep Thoughts; readers looking for those elements should try elsewhere. The ridiculousness of the plot and some rather immature jokes may turn off some readers. In other words, no fuddy-duddies need apply.

Other comments: The adults in this book are pretty much all idiots. Then again, the kids are pretty dumb too, so I guess it’s fair. This is one of those fluffy, immature-but-still-funny titles that is truly written for kids and not adults (thought adults may like it too).

Sequel(s): The Worst Night Ever (2016)

Readalikes: This is a great book to suggest to those kids who only want to read Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and whose parents want to steer them away from cartoons. Kids looking for humor with a similar reading level should try James Patterson’s (co-writers’) I, Funny and Middle School series; The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander; or Gordon Korman’s Ungifted and Schooled.


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