Road Trip

Road Trip

4.5 11
by Gary Paulsen, Jim Paulsen
     
 

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Dad and Ben haven't been getting along recently and Dad hopes a road trip to rescue a border collie will help them reconnect. But Ben is on to Dad's plan and invites  Ben's thuggish buddy, Theo. The family dog, Atticus, comes along too and the story is told by Ben and Atticus. When their truck breaks down, they commandeer an old school bus, along with its

Overview

Dad and Ben haven't been getting along recently and Dad hopes a road trip to rescue a border collie will help them reconnect. But Ben is on to Dad's plan and invites  Ben's thuggish buddy, Theo. The family dog, Atticus, comes along too and the story is told by Ben and Atticus. When their truck breaks down, they commandeer an old school bus, along with its mechanic, Gus. Next, they pick up Mia, a waitress escaping a tense situation. Only sharp-eyed Atticus realizes that Theo is on the run—and someone is following them.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A devoted raconteur of dog stories, Gary Paulsen (Notes from the Dog) along with his sculptor son, Jim, pull from a family tradition of adopting shelter dogs for their absorbing first collaboration. When Ben’s impulsive father recruits him to help rescue a border collie, the boy agrees—reluctantly. Ben is disgruntled because his father has just quit his job to start flipping houses, leaving no money to send the 14-year-old to hockey camp; to jab at his father, Ben invites along Theo, a tattooed 18-year-old friend who’s had brushes with the law. A gruff garage mechanic and a prescient waitress add color, as does family dog Atticus, who lends his amusing, perceptive voice in occasional interludes (“Getting a dog is a terrible idea,” he grumbles early on. “Dogs are messy and needy”). The authors score on all fronts: they set an entertainingly frenzied pace, provide twists aplenty, create true dialogue that blends humor and pathos, and bring together a close-knit ensemble. Ben’s testy yet loving relationship with his father is particularly well done, a testament to this father-son duo’s ability to work together. Ages 10–up. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews
In a first-time collaboration between father and son, the Paulsens supply alternating chapters of this attractively depicted road trip with a strongly upbeat yet never didactic message. Fourteen-year-old Ben is, reluctantly, on a journey with his dad and border collie, Atticus, to rescue a border collie puppy. Ben is barely speaking to his dad as his father drops one bombshell after another on him: He's quit his job and started flipping houses for a very uncertain living, and Ben probably won't be able to attend a promised summer hockey camp that he worked for all year. Along the way, they begin to collect lightly sketched but nonetheless vividly portrayed characters: Ben's friend Theo, who is facing some low-security jail time but is trying hard to get his life together; Gus, a pithy car mechanic who has a talent for judging people and engines correctly; and attractive Mia, a waitress and wannabe actress who has been fending for herself but barely getting by. To amp up the action, Theo is being pursued by a career criminal with evil intentions. Chapters are told in the believable, alternating first-person voices of Ben and Atticus. Dog lovers will especially enjoy the amusing glimpses into the wise dog's mind. Given its notable brevity and Ben's age-appropriate, oft-times snarky, attitude, this should be an easy sell for reluctant readers. (Fiction. 10-14)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, November 26, 2012:
“The authors score on all fronts: they set an entertainingly frenzied pace, provide twists aplenty, create true dialogue that blends humor and pathos, and bring together a close-knit ensemble.”
Children's Literature - Jennifer Lehmann
When fourteen-year-old Ben gets into the pick-up truck with his dad and their border collie Atticus, he knows he is in for an adventure. Their goal is to pick up a Border collie puppy that has been rescued and needs a good home, but Dad is not one to follow directions or stick to a plan. Ben soon learns that his dad has quit his job to start a new business flipping houses. He has purchased his first project, a former crack house; unfortunately, this means Ben will not be able to go to hockey camp as promised since the business will not make them any money until the house is sold. Ben expresses his displeasure by refusing to speak to his father. Neither of them is anxious to talk to his mom, the organizer of the family, who was kept in the dark about their road trip plans. To ease the tension, Ben invites his friend Theo to come along. However, Theo has some big trouble that seems to be following them. By the time they finally pick up the new puppy, they are driving a school bus and have added a cranky mechanic and a feisty waitress to their entourage. Written by a father-son team in alternating chapters, this book occasionally suffers from weak transitions, but Ben's voice is consistent throughout. Comments from Atticus in between chapters help to fill in what the boy misses about his companions and tie the story together. The love of this family is evident in their interactions and in the way their warmth extends to the motley crew they collect along the way. Border collies are highlighted in a way that will please dog lovers and encourage others to give the breed consideration. Reviewer: Jennifer Lehmann
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Fourteen-year-old Ben, his father, and their dog, Atticus, take an impromptu road trip to rescue a border collie puppy. Although Ben's father's admission that he has impulsively quit his job casts a pall over the journey, other problems emerge as they accumulate passengers and realize that they're being followed. Ben's slang-filled voice has a conversational tone, and many kids will relate to his frustration with his father. The short chapters, present-tense storytelling, and action-filled plot result in a quick read, but the characters are underdeveloped and clichéd: Ben's father is a charismatic but flighty dreamer; Ben's friend, Theo, is a juvenile delinquent with a heart of gold. Brief chapters in which the family dog gives readers his own observations (for example, that he's seen an unsavory character before) will appeal to animal lovers, but these interludes make for clunky foreshadowing. The story also stretches credulity to its limits: Ben's father not only talks a policeman out of giving him a speeding ticket, but also persuades him to drag race down the highway, and all of the characters are able to sort out their various issues in the space of a single day. Though reluctant readers may enjoy this light read, it's unlikely to make a deep or lasting impression on them.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385741910
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
01/08/2013
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile:
700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, November 26, 2012:
“The authors score on all fronts: they set an entertainingly frenzied pace, provide twists aplenty, create true dialogue that blends humor and pathos, and bring together a close-knit ensemble.”

Meet the Author

GARY PAULSEN is the distinguished author of many critically acclaimed books for young people, His most recent books include Crush; Paintings from the Cave; Flat Broke; Liar, Liar; Masters of Disaster; Lawn Boy Returns; Woods Runner; Notes from the Dog; Mudshark; and Lawn Boy. 

JAMES PAULSEN is a sculptor.

Gary Paulsen is available for select readings and lectures. To inquire about a possible appearance, please contact the Random House Speakers Bureau at rhspeakers@RandomHouse.com.

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Road Trip 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
NaturegirlSW More than 1 year ago
I work at Barnes and Noble and loved Gary Paulsen's Winterdance and My Life in Dog Years, so when I saw this book in our children's department I picked it up and read it in one sitting. It really was a fun and awesome book. It had a road trip, quirky characters, and dogs. I especially loved the dog's interjections between chapters. The book flows. Kids books like this remind me why I fell in love with reading when I was a kid. I would recommend it for older children (and adults who like to revisit children's lit).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recomend it to everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love how paulson goes from perspective to perspective, human to dog
sandrabrazier 8 months ago
A road trip to rescue a homeless border collie becomes a real adventure in this funny short, simple story about a family and friendship. Dad needs to break it to Ben that he cannot afford to send him to hockey camp this year. He thought that adopting a dog of his very own might lighten the blow for Ben. However, problems along the way result in hidden surprises and lasting friendships. It is true that “ everything works out.” Paulsen's stories are always simple and filled with likable characters, and this one is no different. This one is funny, though, so if you want to laugh, this is the one for you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great read. I look forward to the next book in the series!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It only gives you a page and a half