THE WORST CLASS TRIP EVER for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Just by the title you know you’re heading into a story filled with bad decisions and unfortunate situations. I’ve actually done this trip, though I wouldn’t call mine “Worst.” On three occasions I  co-sponsored a Washington D.C. trip for students. The planning alone would send most to a different career.

In Dave Barry’s book, 47 8th graders, 2 teachers, and 8 parent chaperones fly off to Washington D.C. on the field trip sfp-book-review-the-worst-class-trip-ever-is-a-funny-wry-pageturner-for-tweens-20150608of a lifetime. Narrated by admitted nerd, Wyatt, the amusing plot will keep you entertained. The events though are quite implausible (not to give too much of the plot away, but a student is kidnapped from his hotel room in the middle of the night and the next day not one of the ten adults notices him missing).

The lead teacher is rather brainless, the food is terrible, and Wyatt keeps the adventure moving  with his teen snarkiness and crazy scenarios. You won’t get too many insights as to what is actually happening inside our nation’s historic buildings since the focus is on this fun story and the teen wanna-be heroes. There is a not-to-scale map in the inside back cover showing the locations so you can at least get an idea concerning the layout of the land.

One thing for sure, kids won’t be bored reading this tale and it would  sure make a great movie. I sense a sequel may be in the works, too.


FULL PLOT (From AMAZON) 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.


  1. The voice is authentic. Dave must be hanging around 8th graders because he nailed their dialog on every page.
  2. A strong female character. Wyatt puts it best:  Suzana “is basically a Navy SEAL disguised as a hot eighth-grade girl.”
  3. Another great read-aloud. It’s one of those stories that will hit home for the target audience (9-12 years old), but likely not as much for Dave Barry’s older fans of his past columns or books.
  4. Wyatt’s thoughts on the culinary delights he avoids each day are hilarious. He must have eaten at different places than I ever did.
  5. No enormous family problems. Yea! After reading so many books with a downer type feel, it was nice to sit back and enjoy this amusing ride.

FAVORITE LINES: My mom hugged me really hard and told me she loved me very much, and she was going to miss me, and if I did anything stupid in Washington she would kill me.

DAVE BARRY ANSWERS QUESTIONS FROM TEENS: What message would you like to send to the teenagers of America? (Answer: Your hats are backward.)
For more visit Dave’s web site


Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Just click on the Comments word above. You’ll find it right under the title of this post.

Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...writing middle grade novels.
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13 Responses to THE WORST CLASS TRIP EVER for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. Sounds like a fun, light story. It must have been intense on those field trips you went on to Washington. Just keeping track of the kids must have been challenging.

  2. salarsen says:

    Can’t believe you were one of those who had to plan trips like this. So much work! As a middle grader, I attended a trip like this. We visited the original thirteen colonies. Years later, my husband chaperoned the same trip for one of our sons. He’ll tell you it was exhausting but a great experience for the kids. Thanks for sharing this story! I think lots of MGers will be able to relate on some level.

  3. Having lived in DC for about five years (long enough to be considered a ‘native’ by the local standards) I can sympathize. It’s a lovely area to explore, but managing a class trip there would fall under a lot of words that aren’t remotely lovely!

    This sounds like a great read for the winter, when it’s dreary outside and I need a laugh. 🙂

  4. The annual middle grade tour to D.C. by bus in February, is still popular here. They didn’t have trips like that when I was in school. I can imagine how difficult the planning is. This sounds like a fun read. Nice review.

  5. I do love Dave Berry and this sounds like a terrifically fun book. I will be on the look out for it. Thanks for the review.

    • I know some adults who purchased this by author name alone and were disappointed. It seems they forgot this book is intended for middle grade readers. I found it to be engaging and fun.

  6. Joanne Fritz says:

    If it’s Dave Barry, you KNOW it’s going to be funny. He’s even funnier in person. He and Ridley Pearson came to the bookstore where I worked to talk about one of their Peter Pan books, and about writing together, and going to Disney World. They kept the large audience entertained for hours. And then signed tons of books. Really nice guys, both of them.

    I remember visiting Washington, D.C. as a middle-grader. Fun for us, but maybe not for our chaperones! Glad to hear yours wasn’t the worst.

  7. Great review. This sounds like a fun read for sure.

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