“Great things can happen from little starts.”
Gary and Jim Paulsen’s Road Trip took me mere hours to complete. Not because the book’s lexile is 700, grade level equivalency 4.3, but because the misadventures of Ben, his father, Theo, Gus, Mia, and Atticus the border collie captivated me from the first lines. Gary Paulsen, known for books such as Hatchet, Lawn Boy, and Liar, Liar, has once again spun an adventure perfect for reluctant readers. I found while reading that the content level may be above the lexile, including more mature content such as theft of property, running from cops and prison time, and the threat of violence. The conflicts, however, help unite the mismatched characters, allowing them to team up in the end for a perfectly timed resolution.
This book includes many perfect examples for the ELA classroom including: plot structure and story arc, conflict and conflict types, conflict resolution, and narration and point of view/perspective. The inclusion of Atticus’ point of view allows readers to glimpse into the perspectives of other characters, although Atticus is giving us a 1st person perspective. It is almost as if he is 3rd person omniscient. This perspective would also allow the class to discuss foreshadowing and irony.
All in all, Road Trip was a fun read. This teacher highly recommends it!