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Field Trip: 11/10/17

Field Trip by Gary Paulsen

Field Trip by Gary Paulsen and Jim Paulsen is the sequel to Road Trip. Summer is over and Ben's in school, but he's even more obsessed with hockey than he was in the previous book. He missed out on hockey camp but now he has a new goal — a hockey themed high school where classes are scheduled around training.

Meanwhile, Mom and Dad are still working hard with their house flipping business, something that started in the previous book. Now though things have gotten out of hand (according to Ben); Mom and Dad have sold the family home and they're going to be moving into one of the fixer-uppers.

The framing story though for this book's road trip, is Ben needing to catch up to his classmates who have left on a multiple-day field trip. Ben was planning to miss the trip because of hockey commitments but when his parents discover that the school is concerned about his numerous absences and his GPA, they decide to cut back on hockey. The first step in this plan is attend the field trip after all.

The gist of the road trip, then, is Ben, his dad, his dad's coworker, the two dogs, and two of Ben's classmates. They all pile into the company vehicle — an old ice cream truck, complete with fiberglass cone on the roof.

It's basically the first book but more so. And it's in the "more-so" that this book fails to come close to the original. We know the Dad's unusual road trip play book. Last time we road along in a disused school bus. Now it's an ice cream truck. Last time we picked up a waitress and a mechanic. This time we have the Wonder Twins who are more perfect than anyone and will probably grow up to be more broken than Paris Geller. Last time we picked up one puppy. Now we're going back for another one.

It's clear from the get-go that Ben and the twins won't make it to field trip. It's clear that Ben won't go to the hockey school even if he does wheedle a way to try out for it. It's clear that Dad and Mom will come up with some sort of epic compromise. It's clear that Ben and the Wonder Twins will become friends.

And thus there are no surprises and no unique or unexpected takes on the road trip genre.

Three stars

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