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Publisher's 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.

©2015 Dave Barry (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The whole family loved it!

We went on a road trip and wanted to do something other than watch a movie or play with an iPad. We decided to do an audiobook. We all enjoyed listening to this book! We enjoyed the humor and storyline. It made the driving go by a lot faster!

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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5 out of 5

5 out of 5 start from 10 & 11 year old brothers and their 40-something year old mom.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Intertaining Listen!

I finished it in one day, so I would say it's a good listen. I could relate to my school days. It got me out of the whole being a grown up for a while.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

What a hoot!

I laughed so hard my sides hurt. Excellent performance, funny as hell, and 8th grade boy's humor! Don't listen to this if you recently had surgery, cracked a rib or have COPD.

21 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Hysterical family fun!

Entertaining for our three preteens and mom and dad too! Made our 8 hour car trip fly by in no time. Laugh out loud funny.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Listened to this with my 5th grade son!! Fabulous!

This was a fantastic shared experience for me and my 5th grader. We laughed about the characters and the situations that they found themselves in. It is written with good, clean humor but with enough limit testing to make it exciting!

Kids would love this book. What a fun listen!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Dubi
  • New York, NY
  • 09-16-16

Kid Stuff

The most successful books written for kids find ways to appeal to adults, at least to parents vetting the books their kids read. I would not have read Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Insurgent, Unwind, etc., and would not have seen Shrek or the Pixar movies if I wasn't a parent keeping pace with my kids. And I was pleasantly surprised to find those works to be that much more appealing because of all the Easter eggs aimed for adults.

I figured Dave Barry, who has written for adults as well as for children and young adults, would have a big basket of funny Easter eggs for adults in this comic youth novel. But no. This is strictly kid stuff. I personally don't think the kind of thing that drives this plot (don't want to spoil anything by naming it) is appropriate alongside bathroom humor, but then that is all this book is -- bathroom humor aimed at eighth grade boys.

So if you're going to pack your middle schoolers into the car and need to entertain them for four hours, this will do the trick. If you're an adult looking for adult-level subtlety in a youth-oriented comedy, not happening.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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excellent for the whole family

my 10 year old boy could not wait to hear more and even we found good humor in the story. it was a great book for everyone and made the long road trip seem short.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Awesome book

It has so much descriptive
and so action packed. It is by far my favorite book

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Joe Kraus
  • Kingston, PA, United States
  • 04-17-17

Contrived...And a Long Way from Barry's Best

Any additional comments?

Roughly 30 years ago, Dave Barry was one of the three or four funniest people in America. He wasn’t a stand-up comedian, but he cranked out a column (weekly, as I recall) that almost never failed. He had a gentle way of poking fun at himself and our larger middle American mores, and he had an astonishing ability to work with rhythm: sentence rhythm and the rhythm of humor.

It’s been a long time since I read him, but when I saw this one I figured it would be great for sharing with the family. The good news is, the kids mostly liked it and it helped me as we drove a big stretch of Pennsylvania and Ohio. The bad news…

I don’t know where the humor went. Apart from a silly/sweet opening section where the father gets trapped by an alligator on their lawn, while wearing nothing but his loose old boxers, little of this resonated with the work I remember. Instead, this one is predicated on a surprising cruelty. There’s a kid who farts a lot – so the others have license to make fun of him – and a huge part of the plot turns on the protagonists racially profiling some fellow airline passengers.

But you know what? I’d forgive such straying from what-we-need-to-tell-the-kids if there were much substance to this. Instead, it felt to me like something he more or less made up as he went, a sloppy narrative that, once started, had nowhere satisfying to go for resolution.

I’ll spare the details but note two of the kids’ reactions:

1) The ten year old called out at one point, “This is just like all the other books I read. It has some nerdy kids, they’re doing something they shouldn’t be, and there’s a pretty girl they’re interested in.” That’s not merely genre; it’s running out of any original vision for a novel that might entertain kids.

2) The 14 year old asked at least twice, “Why don’t they just call the police [and resolve their problems]?” It’s a good and troubling question. The answer, and we get it in the text, keeps changing. Sometimes it’s fear. Sometimes it’s a sense of adventure. Sometimes it’s because the bad guys have a way to keep it from happening. But the real answer is simply that there’s no story if they undertake that perfectly reasonable plan. In short, the whole book suffers from being utterly contrived.

Look, I realize this is a book for kids, and I admit mine did say they liked it. Still, the Dave Barry of a generation ago would have known how to make this something both generations would have enjoyed. I’ll go two stars since I’m not the target audience, but that column sure feels like a long time ago.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful