Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Wild Culpepper Cruise by Gary Paulsen

Mystery, action, humor. A simple plot  for older students that is a fun and a quick read. Calm Dunc is friends with the quirky, hyper Amos. When Amos wins a trip on a cruise ship, he brings Dunc along with his parents. Only problem is that Amos's parents are just as lost as him. When Amos picks up the wrong suitcase and his parents miss the cruise ship, Dunc and Amos have a fun time unchaperoned. Or I should say Dunc has fun. Amos has a series of disasters, the first being the discovery of the wrong suitcase that holds something two thugs want so much that they chase Dunc and Amos while on the ship. See what happens to the two in this exciting book.

The characters are likable with Amos being Dunc's sidekick. He might be too geeky for some but I laughed at some of the situations especially the dance on the ship. The dialogue is well done and the boys sound like 5th graders. Amos is in love with a girl at school who doesn't even know he exists and there are many jokes surrounding his love life or lack of it. Dunc is the brains. Neither one changes internally and the tension comes from them being chased by the bad guys.

The plot is simple and predictable. I did wonder what cruise lines do when someone misses a ship, especially if it involves minors.  The mystery is not complex and can be figured out quickly. I wondered why Amos and Dunc didn't notify an adult right away when they figured out what the thugs wanted, but then if they did there would be no story line - just ignore that question and go with the action. An enjoyable read.

Reading Level 4.5

3 out of 5 Smileys

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