cover image Worst Class Trip Ever

Worst Class Trip Ever

Sandy Beech. Aladdin Paperbacks, $4.99 (176pp) ISBN 978-0-689-87596-0

The Castaways series sets sail quite jauntily with this tale introducing nine Florida middle school students who embark on an ill-fated trip. After spending five days on a Caribbean island helping to clean up an old trash dump so that the site can be turned into a wildlife refuge, the kids and their scatterbrained science teacher board a small boat and head for home. But the craft hits a coral reef and sinks, stranding the group on a remote island. Given their teacher's deranged state (he became ill after eating a grilled bug and, between long snoozes, he spouts nonsense and sings ""Jingle Bells"" while wandering in the jungle), the youngsters must fend for themselves. Sixth-grader Dani narrates this lighthearted survival story, providing an amusingly acerbic account of the proceedings. She frequently disses bossy Brooke (""Queen Robinson Crusoe"") and blond, perfectly manicured Angela (""Happy-Miss-Pep-Rally""), whom Dani thinks is far too flirtatious toward Josh (""the cutest guy in school""). The tale hits some slow spots-especially after a mutiny dethrones Brooke, and Dani and Angela rather tediously vie for enough votes to become ""president"" of the island. Still, the perky narrator keeps the ride more smooth than rough and readers may well decide to dip into these castaways' next capers, Weather's Here, Wish You Were Great (0-689-87597-5) and Isle Be Seeing You (0-689-87598-3). Ages 8-12.