From the legendary author of Hatchet, a laugh-out-loud misadventure about a boy, his free-thinking dad, and the puppy-training pamphlet that turns their summer upside down.
Twelve-year-old Carl is fed up with his father's single-minded pursuit of an off-the-grid existence. His dad may be brilliant, but dumpster-diving for food, scouring through trash for salvageable junk, and wearing clothes fully sourced from garage sales is getting old. Increasingly worried about what schoolmates and a certain girl at his new school might think of his circumstances—and encouraged by his off-kilter best friend—Carl adopts the principles set forth in a randomly discovered puppy-training pamphlet to “retrain” his dad’s mindset . . . a crackpot experiment that produces some very unintentional results.
This is a fierce and funny novel about family, green-living, and untangling some of the ties that bind from middle-grade master Gary Paulsen.
Gary Paulsen (1939–2021) wrote more than two hundred books for children and adults, including the father-son comedy How to Train Your Dad, and the survival adventure Northwind. Three of his novels—Hatchet, Dogsong, and The Winter Room—were Newbery Honor books. In 1997, he received the ALA’s Margaret A. Edwards Award for his contribution to young adult literature. His books have sold over 35 million copies around the world.
“Breezy and light, with a grounding touch of tenderness, this is both an entertaining solo read and a solid suggestion for family sharing.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“Newbery Honoree Paulsen, renowned for his tales of survival, revisits the humor and hijinks found in his Liar, Liar series. Carl’s hang-dog descriptions of having to wear pink overalls and ride an ‘original creation’ bike are funny and endearing, and eternal optimist Pooder is the perfect sidekick to perpetually resigned Carl. And underneath the training mishaps is a sweet story about a kid who figures out that his life—and his dad—may not be so bad after all.” —Publishers Weekly
“A comical take on the value of ‘positive reinforcement’ that's as perceptive as it is playful.” —Booklist
“The tall-tale, anecdotal quality of Carl’s story is entertaining with its recitation of disastrous, smelly, embarrassing, dangerous, and misguided moments . . . Funny, sure-handed, wise.” —Kirkus Reviews