I read this book to my 12-yr. old daughter and 15-yr. old son at the beginning of the summer. It was a fun, easily readable story that zipped along - perfect for summer, and perfect for sharing as a family. I liked hearing my kids laugh out loud at the character of Josh, who was always saying or doing something funny, or hearing them gasp "Oh, no" when sensing that persistent, intrepid Trip was about to be caught doing something he shouldn't. The storyline with the bully Eli was a bit over-the-top, my kids thought - but I have to say that it provided some of the "uh-oh" moments that I mentioned, and one hilarious scene involving Eli, Josh and a fork. Trip's affection and concern for his grandfather is touching, and the sweet but awkward romantic feelings between Trip and Sara made my kids both smile and squirm with a bit of embarrassment. I think they put themselves in Trip's shoes as we read, and it's always good thing to identify with the main character.
We recently talked about what they enjoyed about the book. Here is what my kids had to say about GASPARILLA'S TREASURE:
* It's funny
* It's like NATIONAL TREASURE with kids as the characters
* Trip is the adventurous one, Sarah is smart, and Josh adds humor
* It incorporates the history of St. Augustine
* Recommend for 4th grade - 8th grade
I would think that a more reluctant reader would be pulled in to the story of GASPARILLA'S TREASURE, because Scott Clements has a knack for spinning a fun story with engaging characters.