The Tent

ISBN: 0152058338
ISBN 13: 9780152058333
By: Gary Paulsen

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Children Contemporary Currently Reading Fiction Realistic Fiction Religion To Read Ya Young Adult Young Adult Novels

About this book

Teenage Steven and his father, Corey, take to the road with a Bible, an old army tent, and less than the best of intentions. Tired of being poor, Steven's father is certain that preaching the Word of the Lord is the easy way to fame and fortune. But just when they've got their act down pat and the money is rolling in, Steven and Corey begin to realize that what they'd originally thought of as a harmless lie is all about avarice and power and, ultimately, guilt.      Each book includes a reader's guide.

Reader's Thoughts


A great story line but it does not have the action i really wanted, but still a great book.

Jake Sistek

this was a great book the theme was honesty because during the church services the dad and brother used the donation money to their personal gain. the boy was the honest one and did not do that. what the author was trying to say was that say what you mean and don't lie. i recommend it to people who like short reads and good books by Gary Paulsen.

Jared Boothe

This is my favorite book, it's a story of going from being broke and going nowhere to extremely wealthy and self made. The book is about a young 12 year old boy, who's mother passed away living with his run down dead beat father, who one day for some reason stole a bible and hatched a brilliant plan. He decides they are going to travel and be traveling preachers, setting up a huge tent and even hiring some fake crippled people to become "healthy". Over all great book definitely recommended to all.


great book, makes you think

Jenna Cooper

Gary Paulsen CategoryThe Tent by Gary Paulsen is about a boy, Stephen, and his father, Corey, who have been down on their luck. To make money, Corey gets an old army tent and becomes a preacher, scamming people from their money.The Tent is a short book, which in one way is nice because the story is all laid out nice and neat, but on their other hand, the lack of details especially at the end leaves a lot to the building of the story. The growth in this book comes from the father, rather than the son, and quite suddenly to the point that it doesn't make sense. At least, not from the third-person perspective from Stephen. I can't say there was anything unique about this book. It is a quick read, but not much for a memorable one. This book has very simple language and its interest would mainly find itself in the younger demographic of young adults.


Many people rated this book highly, so to be fair, I'm including my reasons for the one star. In this book for youths aged 10-14, the author shines a light on fake preachers. Steven and his dad are without jobs or resources ("We don't have a pot to pee in or a window to throw it out of..."), so his father decides to become an itinerant tent preacher. His father quickly overcomes his biggest hurdle -- not only has he never read the Bible, he doesn't even own one -- by stealing a Gideon Bible from a motel. I was bothered by the amount of money the fake preacher earned by reading copied sermons and parading fake "healings" to his unsuspecting congregations. In the end, reading the Bible to study for his sermons leads him to leave his deceptive, yet lucrative career. Some reviewers of this book feel that his conversion makes this book a wonderful tale of redemption. I am not sure that the ends justify the means, especially when there is no attempt made to repay the innocent believers. The preacher just ends up rich and a believer. Hmmm.

Rain Misoa

So I read this in just one sitting, like it said you could and let me tell you... it was just an okay book. At first, I thought I was going to really hate this book. It didn't start off great at all. In fact, it annoyed me. I have a lot of trouble when it comes to religion type books... not because they are bad but most of them are just downright irritating! I hate books like that! I have no problem with God but I hate it when they start preaching about things that I don't agree with. Like the whole homsexuality thing.But I digress. This one really surprised me. Granted... I still don't like it... but I don't hate it either. It was a fast read. Fairly enjoyable if you can get pass the first few chapters. Other than that, it was alright. Seeing as how it was a short book, it really didn't have enough time for the characters to develop but I suppose that's not really the point of the book. The point is if you start searching for God, you might just find him. An alright read but wouldn't recommend to the highly religious fans.


very good.


A nice story, and a really simple quick read.


Quickest book I have ever read - one sitting almost! Typical of Paulsen - a learning experience. Showed how normal people with a conscience can think twice about scamming others.

Kandyce Barber

I didn't not like the book, it's just short... There wasn't enough time to get to know the characters as well as I like. Also a quick turn around from poor, to rich, to repentant.

Michelle H

Finished today in one sitting while waiting for the bus. It's a sparse, preachy little book (more of a short story really), but not a bad read for an upper elementary schooler. I found it predictable, (especially since I found it in the religious books clearance section), but not unpleasantly so.


- short book about greed, morality, and religion- a poor boy and his father go on the road and preach to collect money for themselves- good lessons - I don't think many kids would enjoy the book- interest level: gr. 6-9- reading level: gr. 6


This was a nice, easy one night read. I liked it, nothing to dramatic but a good life lesson learned.


mom and dad broke up. you (a tweelve year old boy) live in a trailer w/dad and his dead-end life. untildad figures to steal a Bible, a book he's never read and go on the revival circuit and save some souls and make some money.what happens, if after a while, dad actually reads the Book?gary paulsen at his best.

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