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.


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.


very good.


Interesting novella. Good story, but well flushed our.


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.

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. It felt rushed. A more fleshed out story and time for things to evolve would have made it a more memorable story. It really does touch on a lot of religious and moral issues. I think Paulsen's views get across but in a "oh, wait...I guess that did happen" kind of way.

Brandon Roberts

this boy and his dad and family were poor and his dad was tired of working and had a good friend who started talking about god and got a letter in mail he was doing good and had a picture of him all rich and his dads like im going to start talking about Jesus so he got a tent and family members to help and they started and got money and spent it and just kept going until his son started feeling bad about taking the peoples money and want to stop and not take there money anymore but his dad wouldn't listen.

Kara Roberts

I would love to recommend this book to a middle school boy with a lower reading level. This book is an easier read and easy to follow. I believe that many low-income boys would really relate to the boy in this story. Fighting for survival and for a better life, seems to be very relatable. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to my class.

Hailey Story

The theme of this book is trials. An example of this would be that a son and a father are having tough times with money and so they go through a few trials to make it work. Another example is once they have decided to preach in their tent the begin to start making a lot of money and the father starts to spend it all on stupid things they don't need in stead of thing s they do need. I think the author wrote this book explaining that everything will be ok in the end if you just work it out. A symbol in this book would be the tent and its showing that even though you don't have a lot of money you can make things work out and if using a tent for a church is the best you can do then do it. This book is good for people to read if their having hard times and just need to know its all going to be ok in the end.

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.

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.


A nice story, and a really simple quick read.

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.


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.

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