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The Map Trap

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  965 ratings  ·  158 reviews
This map-tastic middle grade story from Andrew Clements gives the phrase “uncharted territory” a whole new meaning!

Alton Barnes loves maps. He’s loved them ever since he was little, and not just for the geography. Because maps contain more information than just locations, and that’s why he likes to draw maps as well as read them. Regular “point A to point B” ones, sure, bu
Hardcover, 131 pages
Published July 22nd 2014 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Josey Smith Sorry, Clay, don't mean to be rude but the boy's name is Alton Ziegler.
Josey Smith
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  965 ratings  ·  158 reviews

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Ruth Ann
Aug 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: juvenile, fiction, own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
A friend mentioned on Facebook that this one had stuck with her for days after reading it and I wanted to see what it was all about. It's wonderful. I love the way Clements balances the perspective of students and adults, giving both equal weight without really putting them at odds with each other. The heart of the story is taking ownership for the mistakes that you made, whether it's misjudging a potential friend or including someone in a map that was meant to never be seen. 

For teachers, this
Jun 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
Multiple changes in point of view early on give The Map Trap a different feel from other Andrew Clements novels, but a few chapters in we're back to the single-lens focus of a student's perspective. Sixth-grader Alton Ziegler is a worthy main character, his lifelong fixation on maps enough to set him apart as offbeat, but with a good nature that makes him easy to sympathize with as we follow his story. He's loved studying and designing maps since early grade school, taping them to every open in ...more
Mar 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Alton Zeigler loves maps. His parents chose his name from a list of towns on a map before he was born, and it just started from there. He grew up with maps on his walls and map-related items as presents from friends and family. He likes to draw maps of all kinds, and he even has a secret folder of maps displaying information that others at school might get upset about, like a topographical map of the heights of those in the sixth grade with the tallest girl displayed as a mountain and the smalle ...more
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
I've read a number of Andrew Clements' books and really enjoyed them. Frindle and No Talking are great books, so I was looking forward to this one. But I was disappointed.

The story has a great premise but falls short on delivery. The mystery was over just a few days after it began although Alton still had a little bit of doubt. We get a summary of his entire school year and then the mystery is definitively cleared up.

Alton's interactions with the "mapnapper" did not seem realistic and I though
May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: grades-4-6, audiobook
Since Frindle, Andrew Clements has been a favorite author, and I love the school story genre. He had a few misses in recent years, Above Average for example, but this is a solid book.
Alton Zeigler loves maps, and draws all kinds. He likes to go geocaching and is a neat character. But when his maps, containing potentially embarrassing maps about classmates and teachers go missing, Alton must fess up.
A fun read for upper elementary kids.
Adam Ochoa
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Map Trap by Andrew Clements is about this kid named Alton. He has always loved maps since he was young. He loved them so much he started drawing maps and paying attention to small little details. He put all his secret maps that he liked the most into a folder and he showed no one except himself. When the cool kid named Quint looks at his maps he is interested in them and says their cool he shows them to him and the bell rang and they rush out and Alton forgets his folder. Now it is a race to ...more
Jun 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
As usual when I read Andrew Clements, I was not disappointed. I was twice-thrilled to discover that not only did this young many love maps, he was a geocacher, and this was described and mentioned throughout the book. Very cool! Geocaching is the next-best-thing to letterboxing (IMHO) and I've never seen it mentioned in a book before. Alton is a polite, thoughtful young man who instantly drew me in. The (very) young teacher in this book is so unlike me, but I loved her, as well as Alton's friend ...more
Jul 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
I have loved all of Andrew Clements' books and I was looking forward to reading this one as well. I enjoyed the main character, Alton, who seemed like a nice 6th grade kid who loves maps. He made all kinds of maps, including some that were embarrassing, like a map of his teacher's brain and how many times his principal says "um" while reading the morning announcements. These maps he keeps hidden until he decides to show them to a boy in his class who he thinks might be his friend. Then the maps ...more
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook-reads
A cute, quick read with a little mystery and a little humor. I felt like it was bogged down somewhat by all the descriptions of maps and charts, but that's probably because I'm not all that interested in those things. (Or perhaps because I listened to the audiobook? Maybe the print version has illustrations?) I think it's a great upper-elementary/reluctant reader story, and I like that it has positive messages about not judging others and taking responsibility for your actions.
Laura Haske
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: children, read-alouds
This author understands kids. His books are good read alouds because the chapters are short and the story moves quickly. For a book set in a Chicago suburb, I would expect to see more diversity represented in the characters. It feels more like a small, rural town than a suburb. There are lots of good talking points though, and my son and I both enjoyed it.
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I liked how the book is mainly about maps. I really like maps. It's kind of a mystery book, which I also really liked. At the end, it leaves off on a cliff-hanger because it doesn't tell you who stole Alton's maps. I liked that. it really leaves you thinking about it. The main suspects where Elena, Miss Wheeling, and Quint.
Andrew Nguyen
Dec 28, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was an interesting read. I chose this book because I just want a simple story that isn't really complex like teens and young adult books about drama, love, violence, etc. If you want a simple story, read it.
Heather McC
Feb 21, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile
The best takeaway here is how good it feels to get ahead of a problem before it happens (like apologizing when you know something is about to go public). A fun read, not overly memorable, but still very relevant.
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-alouds, own
Very clever.

This was a read aloud with my youngest son. He was completely drawn in to the story. I know the story is working well for him when he begs and begs me to keep reading to him.

Alton, a 6th grade boy, is obsessed with maps. He wears shirts with maps on them, goes geocaching (Fun! If you've never tried it, I highly recommend it.), decorates his room with maps and other geographical paraphernalia, studies maps, and draws his own maps. Alton has a set of secret maps with revealing facts ab
Ashley Randolph
Jan 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
I wish there had been more illustrations of Alton's non traditional maps. They sounded very interesting.
I felt the behavior of the teacher, first year or not, was incredibly inappropriate and childish. If indeed she was the blackmailer, as Alton believed, she should be fired on the spot. What adult behaves in such a manner? What adult believes that it is appropriate to put a child through that level of stress and potential embarrassment? I had no sense that she had some "grand plan" to impart s
Nov 11, 2015 rated it liked it
This was an incredibly short book that would be a helpful read for both new students in a school, along with undersocialized students within upper elementary and middle school age groups. It's a bit confusing in regards to how the terminology surrounding "maps" are defined within the story - the author didn't appear to spend much time researching this topic for its full possibilities. In many ways, the private "maps" that the protagonist created, then hid, sound like "mind-mapping" strategies, a ...more
"Mapmakers don't make stuff up. They present facts. Because a map isn't really a map if it doesn't deal with facts."

Alton Robert Ziegler was destined to be obsessed with maps. After all, his name came right off an Illinois state map. And his love of maps made him a "very precise thinker and very careful observer.” So, it was only natural that he observed his fellow classmates. What wasn't quite as natural is the idea that he created maps based on those observations. "His secret maps weren't abou
Steven R. McEvoy
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
I am not sure if it was my dyslexia playing a trick on me, but when I picked up this book I thought the title was "The Man Trap" and I wondered where Andrew Clements was going to take us or what lesson he was going to teach in this book. And that is the title I saw until I actually started reading it. This is the seventh book by Andrew Clements I have read in as many weeks. And to be honest I am pacing myself, there is nothing I would like more than to read his whole canon, and yet I am showing ...more
Isaac Blevins
Oct 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Do you remember what middle school was like? Are you living it now? If you do, or if you are, then you know about those moments of panic that sometimes set in. I'm talking about those moments when you fear that someone might discover your deepest secrets...or what you really think...or what you have said. In The Map Trap, Alton Ziegler is having one of those moments. Obsessed with maps, Alton has never been one of the popular kids. When he decides to reach out to one of the kids in his class who ...more
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I LOVE 'school stories' and Clements books are some of my absolute favorites. I wish he wrote higher level books as well, maybe about older kids, middle school age. Most of his books are written about 6th graders in schools where 6th grade is the last year elementary school. The interest level here probably ranges from about 2nd or 3rd grade up to about 7th. Considering this, the reading level is about 3rd grade, maybe 4th. Clements should be writing some longer books ...more
Dawn Moews
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wawba
Alton is more than a map maker; he is a map thinker--a natural result of how his parents chose his first name. Alton pays attention to everything around him, and when he notices patterns of behaviors or other information, he maps it. While the majority of his maps are geographical or topographical in nature, some have to do with people--what his homeroom teacher, Miss Wheeling, thinks about; the heights of his classmates; the correlation between the meals served in the cafeteria and the number o ...more
Dec 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Lexile Level: 900L
Pages: 130
Alton is a map geek; he absolutely loves maps and it can be traced back to the day he was born. His Mom and Dad had not picked a name for him yet and on the way to the hospital his Dad started giving names of places in Illinois and once he said Alton, his Mom said that is it that is his name. They framed the map and put it in his room. After his family members heard the story they bought him globes, map t-shirts, and any unusual maps they can find. Alton start
Oak Lawn Public Library - Youth Services
Lexile Level: 900L
Pages: 130
Alton is a map geek; he absolutely loves maps and it can be traced back to the day he was born. His Mom and Dad had not picked a name for him yet and on the way to the hospital his Dad started giving names of places in Illinois and once he said Alton, his Mom said that is it that is his name. They framed the map and put it in his room. After his family members heard the story they bought him globes, map t-shirts, and any unusual maps they can find. Alton start
Ms. Yingling
Jul 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Alton has had a life-long fascination with maps of all kind. He loves to look at them, hang them in his room, and draw them. He draws maps not only of real places, but of things like his teacher Miss Wheeling's mind, the heights of kids in his class, and charts of the cafeteria food correlated with the number of bathroom trips students make! After Alton tries to impress "cool kid" Quint by showing him the map of Miss Wheeling, the whole folder goes missing. Thinking that Quint has probably taken ...more
Sep 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Alton loves maps. His bedroom is wallpapered with them! He loves drawing them, too, but his own maps are different than road maps. He drew a map of his teacher's brain by noticing how often she talked about dogs, or the metric system, or her little brother, or vacations. He mapped the popularity of various brands of athletic shoes among his classmates, and he made a smell-map of the school: where you would find each of 29 different smells in the building. He made a popularity map of lunch room s ...more
Jayce Senter
Sep 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Originally posted here at In the Senter of it All

How much do I love Andrew Clements’s books? Let me count the ways!

The cover is the biggest drawback to this book. It doesn't do the story justice.

Genre: Realistic
AR level: 5.3
Grade appropriate: 3rd and up

Overall: 5/5--This is another home run from Andrew Clements.

Creativity: 5/5-- I loved the kid obsessed with maps and Andrew Clements’s teachers are always doing things you don’t expect!

Characters: 5/5-- I identified with Alt
Alton Ziegler (the name in this copy of The Map Trap) loves maps...he loves looking at them, studying them and making them. He has made some very interesting "maps" too...brain activity of his teacher, how the lunch on certain days affects bathroom migration, how many kids have divorced parents. He never planned to show these maps to anyone, but when his new best friend seemed interested, he brought them to school. And, then they were promptly stolen! Alton was beside himself looking for them, w ...more
Sep 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids
Thumbs up from the 2nd grader, 5th grader, and Mom. This is similar in many ways to Frindle by the same author. It is set in a school with a smart but quirky pre-teen boy as the main character. I like that the boys in these books may not be perfect and sometimes run into problems with friends or teachers, but they remain good kids and ultimately make mature choices. I like that Alton is good-hearted and honest, and I really appreciated his obsession with demography. It's great that he uses maps ...more
Sep 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
A classic Andrew Clements, who I think is a master at what he does. Sixth-grade Alton is obsessed with maps and is a bit of a loser at school. One day, something compels him to show his secret stash of maps to a more popular kid, Quint. These aren't just geographical maps: they're maps that detail the popularity of the entire sixth grade class; that graph the number of times the principal says "um" during morning announcements; that diagram his teacher's brain based on the off-topic comments she ...more
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I was born in Camden, New Jersey in 1949 and lived in Oaklyn and Cherry Hill until the middle of sixth grade. Then we moved to Springfield, Illinois. My parents were avid readers and they gave that love of books and reading to me and to all my brothers and sisters. I didn’t think about being a writer at all back then, but I did love to read. I'm certain there's a link between reading good books an ...more

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