a couple of boys have the best week ever

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Get ready for a fun story time today! We're reading A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee. This picture book tells the story of two boys who go to nature camp together. It received a Caldecott honor in 2009. And it is pretty much the best book ever!


In the story, James spends a week during summer vacation with his friend Eamon at Eamon's grandparents' house so that the two friends can go to nature camp together. Don't they look happy on the cover? Picture perfect nature campers - that's James and Eamon.

Uh, nope. Through their fixed smiles, James is saying to Eamon, "How long do we have to stand here and smile?" and Eamon's saying, "Only for this picture and then we can go back to being normal." Oh, yeah, I think I'm going to like these kids.

The narration takes no notice of the boys' real feelings. It continues along, explaining how upset poor James was when his mother dropped him off.


Nope, wrong again. Frazee does such a wonderful job showing us the child's perspective in the illustrations. The text is telling us one thing, but James and Eamon see things a little differently than the text.

Okay, so this here's a book about an awesome week at nature camp, right? Show me some trees and nature stuff!


Nope, no nature stuff. Heh, heh, nutty kids. Can you blame them? The boys come home, we see them eat heaping mounds of ice cream, watch loads of tv, have waffles for dinner, and jump up and down on the blow-up mattress before going to bed. 

Alright, here comes day two. Now the fun is going to start and we're gonna see some nature stuff.


Nope. Giggle, er, ahem, I'm beginning to sense a pattern here. When the kids get back home, we see them play video games and eat more waffles. Then they "enjoy the beach together."


Ha! That sounds just like my kids!

On the next page, the text sums up the week: "Nature camp was just so great." What?! Nature camp is almost over and I haven't seen any trees at all!

That's right, this book isn't about nature camp at all. Oh sure, the week of nature camp was the best week ever, but what made it so great was the fact that they spent it together. James and Eamon tell us that nature camp was sweaty and boring but we can see on their faces that it's fun to be sweaty and bored with your best friend. Especially if you can come home afterward and eat banana waffles. This book celebrates all those things that kids really love about summer. The seemingly mundane things that they tell you about when you ask them "What did you do over the summer?" Do they tell you about the big trip the family took? Nope. The books they read? Nope. They tell you that they had the best week ever doing a million things and nothing with their best friend. And that they can't wait to go to nature camp again next year.

There are some special moments in the book that the kids share with Eamon's grandparents that I haven't told you about, so check out the book and discover them for yourself! And be sure to take a close look at the end pages. Frazee has made them look like a scrapbook filled with snapshots of the boys at nature camp. (Yay! Nature stuff!) Turns out, James and Eamon didn't just sweat and stare at flowers. They had plenty of fun there as well. Together.


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This page contains a single entry by Alison published on August 13, 2011 10:04 PM.

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