A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever
by Marla Frazee
read May 2009
Hmmm…where to start with this one. I will be honest, this book didn’t really do it for me. I picked it up for one reason, it was one of this year’s Caldecott Honor books.
This book is kind of illustrated in a comic book fashion and has a lot of little side notes and “jokes” written within the illustrations. For example, on the cover there is a “price sticker” in the corner that says “25 (cents…I can’t figure out how to make the cents sign on my computer right now!)” then underneath in parentheses it says “you wish”. Maybe if this book was given to a 1st or 2nd grader to read…I dunno, not my cup of tea.
The story is about two boys, James and Eamon, who go away to nature camp for a week. They stay with James’s grandparents and attend camp during the day.
Bill, James’s grandfather, is extremely interested in Antarctica and wants to take the boys to the museum very badly. He asks them several times in the book and they turn him down every time. I just thought, “if my kids did that I’d be upset they were being rude.”
Then came the part that I had to make up something to tell my daughter. While Bill is driving them to nature camp down a long and curvy road, “James and Eamon learned a lot of new vocabulary words while Bill drove.” Then in a speech bubble it says, “@#%&!”, obviously standing for the naughty words Bill was using. I told my daughter he was teaching them nature words. In my opinion, inappropriate for a children’s picture book.
Next, when they return from nature camp, James and Eamon are hungry so Pam makes them “coffee ice-cream icebergs with hard chocolate sauce on top”. In the next picture the boys are zoned out in front of the tv with swirlys for eyes with the page saying “and it made them look at everything more carefully.” Again, in my opinion, inappropriate for a children’s picture book.
There were positive parts of the book. James and Eamon have a great time and become great friends. They do everything together and I remember what it was like to have a friend like that when I was younger. They decide to do something nice for Bill. Using seashells, they make him a mini Antarctica, complete with penguins and icebergs.
So, I think it’s pretty clear I didn’t like this book. I don’t consider myself to be super-sensitive when it somes to children’s book. Natasha @ mawbooks.com recently did a review of Chicken Butt by Erica Perl, and I thought it was hilarious. This was different. I never want to tell anyone not to read a book. This is merely my opinion of this particular one…you make your own.
Again, this book recieved a 2009 Caldecott Honor.