Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee

James and Eamon are heading to Nature Camp. Woo-Hoo!!! Nature Camp!!! And they get to stay with Bill and Pam, Eamon's grandparents, who live on the beach.

Except the story never makes it to Nature Camp. We see the boys riding in Bill's jeep on the way to camp. We see them returning from camp in Bill's backseat with pith helmets, binoculars, and pine cone pets. But readers never see Nature Camp. How can this be the best week ever?

There's evidence that Jamon (as Bill calls James and Eamon since they do everything together) has been to Nature Camp. There's feather necklaces, birdhouses, bird masks, and explorer's flags. And the boys complain. "I think it should be called Sit-Around Camp," says James. "Yeah, or Sweat-a-Lot Camp," says Eamon.

But there's more than evidence. There's actual, photographic proof of their week at Nature Camp. Readers will just have to look carefully for it.

If you just read the text, you get one story. If you just look at the pictures and speech bubbles, you get another. When you put them together you get "He was very sad when his mother drove away" next to a picture of James, smiling broadly, waving, and yelling, "BYE!" Sometimes the text alone seems downright educational. "James and Eamon learned a lot of new vocabulary words while Bill drove." Nature words? Transportation terms? Next to the picture of Bill's jeep and the driver's side speech bubble that reads, "@#%&!" you understand the full meaning.

A Couple of Boys [certainly do] Have the Best Week Ever. Not only at camp, but also with Eamon's grandparents. From the sound of Bill and Pam's snores on Friday evening and the hugs all around on Saturday morning, it's pretty evident they had a great week too.

And what do you have to lose? The book costs a quarter! Just see the cover. (In case you can't read the small print, it reads, "you wish."

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