Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Couple of Boys have the Best Week Ever (copy)

This week we are off to day camp. Yippee! So, run off and grab your backpacks with lunch and wet wipes, and let’s see if we can drive those counselors crazy. Okay, I’ll start and you guys join in, “Three little angels all dressed in white, trying to get to heaven on an end of a kite…”

Camp, the word still fills me with all kinds of excitement. Whether it 4-H or Vacation Bible School, I was usually the first one on the bus ready to get on with it. I sang the loudest, talked the most, devised the late night raids, led the hikes, and became the counselor(s) best friend or it seemed since they all called me by name. Naturally, I collapsed in my bed at the end of the day.

In A Couple of Boys have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee, young readers experience camp through first timers, James and Eamon. The opening illustration depicts James in the back of a car on his way to Eamon’s grandparents’ house at the beach. He sits happily thumbing through the Nature Day Camp brochure.

On the next page, Eamon sits anxiously on the end of the cushions between his grandparents, Bill and Pam. Bill is credited for the idea of camp and getting the boys together. He loves nature and especially penguins. Throughout the book, Bill tries unsuccessfully to get the boys to join him on a trip to the zoo to see his favorite creatures. Quick note to the adult readers, be sure to notice Bill’s ever changing tee-shirts as the subtle humor will be lost on younger readers.

Ding-Dong! Finally, the boys are united and become one as Bill quickly coins them Jamon. Next morning and they are off to camp where they learn new vocabulary words from Bill which have nothing to do with penguins. On the return trip they tell Bill about their day. It was a day full of standing around, looking at flowers; although, snapshots, lining the book’s jacket, tell a whole other story.

At the end of the week, the boys praise the camp with, “I think it should be called Sit-Around Camp.” “Yeah, or Sweat-a-Lot Camp.” But, to look at the illustration, one sees them surrounded by four different crafts they made that Friday alone. Just when you think the book is winding down, the boys surprise readers with an impromptu display. I will not give it away, but I never saw it coming!

There is a multi-generational appeal to this picture book and I believe adults sans children will have a great afternoon reading this one, too.

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