A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever

by Marla Frazee

Hardcover, 2008

Call number

E F

Publication

Clarion Books (2008), 40 pages

Description

Friends James and Eamon enjoy a wonderful week at the home of Eamon's grandparents during summer vacation.

User reviews

LibraryThing member delzey
James and his friend Eamon are going to Nature Camp for a week. It's a day camp near Eamon's grandparent's beach front house where the boys spend their week. If you want to see what they did at camp all you need to read are the endpapers which are snapshots of their time at camp. Their best week
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ever happened at Bill and Pam's (Eamon's grandparent's) house.

Bill's a nice old guy who has traveled the world, loves penguins, and wants to talk about Antarctica all the time. The boys couldn't care less. Pam's cooking is better than anything the boys get at home, but probably because all she serves them is banana waffles. The boys stay in the basement, sleep on an inflatable mattress that serves as a fort, a trampoline, and a couch for their video game playing. They wear the same shorts all week long.

James and Eamon are boys, true boys, marginally overseen by adults, living the summer that boys dream of. Their week over, the boys look out over the ocean at night, feeling something they can't articulate. But they know what to do: they collect driftwood, small rocks and mussel shells and assemble a miniature Antarctica complete with penguins on the deck. They hug Pam and Bill and hope they can go to Nature Camp again soon.

Frazee knows boys. At the very least she knows these boys, and she knows that with boys everything is indirect. Bill asks them if they want to go see the penguin exhibit at the zoo, they boys say they'll think about it, and then they run away. They aren't trying to be rude, they're just boys doing what boys do, which is run away from conflict. I don't have a problem with this, because Frazee presents this with the same carefree attitude that boys bring with them. At the very end of their week when the boys don't know how to address their feelings of sorrow they do what boys do best: they build things, the express their feeling physically.

I'm on the fence between calling this a good picture book and a great picture book. It's heart is in the right place, the humor is dry and authentic, but I'm left feeling like their best week ever needed a little more of an anchor, maybe one or two more activities to solidify their week. Their days are taken up with Nature Camp -- which is never shown, and I'm fine with that -- but I wish they'd had more time at Pam and Bill's to build or create or invent some week-long project that could mirror the building of their summer friendship.

Will boys like it? Probably. Will they get it? Maybe. Does it matter? Nope.
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LibraryThing member tpedroza
James and Eamon spend a week together, visiting Eamon's grandparents, Bill and Pam, who live at the beach. They attend nature camp, but the best part of their week is spending so much time together and being loved up and Bill and Pam. The message that this story conveyed was that friends, not
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places or things or activites, make things special.
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LibraryThing member morgantk
The characters were developed with lots of detail. I could see many boys in my classroom easily relating to and connecting with the two boys in the story. The flow of the plot did not seem smooth. I wondered if the story contained inside jokes or other background material because a couple times I
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struggled to understand and had to reread the text.
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LibraryThing member elle0467
Excellent book! A book about a summer week adventure for two best friends James and Eamon as they kill time at Eamon's grandparent's house. It is not till the last day that they finally find something constructive to do however, they have fun the whole entire week.
-This book is great for a good
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laugh and for teaching kids the importance of friendship
-Can be used from grades k - 5
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LibraryThing member APoteet
Eamon and James revel in the joy of having a best friend who wants to do exactly what you do. The clever, dead-on illustrations play off the straightforward text and add another level of meaning and humor.
LibraryThing member ktibbs
This would be a great book to use as part of a unit on writing picture books with upper elementary students. It has such great sarcasm that upper elementary students are beginning to develop within themselves. It is also a great example of how pictures in a picture book can truly add to and enhance
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the reader's understanding of the author's message.
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LibraryThing member amycampbell
What an endearing story about two boys, nature camp and a week with the grandparents. Children can relate to this,, trying to act excited about activity ideas given by their grandparents, when really all they want to do is play video games. The text tells the story parents would want to hear but
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the illustrations tell a story of their own, what two boys are actually thinking. I love the dialog between James and Eamon, too funny!
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LibraryThing member LDB2009
This book is a fun read and can also be considered more of a kid's fiction book rather than a simple picture book. Kids--especially boys--can relate to this story. James and Eamon are staying at Eamon's grandparent's house and find their best times in the things boys enjoy most...waffles, video
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games, and horseplay. The illustrations are very kid-friendly and subtle humor is hidden among the pictures when they don't actually match the words. I would use this book to introduce sarcasm to my students (if I haven't displayed enough of it) as a literary element and one way humor can be hidden within the illustrations.
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LibraryThing member LanaLee123
Talk about a book with a whole lot of personality! This is apparent immediately by simply spotting the “price tag” on the front cover that says “25 cents (you wish).” Half of the humor is directed toward the adult reading the book, which probably makes it inappropriate for the classroom,
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but a fun one for guardians and their kids. For example, on one page car with the dialogue bubble “#*%*” is accompanied by the text: “James and Eamon learned a lot of new vocabulary words while Bill drove.”
The rest of the book is filled with plenty of dry humor. It is almost as if the author intended the pictures to be for the child and the text, for the adult.
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LibraryThing member multilingualmaid
James and Eamon are staying with Eamon’s grandparents while they attend nature camp during the summer. These two best friends have a blast while going to camp, eating banana pancakes, and just being silly. They also decide to do something very special for Eamon’s grandfather which turns out to
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be one of the best parts of their already awesome week.
The author depicts a humorous and heartwarming example of friendship. In addition to the traditional text that moves the story along, she uses cartoon-like conversation bubbles so that readers can “listen in” on conversations between James and Eamon, which are always interesting and often funny.
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LibraryThing member laceyfield
Summary:
This was about two young boys who go to a nature camp for a week. Eamon, whose grandparents lived near the camp, and James were best friends but they hated nature camp and all they wanted to do was eat junk food and watch television. Eamon’s grandpa kept trying to get the boys more
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involved by taking them to a penguin exhibit, but they kept turning him down. Finally, on the last day, the boys make a huge replica of Antarctica and penguins out on the beach and become more into nature.

Personal Reaction:
I thought this book was hilarious. It shows typical little boys who love to make messes and watch TV. The pictures showed the sarcasm of the story, which some children would not understand.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. This would be a great book to read on the first or last day of school because it talks about summer break and camps.
2. I loved the pictures in this book. I could introduce shading and line techniques through the pictures.
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LibraryThing member alliek710
This would be a good read-aloud book because it would keep kids' attention and make them laugh.
LibraryThing member danusia
Thank you snozberry. I love Marla Frazee and the illustrations in this book are awesome, very funny. But I too had to re-read the first page three times before I could figure out who's who! If the illustrations weren't so engaging I would have given up. Did she mean to confuse us? Some of the
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sarcasm and humor will go right over the younger listener's head but the idea that the boys made their own fun is a good one. Sorry, only three stars from me.
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LibraryThing member mchristman
This is a good example of realistic fiction because it could be true and the reader can relate to it. James and Eamon go to nature camp, but have the most fun at Eamon's grandparents house.

Theme: This book is good example of an implicit theme because the author does not actually state it. The boys
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stay inside and play video games all day, but they end up having the most fun on the last night when they play outside and make a penguin habitat.

Age Appropriateness: Primary
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LibraryThing member GaylDasherSmith
Fun and raucus times with two real kids.
LibraryThing member neilliej
When Jim and Eamon visit Eamon's grandparents for a week of nature camp, the two find that they aren't as concerned with nature as much as Eamon's grandfather wishes they were. In fact, his grandfather can't stop talking about penguins and Antarctica. Even though the week doesn't go exactly as
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planned, the boys have a wonderful time. They have fun at bedtime, played video games, built tents and watched tv. On their last night of nature camp, the two boys discover that they haven't spent much time in nature. So, they go outside and by the moonlight build a wonderful creation for Eamon's grandparents to see. In the morning they show their proud creation of Antarctica to Eamon's grandparents, who absolutely love it! Then, the boys happily waddle off like penguins.
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LibraryThing member pumabeth
The story contains an interesting subtext of light humor. The somewhat sophisticated or formal language of the narration is juxtaposed across the actual dialogue, which appears in speech bubbles. For instance, the narration reads, "James and Eamon discussed their options" while the actual speech
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bubbles state "Do you want to go?" "No." In another scene, the boys "described their first nature camp day," but the bubbles reveal the boys' feelings: "I thought you are supposed to ... hike," "Not stand and look at some flower for an hour." The pictures also reveal entertaining contrasts. As the boys peer through binoculars to look at birds, they look at freckles instead. As the boys practice "quiet meditation," they actually play video games. At one point, the grandmother worries that the boys will be lonely, but the pictures put all worries to rest. They are surrounded by an army of stuffed animals.
Classroom uses: Children could identify the differences between the narration and the actual speech. They could discuss the differences between expectations and reality. They could also create their own nature exhibits.
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LibraryThing member hshell
This book kept my interest and I believe it would do the same for children. It has many humorous parts which keeps the book flowing very easily. The topic shows true friendship and talks about enjoying nature even when video games and movies are an option..
LibraryThing member caitsm
Two friends (Eamon and James) go to nature camp at Eamon's grandparents house for a week where they don't enjoy nature, but all the luxuries of being inside. Finally at the end of the week they find an appreciation and have a surprise for Eamon's grandparents. Nice illustrations and very funny
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captions. Fun for both boys and girls.
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LibraryThing member lalenaz
James and Eamon visited Eamon's grandparents for a week of nature camp. The two boys found out that they are not that much fond of the nature, but the boys had a wonderful time together. The grandfather tried his best to get the boys interested in nature. On the other hand the boys did everything
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else. They played video games, and watched t.v. At the end of their week of nature, the boys made Antarctica and penguins habitat. This book has humor in it and the illustrations are the strong point of the book; they are very expressive and whatever is missing in the text the illustrations for sure cover them.
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LibraryThing member theCajunLibrarian
This witty book entertains young readers and including those with advanced reading skills as much of the humor and backstory of characters is written sarcastically. The story follows the daily delights of attending nature camp, nurturing a relationship with grandparents, and the growing friendship
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between the two main characters.
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LibraryThing member annashapiro
In this book, two boys spend so much time together they combine their names! Eamon & James = Jamon. Jamon thinks nature camp is more like 'sit around, sweaty' camp. They do their own thing until the end of the week when the creative stick hits Jamon & they build a world of Antartica with penguins
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made of mussel shells. A great book! And MMM, banana waffles.
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LibraryThing member JeneenNammar
4 to 8 years old. With A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever (Harcourt, 2008) Marla Frazee creates a funny and heart warming picture book perfect for enjoying summer themes. In it, two best friends attend a summer nature camp and stay at one of the friend's grandparents' beach house. They have a
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week of doing exactly what they like, but by the end they interest themselves in an activity that will particularly touch the host grandparents' hearts. Frazee's understated text deliberately mismatches her illustrations for amusement's sake and each page offers multiple jokes. Marla Frazee also offers her customary detailed illustrations so that different aspects can be discovered and enjoyed over several readings. From a gigantic bowl of popcorn to extra large sundaes, kids will enjoy pouring over her detailed images as usual, but even more so because of the summer theme. One only wishes the main character boys, who must be 5 to 8, looked their age. Instead of looking like one of her bigger boy characters from The Seven Silly Eaters, they have sparse hair styles reminiscent of baby characters from Everywhere Babies. But this can be overlooked in the fun of enjoying the story. This book is highly recommended for public library collections, and read aloud time for teachers right before summer break. And it's the perfect book for the library to display at the outset of summer.
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LibraryThing member patricia_poland
Great "boy" story! While spending a week at Eamon's grandparents' two boys attend a nature day camp -- but it is the time not at the day camp that is the real fun. Though they originally resisted the idea of going with Eamon's grandpa to the penguin exhibit when the end of the week comes they
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recreate Antarctica and penguins out of seashells on the deck - Grandpa is pleased and it turned out to be the 'bestest' time of the week.
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LibraryThing member EmilyJayneMann
This book is great for children scared to go away from their parents. It takes them through an experience with the character where he has fun even though he thought he wouldn't. He goes to nature camp and makes great friends.

Awards

Caldecott Medal (Honor Book — 2009)
Boston Globe–Horn Book Award (Honor — Picture Book — 2008)
Monarch Award (Nominee — 2011)
Kentucky Bluegrass Award (Nominee — Grades K-2 — 2010)

Pages

40

ISBN

0152060200 / 9780152060206

Lexile

L
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