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Customer Reviews

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on February 26, 2008
A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever is as merry and timeless as Robert McCloskey's Blueberries for Sal. James and Eamon, best friends, go to visit Eamon's grandparents, Bill and Pam, at the beach for a week during the summer. During the day, Bill has the boys attend nature camp as he loves everything to do with nature, especially cold places with penguins. The boys don't exactly love camp. As a matter of fact, you never actually see the boys at camp throughout the story. You only see Bill driving them to and from camp with the boys making sarcastic comments in the backseat (see the endpapers for some pictures of the boys at camp). James and Eamon would much rather stay at Bill and Pam's playing video games, eating ice cream icebergs and banana waffles, and turning their blow-up mattress into a trampoline. In other words, they don't want to do much of anything. Heck, they don't even want to change their shorts throughout the week. For James and Eamon, the best week ever consists of an air mattress in the downstairs bedroom, fun food, and the company of a best friend. It's just that simple. Now, where do I sign up for a vacation like that?

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on February 19, 2008
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 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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on February 12, 2009
A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever
Is a good book and is very funny. It amuses people all ages. My whole class laughed at it. The two boys are named James and Eamon and go to Eamon's grand parents.
They want to stay at their house eat junk food and play video games, but Bill, James grandfather loves nature most of all in cold places with penguins so sends them to camp. In the book you never actually see them at camp, but only going to camp.
A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever
is full of humor and is definitely worth getting.
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on June 28, 2013
I really wanted to love this book. I really, really did because I love her other work so much.

This book, though, just seems like an 'inside joke' kind of thing. She wrote it about an experience with her own family, and it feels that way. I feel like this book should have stayed within her family. Love Marla Frazee, but this is not her best public work. I would return it if my son didn't already tear a page.
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on October 15, 2013
My 5 year old son first discovered this book in our local library. After renewing it all summer long and reading it repeatedly, I thought we should add it to our book collection. The illustrations combined with the story are hysterical, not just for kids, but their adults too. "Jamon" reminds me of my son and his buddy and all their adventures. These two silly boys show their appreciation for their special summer vacation caregivers at the end of the story in the sweetest way. This is a great storybook!
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on December 7, 2008
Marla Frazze's best picture book to date. A seamless blend of pictures and text. Laugh out loud funny and a great choice for ages 4-10. When you read the text, keep in mind that Frazee hand wrote every word in the book.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon April 2, 2012
I first looked at this book because we have two grandsons who are cousins and the same age and stay with us from time to time for a fun break. They think the book is more or less about them, which is swell. The book is fun, but it isn't as charming as it could be or as insightful or creative as it could be. I think that's mostly because the boys aren't that well developed and the story pretty much just rolls along until it's time for it to be over. That said, it is novel, it is engaging, and it adds a little variety to the bookshelf.
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on May 8, 2009
Oh the hilarity! If you are the parents of young boys or even if you just appreciate a little irony, this is the book for you!

James is going to his friend Eamon's grandparents house for a week to attend nature camp. The boys are already friends, but the soon become inseparable. So much so, that Bill (Eamon's grandpa) starts referring to them as Jamon to save time! Grandpa Bill loves nature and would love to visit Antarctica to see the penguins. Grandma Pam prefers people to penguins.

The basic premise of the book is simple, the illustrations are done in a cartoon-like way which will attract young children, and definitely target the little guys with this one! They'll appreciate how much they are like James and Eamon, and adults will love reading this one aloud with their kids, because they may get more out of the humor than the kids do! I love it when the words of the text tell you one thing and the pictures are a completely different story.

Suffice it to say, although the boys think nature camp is dull and boring (which the illustrations will disprove) they still want to go back next year!
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VINE VOICEon February 8, 2012
Although this book is rather unorthodox for a Caldecott winner, I can see why this book might be honored. It is set up like a comic book, even with a "25 cents (you wish)" posted in the corner. The insider is full of bright cartoon-like drawings of the main characters James and Eamon. The two boys are staying at Eamon's grandparents' house during their week at nature camp. James and Eamon are real little boys, not romanticized or idealized. When Bill, Eamon's grandfather, suggests going to the museum of natural history, they rather stay home and play. When Bill rolls out a map of Antartica, James and Eamon can be seen wrestling playfully on the floor, oblivious. When coming back to the grandparents' house after nature camp one day, they can be seen using their binoculars to look at each others' faces up close. However, don't misunderstand James and Eamon. They are not bratty characters- they're just innocent boys being little boys. Both boys and girls can relate to wanting some free time to just be kids. Towards the end of the story, they do finally connect with nature in a rather poignant way in the most visually striking illustration of the book.
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on January 30, 2010
My son is 3 and I got this book for him. He has enjoyed it, but it hasn't necessarily been one that he pulls out every day to read. However, this has to be one of my favorite books on the shelf! It is about a couple boys who go to one of their grandparents for "nature camp". The gprnts keep wanting to take them to museums, but the boys don't want to go. Gpa keeps trying to teach them about Antarctica, but the boys want to do boy things. By the end of the week they end up building a little Antarctica on their own out of rocks and sticks. The way it is written keeps me laughing.
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