A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever
by Marla Frazee
Harcourt Children's Books
Two boys, James and Eamon. A cabin on the beach. A nature camp. Sounds perfect, right?
Well, of course. Especially when the cabin belongs to Eamon's indulgent grandparents, Bill and Pam, who have their own quirks and a fondness for penguins.
Frazee's narration and pictures don't line up exactly, to hilarious effect: when James shows up with a few items, we see a mountain of boxes. He's never been away before. And when the text says he's sad to see his mother go, we see him waving with enthusiasm. The narration flows along what perhaps Bill and Pam or other adults (that's probably us) might like to see, while the art shows the boys tussling or play-acting or watching TV until their eyes bug out.
They're not trouble-makers; it's all innocent, boyish fun, involving lots of make believe and sleepovers and heaps of ice cream. Oh, and penguins.
Frazee has a light touch for kids' humor, focusing on key details and mood in her art, where the two boys come to resemble each other even as Bill merges their names into Jamon. The text's in all caps, and looks handwritten in the same black pencil Frazee uses for her meticulous lines that create shadow or link illustrations or outline the boys skinny, constantly moving bodies.
The narration is also rich in detail, fleshing out its simple premise with the trivia of the boys' days, maintaining its earnest, sincere tone even as the boys make a hash of things.
Other books by Frazee reviewed here.