A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee
(Harcourt, 2008), ages 5 and up, 40 pp.
See those two boys on the cover of this new picture book? Their names are James and Eamon and I officially love them.
They go to Eamon’s grandparents’ house in Malibu so they can attend nature camp.
They do not like nature.
But they do like playing video games, watching TV, and eating Pam’s (the grandma’s) banana waffles and coffee ice cream icebergs.
They wear the same shorts all week.
They romp, run, jump, dash, tumble, crawl, march, sip and spin through this exuberant and funny summer story.
They do not like nature.
They know what summer is for.
They are clever, creative, and mindful of their elders.
They make penguins out of mussel shells and rocks, touching Bill’s (the grandpa’s) heart.
They like nature in their own way.
They are 100% boy.
They are best buddies, always and forever.
Marla Frazee has captured the essence of summer and friendship in this perfectly pitched picture book, which is part narrative, part scrapbook, part comic book. Based on the real-life experiences of her son, James, and her editor, Allyn Johnston’s son, Eamon, this story will appeal to a wide range of ages because of its accessible humor and oh-so-familiar premise.
Kids will love how the words say one thing, and the pictures another. They will want to visit Bill and Pam at the beach, ride in Bill’s red jeep up and down the mountain, and pounce on the blow-up mattress. They will want, in short, to read this book over and over again.
A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever has received starred reviews from School Library Journal, Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. I guess it’s pretty unanimous, then. This is THE book to jump-start your summer. Better stock up on bananas.
Even more exciting, the one and only Marla Frazee will be dropping by alphabet soup in several weeks for a SOUP’S ON interview! To celebrate this highly anticipated event, here is Marla’s recipe for Fudge Pie, which is included in Writers in the Kitchen, compiled by Tricia Gardella (Boyds Mills Press, 1998). This is one of the most enjoyable recipes I’ve ever read.
People, at this very moment I am wrapping my lips around a warm bite of this death-by-fudge pie. It’s sinful, rich, and has turned me into a totally shameless chocolate pusher. You must try this. Ecstasy never came so easy!
2 squares Bakers chocolate or 3 T cocoa
1 stick butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla
4 pinches salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Melt Bakers chocolate or cocoa and butter in saucepan. Then add remaining ingredients.
Fudge pie is best when it’s already past your bedtime. Your parents are exhausted and staring at the TV. You sneak into the kitchen and begin melting the butter and chocolate in a saucepan.
Your parents call out, “What are you doing in there?”
Say, “Nothing!” Stir until melted.
Add the sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla, salt and nuts to the same pan. Quickly pour this goop into an 8-inch pie pan, and put it on the top rack of the oven for 25 minutes at 350 F.
Your parents call out, “Hey, what’s all the racket?”
Now you can answer with, “I made fudge pie!”
Of course, they won’t send you to bed now. They’ll make room for you on the couch. You snuggle in next to them, but not for long, because fudge pie tastes best when it’s slightly moist, like a brownie.
Get it out of the oven.
Eat it topped with ice cream, or just plain, along with a glass of milk.
Don’t worry about the dishes.
Your parents wil do them after you go to bed.
**Edited to add: Congratulations to Marla on winning a 2008 Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Award for this book! Yay for James and Eamon and Bill and Pam!!