An 8-year-old boy prepares to have the worst vacation of his life.
To give his parents an opportunity to prepare for a move, young Ronnie (short for Myron) finds himself bound for Grandma and Grandpa’s without Mama for the first time in his life. As if that weren’t bad enough, he’ll be there with his three rowdy, older cousins. Even worse, he has to do “a little work every day,” getting ready for third grade by writing a cumulative letter to his mother. With editorial savvy, he leaves out throwing up in the car and having his bed short-sheeted. He omits the competition he devises with his cousins to see who can wash least, and there is absolutely no way he will tell her everything about the “amazing” time he spends biking in the backyard with his cousins—sans helmets. Though he is clearly settling in, he is apprehensive about the final day, on which he will have to dive from the high diving board, a family tradition. Exacerbating this is the fact that he has his older brother’s much-too-big “bathing costume” (Grandma’s language). Moundlic’s tale of bourgeoning self-confidence is on the lengthy side, but it resonates with emotional truth. Tallec’s gentle watercolors capture Ronnie’s misery, the beauty of the French countryside, the energy of a summer with cousins and Ronnie’s bare-bottomed triumph.
“I want to have exactly the same vacation next year,” he concludes. Who wouldn’t? (Picture book. 6-9)