The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash Book Poster Image

The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash



Raucous story of a wild school outing.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The kids act like maniacs on the field trip and pay no consequences.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the kids suffer no consequences for their rotten behavior. The story's slapstick quality and the sharply drawn, waggish illustrations keep a read-aloud audience's interest.

Parents say

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What's the story?

A class field trip to a farm turns into a broad comic episode when a student releases a boa constrictor in the hen house. Mayhem (and humor) increases page by page in Trinka Noble's raucous story of how not to conduct yourself on a school outing.


Is it any good?


Cause and effect gets spirited, comic treatment in this no-holds-barred romp. The cumulative story gathers energy as it steamrolls right through the poor old farm. Certain elements of the story are left curiously unresolved, though.

The children suffer no repercussions for their rotten behavior: They, and their teacher, simply hotfoot it from the farm, wreckage in their wake. Leaving Jimmy's boa constrictor could certainly be understood by some readers as abandonment, no matter how well the snake is subsequently treated. And the young narrator's blasé delivery of events to her mother is too uncaring, dampening the humor rather than heightening it by contrast. Steven Kellogg's artwork is like first aid for these hanging questions and distractions -- his watercolor washes soften the hysteria, and his pen work is detailed and affecting.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the kids' behavior. What's the funniest thing that ever happened on a field trip you went on? Do you think this class will be taken on another field trip anytime soon?

Book details

Author:Trinka Hakes Noble
Illustrator:Steven Kellogg
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Penguin Group
Publication date:January 1, 1980
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):2 - 4

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  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 8 years old March 3, 2012


This is an awesome story! First a girl comes home telling her sister or mom about her fieldtrip. She said pigs got on the bus. Jimmy brought his pet boa. It scared the farmer's wife. All the kids left and Jimmy forgot his pet boa but his new pet is a pig. How do I know this you ask? I know this story because it was the first story in our reading books at school!
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