Chapters 99-101 Summary
The Fifth-Grade Nature Retreat
In Part Eight, Wonder returns to August’s perspective. August is preparing for a spring trip to a nature reserve with his fifth grade class. There, the kids will sleep in cabins, roast marshmallows, and explore the woods. The other kids are thrilled to go, but August is more scared than happy.
Unlike all his friends, August has never once spent the night away from his parents. He has never been to camp or stayed overnight with his grandparents. He has spent plenty of time in the hospital, but one of his parents always stayed with him.
When August was little, sleepovers were impossible because his medical needs were so demanding. As he got older, he never really wanted to sleep anywhere away from home—except once, at Christopher’s house. He was having a good time there, and he begged to be allowed to have a sleepover. But when bedtime arrived, he freaked out. His dad had to drive the three hours to Christopher’s house to bring him home.
This memory has left August a little scared of nights away from home. Even so, he is excited too.
August asks for a new, non-Star-Wars duffel bag for the nature retreat. He has noticed that kids in middle school are all “known for” a particular interest, such as marine biology or baseball. He has decided that Star Wars will not be the thing everyone associates with him. He reflects that “Star Wars will always be special” to him, but he wants a different kind of image at school.
On reflection, August thinks that kids at school know him for one big reason already, but he cannot change that. The Star Wars part of his image can be changed, so he focuses on that.
While his mom packs his new bag, August sits on his bed and worries about the trip. He asks what will happen if he cannot get to sleep at night, and she suggests bringing a book and a flashlight so he can read. He asks about nightmares, and she says he can wake a teacher or a friend. After thinking it over, August says he wants to pack Baboo, his favorite stuffed animal, just in case he needs comfort during the night. He makes sure Mom packs Baboo deep in the bag where other kids will not see him.
Mom has her own worries, and she reminds August to wear bug spray and sunscreen every day. She also tells him to be careful to keep his hearing aids dry. He asks if he might get electrocuted in the swimming pool, and she laughs. She says he will just ruin them. This would be bad because they are very expensive.
That night, August decides to put himself to bed. Before he does, he promises Mom he will write to her from camp.