Monday, January 22, 2007

Roxie and the Hooligans

Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. 2006. ROXIE AND THE HOOLIGANS. New York: Atheneum. ISBN 1416902430 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-5]

Roxie Warbler is proud of her heritage. Niece to a great explorer, Uncle Dangerfoot, Roxie has listened to his daring escapades and that of his friend, Lord Thistlebottom. She has read Lord Thistlebottom’s survival guide, Book of Pitfalls and How to Survive Them, many times and relishes the idea of her own possible adventures. But in her real world, Roxie is not brave and daring. Afraid of thunder and lightening, she is also bullied by a group of hooligans who delight in teasing her about the size of her ears. She dreads school because of their torment.

Things change when the hooligans and Roxie accidentally fall into a full dumpster headed for the ocean. There the children are thrown into the sea and must swim to a nearby island inhabited by two bank robbers on the lam. Soon Roxie is calling on Lord Thistlebottom’s advice as she keeps the hooligans and herself out of range of the robbers. Lord Thistlebottom’s mantra “Don’t Panic” serves Roxie well, as she outwits the robbers and brings her new friends, the hooligans, to safety.

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor has written more than a hundred books for children and in this deft adventure story, she has created a sensible heroine who faces her fears and begins to understand true bravery. Roxie’s levelheaded thinking earns her the respect of the bullies and turns her tale from a simple book about bullies to a funny, first-rate adventure story.

Invite the children to make up another Roxie adventure -- this time with the hooligans as her friends.

Parallel book by the same author:
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. MAUDIE IN THE MIDDLE. ISBN 0689313950

By Cay Geisler

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