The Children’s Book Review | July 21, 2008
By Jody Feldman
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow (March 4, 2008)
Where do I start? How about with a big fat ‘I loved this book’ and had so much fun reading it. Everyone loves Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which just happens to be the inspiration behind The Gollywhopper Games. According to the grapevine of the blogosphere, Jody Feldman, a librarian, came up with the idea for the story after a young boy returned Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to her library and requested something similar. When there really wasn’t much literature to compare with the wonderful and magical world Dahl had created, Feldman set about writing the Gollywhopper Games. The format of the two stories follows a very similar path, how ever Feldman has managed to create a new, very energetic and unique story. The story revolves around a particular incident that has Gil Goodson wishing his family could move to a new town. His dad promises him they will be able to move away from all of the trouble if he wins the Gollywhopper Games – an amazing competition held by the ‘Golly Toy and Game Company’ which has thousands of kids battling for the ultimate prize.The competition involves trivia, puzzles, stunts, and the ability to work as a team.
The puzzles are written in such a way, that as the reader, you can’t help but try to solve them before the competitors. Of course Gil encounters some kids who behave with unfavorable manners, which I think is a direct result of their badly behaved parents: think something along the lines of over-involved soccer parents. The book sends a message to kids that if you want something bad enough you just might be able to achieve it, but you will have to work hard and really set your mind to it. Making the best of a bad situation is certainly encouraged, and readers will be left with a soft spot for the not so well behaved children by the time they are done with the book.
My hat goes off to Feldman for writing a book with such a creative magical essence that will have children thinking, learning and laughing. What more can you ask for?
Add this book to your collection: The Gollywhopper Games
The Golly-Whopper Games – A review at Becky’s Book Review. Read this review if you are concerned about the predictability of a story whose path runs fairly similar to such a classic like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
If you like the sound of The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman and you’re interested in discovering more great kids books perfect for ages 9-12, visit our category of books for kids ages 9-12.