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Book Review: Roxie and the Hooligans by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

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Recommended for grades 2-4

Roxie Warbler is nine years old, happy at home and miserable at school. Her uncle Dangerfoot, world traveler, adventurer and companion to the famous author and fellow adventurer Lord Thistlebottom, has inspired her with his wild adventure stories of survival in the oddest of situations. Roxie has committed to memory Lord Thistlebottom’s book, Lord Thistlebottom's Book of Pitfalls and How to Survive Them. It’s almost a bible to her.

Unfortunately, the book doesn’t explain how to deal with Helvetia's Hooligans, the gang of four mean kids at her school who pick on her unmercifully because of her big, pink, cup-shaped ears.

One day the Hooligans chase her into a dumpster and follow her as she tumbles into it. The dumpster gets taken away and Roxie and the Hooligans end up trapped on a desert island with some very scary robbers, and it’s up to Roxie and her survival skills to help get them food and water, and get them off the island and safe from the robbers.

Roxie and the Hooligans is a marvelous book for young children just starting to read chapter books. The story is fast-paced and the character of Roxie is completely both loveable and believable. You really find yourself cheering her on. It’s also a great book for children who have to deal with bullies. We learn in the story that the bullies are all too human and that there is a reason for their meanness.

The book is also a good one for sharing by reading aloud – it will keep adults engaged as well as delight the children. The illustrations in black and white are completely wonderful, whimsical and fun.

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