Title: Roxie and the Hooligans
Author: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Major Themes: Survival, Comedy
Synopsis: Roxie knew how to survive all sorts of situations—but her book didn’t tell her how to handle a gang of hooligans who were bent on tormenting her.
Roxie and the Hooligans is another book I would never have picked up if Sonlight didn’t schedule it in the Kindergarten curriculum I’m using with my 6-year-old daughter! I started reading it to her, and the next thing I knew, my 11- and 9-year-old sons were getting it off my desk and reading ahead, and the 15-year-old wanted to make sure he didn’t miss hearing a chapter. When I see that kind of interest, I know we have a winner. (To be honest, I read ahead a little, too!)
Roxie Warbler had a very brave uncle, Uncle Dangerfoot. He traveled the world with Lord Thistlebottom, who had written Lord Thistlebottom’s Book of Pitfalls and How to Survive Them. Every time Uncle Dangerfoot came to visit, Roxie hung on his every word, and listened to his stories, enthralled, till late at night, and she had nearly memorized Lord Thistlebottom’s book. She knew how to survive an avalanche or a dust storm or being chased by a bear. However, she had no idea how to handle Helvetia’s Hooligans, the gang of bullies at her school who were always tormenting her because she had big ears that stuck out.
One day, Roxie was desperately trying to get away from the Hooligans when she, and all four of them, suddenly found themselves transported to a desert island. They had no food and no water—and there was a pair of bank robbers on the island who were going to quickly dispose of anyone they found on the island. What could the children do? Would the Hooligans ever forget about tormenting Roxie, or would she have to continue fending them off while working to evade the crooks? Lord Thistlebottom’s advice kept coming back to her at exactly the right times! But would Roxie be found by rescuers in time?
A theme that seems to be running through a number of our recent books is that of a loving family, compared to parents who don’t care about their children. Several of the Hooligans figured that they wouldn’t even be missed—but Roxie knew her parents would be searching for her! The contrast between Roxie and the gang is stark and clear. The results of kindness are also very clear. Otherwise, this is an exciting, funny story. Besides the plot itself, I loved the place names and the names of the people in Roxie and the Hooligans. They are funny!
WARNING: Page 78—dang, page 97—dad-gum, heck, page 108—by Jove.
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12