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The Gollywhopper Games Hardcover – March 4, 2008

73 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Ladies and gentlemen!
Boys and girls!
Welcome to the biggest, bravest, boldest competition the world has ever seen!
The Gollywhopper Games!
Are you ready?

Gil Goodson sure hopes he's ready. His future happiness depends on winning the Golly Toy & Game Company's ultimate competition. If Gil wins, his dad has promised the family can move out of Orchard Heights—away from all the gossip, the false friends, and bad press that have plagued the Goodsons ever since The Incident.

Gil's been studying for months. He thinks he knows everything about Golly's history and merchandise. But does he know enough to answer the trivia? Solve the puzzles? Complete the stunts? Will it be more than all the other kids know? Gil's formidable opponents have their own special talents. He must be quicker and smarter than all of them.

The ride of Gil's life is about to begin.

Win! win! win!

About the Author

Jody Feldman has always loved riddles and brainteasers and word games, and she lives in a city on a river whose name contains four s's, two p's, and four i's. Jody has written as many books for young readers as there are players in a doubles tennis match. To find out how many brothers she has, take the number of bases on a baseball diamond and divide it by the number of times Grover Cleveland was president of the United States.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 590L (What's this?)
  • Series: Gollywhopper Games (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books (March 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061214507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061214509
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #459,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am entirely certain I never dreamed I'd become a writer. Sure, I've always had a strong imagination. Sure, my teachers mostly gave me A's on my papers. But writing books? Who knew?

What did I dream I'd become? At different points, a treasure hunter, a codebreaker, a movie director, an artist, a medical researcher, an inventor, and the list goes on. I have discovered, however, I can explore any occupation or adventure with the characters in my books. And I'm great with that.

For more about me, go to ...
Or find me on Facebook and Twitter.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on August 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Twelve-year-old Gil Goodson and his parents have had a grueling 18 months of legal battles, press invasions and tarnished reputations in their Orchard Heights community. Gil's father, a former employee of the Golly Toy & Game Company, was falsely accused of embezzlement. And although the jury finds him innocent, a big chunk of the community refuses to accept it. Even Gil is the victim of emotional and physical harassment at school, and is chased off his sports teams. Thinking it won't ever get better, he begs his dad to move. However, the family can't afford it. Then Gil gets an idea.

To celebrate their 50th anniversary, Golly Toy & Game Company announces a huge event --- The Gollywhopper Games! Open to young people ages 11 to 15, contestants will compete in a series of clever puzzles and physical stunts to win a huge collection of prizes. Gil makes a deal with his dad: If he wins, then the family moves away from Orchard Heights forever. Easy, right? Not exactly. Since Gil's dad isn't an employee anymore, eligibility won't be an issue (though it could turn into a big problem later). But what definitely will be an immediate problem will be getting into the competition.

Twenty-five thousand kids will start off --- including 500 instant wins hidden in Golly Toy & Game products, 20,000 winners in a random drawing and 4,500 winners chosen at the front door the morning of the competition. It's the last one Gil is shooting for, as he lives mere blocks from the stadium where stage one of the competition is being held. He loads a backpack and grabs a sleeping bag, ready to camp out in order to be first in line. Unfortunately, unplanned events get in his way.

But, of course, Gil gets into the competition.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ami Hassler on March 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The Gollywhopper Games is a cross between Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Balliett's The Wright Three. It has all the humor of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory without the bleakness, and it has all the brain-teasers of The Wright Three without any of the characters seeming stuffy. Jody Feldman has written a fun, fast-paced novel that gives kids credit for the brains in their heads and the kindness in their hearts.

For the rest of this review and others, see my site.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey E. Sanzel on March 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been a longtime fan of children's literature and continue to read juvenile fiction on a regular basis. I have no doubt that this is on its way to becoming a contemporary hit and a long-term favorite.

Comparison's can be made with Roald Dahl but the difference is that The Gollywhopper Games provides an opportunity for its protagonist, Gil, to actively prove his value and--more importantly--his self-worth. Charlie (of the famous chocolate factory) wins more by passivity than by anything he actually does; in essence, he is the least repellant of that motley crew. Here, Feldman shows a range of real young people and adults who are wonderful shades of gray. No one is perfect but no one is wholly bad. With an incredible amount of detail in both atmosphere and character, this is a tale of learning, forgiveness, teamwork, and self-fulfillment.

Feldman has created a fantastic world grounded in reality and populated it with real people and tantalizing puzzles. This is a must-read for anyone who enjoys a great book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C.Vick on August 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
So, it's basically Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in a toy factory with a few twists. Not as dark. Nobody gets possibly sent to the incinerator, for instance, and there are no characters you'd really want to see go there.

But the influence is obvious. You have a boy, maybe not poor in money, but poor in friends. You see, his father was accused of embezzling money from the Gollywhoopper Toy Company. Never mind that he was acquitted, the town has already tried him and sealed the verdict. Charlie, called Gil Goodson here, wants to win the games so his family can have enough money to move away from all those who keep calling his father a thief.

You have a fantastical toy company hosting a special event. One way to get in is to find tickets in their products. (Cue "I've Got a Golden Ticket.") The kids will compete to win prizes. You've got your Veruca Salt type who gets in by buying so many products he has to get a ticket. You've a character who would be Augustus Gloop if Augustus were hooked on winning and not candy. A Mike Teavee (I guess she would be a Moovee, since she's hoping to be in films) with the spunk of a Violet Beauregarde. Perhaps the only odd man (or girl) out here is the character of Lavinia, an overprotected bookworm.

Although the book is put forth as realistic fiction -- I mean embezzlement is hardly a fantasy crime -- the Gollywhopper factory is just as fantastical as Wonka's chocolate factory. It almost overpowered the story for me at times. I kept thinking things like, "But they couldn't have built up and then torn down a waterfall that quickly," or, "Did they have rooms that revolved before the games or did they (unbelievable) build them for the competition?" And so forth.

Yet I can see the book's appeal.
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