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There's A Boy in the Girls' Bathroom Paperback – August 12, 1988

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fifth grader Bradley Chalkers is bright, imaginative, antisocial and friendless. Unlike the kids at school, who hate him, Bradley's collection of chipped and broken little pottery animals allows him to be brave, smart and vulnerable; he uses them to resolve the rejection of peers and adults. Jeff, a new boy at school, offers friendship but then withdraws his offer, because Bradley is hard to like. Enter Carla Davis, new school counselor, who is caring and funny, and who gradually helps restore Bradley's self-confidence. Feelings and emotions are strongly evoked in this touching and serious story of a disturbed child that is infused with humor and insight.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7 An unlikely protagonist, Bradley Chalkers is a friendless, lying, insecure bully who is the oldest boy in his fifth-grade class. In this humorous novel that tells of Bradley's learning to like himself and to make friends, Sachar ably captures both middle-grade angst and joy. Bradley's triumph comes through the friendship of a new boy at school and the help of the new school counselor. Readers, like the astute counselor, can see the strengths that Bradley has, and will cheer at his minor victories and cringe at his setbacks along the way. The story is unusual, witty, and satisfying, if not always believable: a few incidents just do not work. For instance, even though Bradley has not been doing his homework, his complete ignorance of it is unlikely (``He hadn't realized. . .he would need to bring his book home''), and his total unfamiliarity with birthday parties is too extreme for a ten year old, even one who hadn't been to a party in three years. Yet Bradley's need for acceptance even as he holds back from classmates who might mock or hurt him is genuine, and his eventual success will gratify readers. David Gale, ``School Library Journal''
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling; Reprint edition (August 12, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394805720
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394805726
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (395 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

author spotlight
Newbery Award-winning author Louis Sachar is the creator of the entertaining Marvin Redpost books as well as the much-loved There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom, winner of 17 child-voted state awards.

Louis Sachar's book Holes, winner of the 1999 Newbery Medal, the National Book Award, and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, is also an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, an ALA Quick Pick, an ALA Notable Book, and was made into a major motion picture.

A Few Words From Louis Sachar
Of all the characters from Holes, why did you choose to revisit Armpit in SMALL STEPS?
LS: I tend to write about underdogs. It seemed to me that life would be tough for an African-American teenager from a low-income family with a criminal record. Especially someone stuck with the name, "Armpit."
Although this new book is about a character from Holes, the two books are very different. How would you explain to a fan of Holes what to expect from SMALL STEPS?
LS: I can't. I'm no good at describing my books. Holes has been out now for seven years, and I still can't come up with a good answer when asked what that book is about.
Could you imagine future novels about any of the other boys?
Do you think about what Stanley is up to now?
LS: I don't think too much about Stanley or Zero. I left them in a good place. Although money doesn't bring happiness, or give meaning to someone's life, the problems Stanley and Zero face now (and I'm sure they do face many problems) are less interesting than those faced by someone like Armpit.
Plenty of teenagers fantasize about what it would be like to be a young rock star.
You portray it as lonely. Tell us about that decision.
LS: The media tends to portray the teenage world as one where drinking and sex is taken for granted. In fact, I think most teenagers don't drink, are unsure of themselves, and feel awkward around members of the opposite sex. I thought it was important to show Kaira, a rock star no less, as such a person. Her situation, in many ways, is made more difficult as she has no social contact with anyone her age. She is trapped in a world of agents, record producers, and hanger-ons.
I'm imagining that off all the books you've written, Holes is the one that has changed your life the most. Not only did it win the Newbery Medal, it's also simply a popular sensation. Is this assessment accurate? What is this novel's continuing impact on your life? Would you consider it the book that you are proudest of?
LS: Not counting Small Steps, I think Holes is my best book, in terms of plot, and setting, and the way the story revealed itself. It hasn't changed my life, other than that I have more money than I did before I wrote it. I'm still too close to Small Steps to compare it to Holes.
Why do you typically write only two hours each day?
LS: Small steps. Every time I start a new novel it seems like an impossible undertaking. If I tried to do too much too quickly, I would get lost and feel overwhelmed. I have to go slow, and give things a chance to take form and grow.

Customer Reviews

You have to read the book to find out all the funny things that happen and the ending.
I realized that there is good inside everyone; it's just sometimes we need others to see it in us first.
Jamie Musumeci
I am a 5th and 6th grade learning support teacher and I read this book with my 5th graders in class.
Mrs. Miller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By sUrFeRgUrL on July 17, 2002
Format: Library Binding
Who doesn't remember being in elementary school reading this book? For me, it wasn't that long ago. Probably about 4 years ago..Anyways, this book is really interesting and you'll find yourself loving this book from the first couple of pages. To Parents : This is a really good chapter book for your kids and self-acceptance and learning to be decent, therefore it's a five star book.
Bradley is a very bad kid, he doesn't have friends, and sits in the last seat in the last row of his class. No one likes him, infact the ones who aren't scared of him, tease him. Bradley's life changes when a boy moves into the class. They don't start off that well but soon become fast friends. As the story progresses, Bradley is going to counciling with a very CALM counciler. Bradley struggles to become accepted and soon learns that the counciler must leave because she is fired. ...
This is a heart-warming story that will have you turning pages and not want to stop. Bradley's atitude against the coucelor is tough in the beggining but as he continues seeing her he grows to love her. I highly recomend this for 5-8 graders. It's a light, quick read...and you might even be rereading it!
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am a third grade teacher and I read There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom to my students every year. My students absolutely love this book. I read it at the beginning of the year, and they still talk about Bradley Chalkers. I also read this book when I was in fifth grade, and I still remember to this day how touching it was to me. I remember crying at school while reading it. This is a wonderful story about a boy that has very low self-esteem in a class with a not-so-caring teacher or peers. Enter a new kid and a fabulous counselor. You find yourself cheering for Bradley all throughout the book. This books definitely deserves 5 stars!
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
Only two books I have ever read in my life have made me cry, and this book is one of them.
There are so many emotions, and Bradley is practically a real life kid. Louis Sachar is one of the most talented and original authors today.
There's A Boy In The Girl's Bathroom will touch you, even if you're a tough one---like Bradley. He's a "monster", he knows he is. Until Carla, the new school councellor, comes along and shows him that he can change. Even when no one else thinks he can---even when he himself doesn't believe he can ever be anything else.
(Just don't be mislead by the title or anything. The book's not really exactly about a boy in the girl's bathroom. Louis Sachar is one of the best writers in the world, but I've found the he isn't all that great at picking out titles for his stories.)
And, by the way, very few books can really make a person actually laugh. Louis Sachar has the gift of humor, and adds entertainment and fun to this book.
You should definetly read it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Aletheia Knights on February 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
I never know what to expect when I pick up a novel by Louis Sachar. His style ranges from fairly straightforward elementary/middle school comedy ("The Boy Who Lost His Face," "Dogs Don't Tell Jokes") to high absurdity (the Wayside School series) to magical realism ("Holes") to slightly weightier drama ("Small Steps"). There's one thing I can count on with Sachar, though, and that's a perfectly entertaining read with thoroughly relatable, lovable (albeit touchingly flawed) characters - and an insightful story that's sufficiently fast-paced and funny to appeal to Sachar's target demographic, yet packed with enough thoughtful ideas and witty insights to entertain and edify a mature reader.

"There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom" is vintage Sachar. This time, he takes us into the life and mind of Bradley Chalkers, who wins our hearts almost immediately despite being a poster child for bad behavior: he destroys school property, bullies his classmates, lies almost as often as he opens his mouth, and refuses to do homework on principle. In the privacy of his bedroom, Bradley turns out to be a surprisingly sensitive boy whose only friends are his collection of toy animals, with whom he engages in a sort of spontaneous play therapy. As the novel begins, Bradley ventures upon a tentative friendship with the new boy in school, but it's only when his teacher convinces his mother to send Bradley to the school counselor that he really starts to turn his life around. The counselor, Carla (named after and patterned on Sachar's own wife, to whom the book is dedicated), is young, pretty, upbeat, and unconventional, and in addition to helping Bradley explore the reasons he makes the choices he does, she quickly becomes his first crush.
Read more ›
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By lmarik on November 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
Ask the author, Louis Sachar, of this outstanding book if you don't believe us. This book is funny and exciting. We never wanted to put the book down. There is a very humorous, outrageous character, Bradley Chalkers, who acts like a bully at school but talks to his stuffed animals at home. His soon-to-be new friend Jeff moves to town and sits where no one else dares to sit, next to Bradley, last seat, last row in Mrs. Ebbel's class. Later in the book Bradley changes and grows to like his new counselor, Carla, who helps him to change. And the very coolest part of the book is ... well we can't tell you. If you buy the book, you can find out.
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