cover image Roxie and the Hooligans

Roxie and the Hooligans

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, , illus. by Alexandra Boiger. . Atheneum/Seo, $15.95 (115pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-0243-0

As Naylor's (Shiloh ) sprightly caper opens, Roxie Warbler and her parents receive a prestigious visitor: her Uncle Dangerfoot. The man has traveled the world with the renowned adventurer and author of Lord Thistlebottom's Book of Pitfalls and How to Survive Them . Nine-year-old Roxie has almost memorized its contents, which describe perilous scenarios and (after repeating the admonition, "Do not panic!") provide helpful survival tips. The heroine wishes she could be as brave as Lord Thistlebottom; the thing that frightens her most: Public School #37, "where Helvetia's Hooligans seemed to have chosen Roxie to be their Victim of the Year." Those four classmates tease Roxie mercilessly about her oversize ears. One day, as she tries to dodge the gravel they are throwing at her ("Do not panic , she remembered. To avoid gunfire, run in a zigzag line "), Roxie tumbles into a dumpster—as do the bullies. The story takes a wacky turn when the dumpster winds up on a flatbed truck, which unloads its contents onto a barge that dumps the refuse—and the kids—mid-ocean. By repeatedly recalling Thistlebottom's wryly stated counsel, putting her ears to good use, and never panicking, Roxie ensures a dramatic rescue. Boiger's (While Mama Had a Quick Little Chat ) humorous caricatures of the bad guys, combined with Naylor's snappy writing, tongue-in-cheek humor and resourceful, endearingly earnest heroine will keep readers highly entertained. Ages 7-10. (Mar.)