Roxie and the Hooligans
  • Roxie and the Hooligans
  • Roxie and the Hooligans

Roxie and the Hooligans

4.3 8
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Alexandra Boiger

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Do not panic.

Lord Thistlebottom's Book of Pitfalls and How to Survive Them has taught Roxie Warbler how to handle all sorts of situations. If Roxie's ever lost in the desert, or buried in an avalanche, or caught in a dust storm, she knows just what to do. But Lord Thistlebottom has no advice to help Roxie deal with Helvetia's

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Do not panic.

Lord Thistlebottom's Book of Pitfalls and How to Survive Them has taught Roxie Warbler how to handle all sorts of situations. If Roxie's ever lost in the desert, or buried in an avalanche, or caught in a dust storm, she knows just what to do. But Lord Thistlebottom has no advice to help Roxie deal with Helvetia's Hooligans, the meanest band of bullies in school.

Then Roxie finds herself stranded on a deserted island with not only the Hooligans but also a pair of crooks on the lam, and her survival skills may just save the day — and turn the Hooligans into surprising allies.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susan Hepler
In this fanciful romp, nine-year-old Roxie and her large ears bear the brunt of teasing in her small New England town. The rough Hooligans, under the leadership of Helvitia Hagus, catch Roxie, no matter how early to or late from school she goes. One day when Roxie, followed by her pursuers, jumps into a dumpster full of school garbage, they are tossed into the ocean but are able to make it to an island. But alas, the island also houses two thieves who make it tough for the Hooligans. But not for Roxie. Using rules from her beloved Uncle Dangerfoot's survival book, Roxie summons moxie and good old-fashioned courage. With smart moves and quick wit, she not only outfoxes the thieves and summons her uncle, but also wins the respect of the Hooligans. This spoof-of-adventure tale, set in a seemingly Victorian time when garbage is dumped in the ocean, also features several humorously anachronistic modern details, such as plastic water bottles. Boigner's pencil illustrations reflect the humor nicely. Clueless parents and teachers are helpfully on the sidelines while Roxie solves her own problems. Young readers will take note: use your noggin, do not panic, and do something!
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-In this beginning chapter book, nine-year-old Roxie Warbler knows just what to do if she finds herself buried in an avalanche, but she doesn't know what to do about Helvetia's Hooligans. The gang at Public School Number Thirty-Seven has chosen her to be Victim of the Year, thanks to her ears, which stick straight out. The Hooligans chase Roxie into the Dumpster, fall into it themselves, and everyone is soon spilled onto a barge being pulled out to sea. The children end up stranded on an island with a couple of nasty thieves. With only the survival tips Roxie remembers from Uncle Dangerfoot's stories of his fantastical adventures with famous thrill-seeker and author Lord Thistlebottom to help her, Roxie finds herself leading the four hungry, thirsty, and scared bullies to safety. Full-page pencil illustrations perfectly complement this clever story that will leave readers cheering for Roxie as she proves to be as successful an adventurer as her famous uncle.-Kristine M. Casper, Huntington Public Library, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Nine-year-old Roxie Warbler knows a lot about dangers and pitfalls and how to overcome them; she is the niece of Uncle Dangerfoot, the sidekick of Lord Thistlebottom, the world-famous adventurer and author. But, though she has memorized the survival tips, she is a fearful little girl, afraid of thunder and lightning, floods and tornadoes and the gang of mean kids at school. Helvetia's Hooligans are merciless in their assessment of Roxanne's oversized ears. When Roxie ends up in a dumpster on her way out to sea with the Hooligans, she has to dig deep into her bag of survival tricks. In this genial melodrama, young readers will cheer for Roxie as she learns, above all, not to panic. With the help of her kind and attentive friend Norman, Roxie saves the day, makes friends with the Hooligans and captures the bank robbers! Uncle Dangerfoot and Lord Thistlebottom could not be prouder. Three cheers-and some gingersnaps and lemonade-for Roxie, the girl who does not panic. Jolly fun. (Fiction. 7-10)

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Product Details

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
8 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: Uncle Dangerfoot

When Uncle Dangerfoot came to visit, everything in the house had to be just so.

The footstool was arranged in its place, the tea piping hot, the crumpets and jam on a platter, and Roxie Warbler watched for him at the door. The man who had wrestled alligators and jumped from planes was not to be kept waiting.

"And there he is!" cried Mrs. Warbler as her brother stepped handsomely out of a cab and came briskly up the walk. He wore a jungle helmet, a tan safari jacket with brass buttons, and he carried a long slender cane, which could, in an instant, become a harpoon, a gun, an umbrella, or a walking stick, depending on the circumstances and the weather.

Nine-year-old Roxie looked forward to his visits, for he had traveled all over the world with Lord Thistlebottom from London. And Thistlebottom was famous for his book, Lord Thistlebottom's Book of Pitfalls and How to Survive Them.

"Hello, Uncle Dangerfoot!" Roxie called, throwing open the door as he came up the steps.

The man with the handlebar mustache smiled down at his niece and tapped her fondly on the head with his walking stick. And that was about all the attention Roxie would get from her uncle, for although she had put on her best blue dress and her patent-leather shoes and she had brushed her hair till her scalp tingled, Uncle Dangerfoot was not a man of emotion and never hugged anyone if he could help it.

"Come in! Come in!" said Roxie's father, shaking Uncle Dangerfoot's hand and ushering him to the big easy chair with the footstool at the ready. "We are so glad to have you."

"So eager to hear about your latest adventure!" said Roxie's mother.

Roxie just stood to one side beaming, holding the platter of crumpets until her uncle noticed and helped himself. Then she sat down on the floor at his feet, waiting to leap to attention should he need some extra cream for his tea or a second lump of sugar.

"Oh, it was harrowing, let me tell you!" said Uncle Dangerfoot, taking a small sip of tea, then biting into his crumpet and jam. "It was uncharted territory in Australia, and our canteens had long since run dry...."

Roxie hung on every word, even though her uncle's stories tended to go on all evening. The crumpets and tea would be gone, and her uncle would still be talking. The flames in the fireplace would have died down and gone out, and he would still be talking. Sometimes Roxie was embarrassed by drifting off to sleep in spite of herself, and her father would carry her upstairs and tuck her in bed. But parts of her uncle's stories always lingered in her head:

"...So there we were, our lips parched, our mouths full of dust, our throats so dry we could scarcely speak. 'Do not panic!' Lord Thistlebottom said to me as we followed the dry streambed. 'Look for a sharp bend in the bed and keep an eye out for wet sand.' I, of course, having the sharper eye, spied it shortly, and there we dug down, down, down until we found seeping water...."

"I'm thirsty," Roxie murmured, her own lips

feeling parched, her throat dry. She opened her eyes to find that, once again, she was back in her bed, a glass of water on the night table, the first faint glow of morning coming through her window shade, and Uncle Dangerfoot, of course, gone.

She drank a little of the water and pulled the covers up under her chin. If only she could be as brave as her uncle. What a disappointment she must be! Not only did she sometimes fall asleep during his visits, but while he was afraid of nothing, Roxie Warbler was afraid of a lot of things: thunder, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and, most of all, Public School Number Thirty-Seven, where Helvetia's Hooligans seemed to have chosen Roxie to be their Victim of the Year.

It was her ears, of course. They were round ears, pink ears, ears of the normal variety, and Roxie scrubbed them daily inside and behind. But they stuck straight out from her head like

the handles on a sugar bowl, the ears on an elephant, the wings on a bat.

And though Roxie Warbler was neither fat nor thin, short nor tall, pretty nor plain, smart nor stupid — a perfectly average child in the fourth grade at Public School Number Thirty-Seven — her ears were the first thing anyone noticed when they looked at her and the only thing they seemed to remember.

From that first day of school a month ago, when Roxie started up the walk to the building, Helvetia Hagus had watched her come, and

her eyes narrowed. So did the eyes of her little band of hooligans: Simon Surly, Freddy Filch, and the smallest, leanest, meanest hooligan of them all — a wiry little hornet of a girl called Smoky Jo.

When Roxie had got up close to them, it was Smoky Jo who squealed, "Why, Grandma, what big ears you have!" and the other hooligans laughed and hooted.

Helvetia brayed like a donkey: "Hee-yah, hee-yah!"

Simon howled like a hyena: "Hoo-hoo ha-ha, hoo-hoo ha-ha!"

Freddy cawed like a crow: "Ca-haw! Ca-haw!"

And Smoky Jo squeaked like a mouse: "Eeeka. Eeeka. Eeeka."

Together, their braying and howling and cawing and squeaking sounded to Roxie like feeding time at the circus — and trouble for Roxie Warbler. Roxie had tried her best to smile and be friendly, but that only made the teasing worse.

"I think we ought to tape those ears to the sides of her head where they belong," said Helvetia Hagus, a large-boned girl with a square face and a square frame who wore her kneesocks rolled down around her ankles.

"I think we ought to find something to hang on those ears," said Simon Surly, who was as tall and skinny as a broom. When he was feeling nasty, his lips curled down on the left side and up on the right.

"I think we ought to find something to pour in those ears," said Freddy Filch, a round, red-faced boy who wheezed when he talked.

Smoky Jo had eyes that positively gleamed, and her short hair circled her head like a barbed-wire fence. "I think we should hang her up by the ears!" she squealed, and they brayed and howled and cawed and squeaked some more.

Every day it happened again, only each day the hooligans crowded a little closer around Roxie. It did not happen in the classroom, where the teacher, Miss Crumbly, could see. And Roxie did not want to bother her parents about it, for how could the niece of the man who braved sandstorms and avalanches tell her parents that she was afraid of a small band of hooligans on the playground?

She had almost memorized Lord Thistlebottom's book by heart. Every bit of advice was followed by the admonition Do not panic. Roxie knew that if she were ever lost in the desert, she should try to sit at least twelve inches off the ground, because the ground could be thirty degrees hotter than the air. Do not panic.

She knew that if you are jumping from a plane and your parachute does not open, head for water if you can. Do not panic.

Roxie knew that if she found herself on top of a moving train, she should not try to stand up. Do not panic.

But she did not know what to do about Helvetia's Hooligans, who had chosen Roxie Warbler to tease and torment and otherwise make miserable for every day of her life in Public School Number Thirty-Seven.

Text copyright © 2006 by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

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