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Robbie Forester and the Outlaws of Sherwood Street

Robbie Forester and the Outlaws of Sherwood Street

3.0 1
by Peter Abrahams

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Robbie Forester always knew life wasn't fair, but she never thought she could do anything about it--until one day when a powerful charm comes into her possession and guides her, her friends, and her dog Pendleton on the path to justice. Unfortunately, the path has gotten dangerous, and Robbie and her friends find themselves in a menacing world of thievery, arson, big


Robbie Forester always knew life wasn't fair, but she never thought she could do anything about it--until one day when a powerful charm comes into her possession and guides her, her friends, and her dog Pendleton on the path to justice. Unfortunately, the path has gotten dangerous, and Robbie and her friends find themselves in a menacing world of thievery, arson, big yachts, and even bigger bank accounts. Will Robbie and her band of thieves end up in more trouble than they ever could have imagined?

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 6–8—Seventh-grader Robbie (Robyn) lives in a Brooklyn brownstone with her novelist father, lawyer mom, and endearing mutt, Pendleton. When she accidentally acquires a homeless woman's charm bracelet, she discovers it's a catalyst for magical powers that engage only when justice is being denied. She and three friends—Ashanti, aloof rival on Robbie's private-school basketball team; Tut-Tut, a stutter-afflicted Haitian immigrant from her old public school; and Silas, a homeschooled programmer/hacker—use their unique capabilities to uncover and thwart an evil real estate developer pushing small businesses and social services out of the borough. While Robbie, her parents, and Ashanti are fully realized characters, others are stereotypes. Abrahams's strength lies in creating honest human interactions—Robbie's with her parents; her parents with each other; Tut-Tut, Aisha, and Robbie together—and the story weakens when attention shifts to the bracelet's magic and James-Bond-style plots and escapes. Robbie's well-drawn, nuanced relationship with her father fades as the narrative fills with (albeit exciting and sharply detailed) computer hacking, arson, and yacht trespassing at midnight. The powers are fun—Robbie's eyes shoot lasers and she can perform super-feats; Ashanti can float in midair—though Tut-Tut's power, to speak eloquently, is the most interesting, and the least utilized. The story takes on weighty social issues: private vs. public schooling, harsh immigrant experiences, and the dark side of gentrification. There's enough variety here to appeal to a wide range of readers, many of whom will want to follow the intrepid heroine into an inevitable sequel.—Riva Pollard, Prospect Sierra Middle School, El Cerrito, CA
Publishers Weekly
Edgar Award–winner Abrahams (Reality Check) shifts gears slightly, adding conspiracies and superpowers to the mystery mix in a loose contemporary update of the Robin Hood legend, set in Brooklyn, N.Y. Seventh-grader Robyn, aka Robbie, witnesses a dying homeless woman drop a charm bracelet as she’s taken onto an ambulance, and the bracelet causes Robbie to manifest strange powers in times of stress. She has plenty of stress coming her way when she learns that the homeless shelter where she and her mother volunteer is being closed, thanks to rent gouging by mysterious millionaire Sheldon Gunn, who is employing Robbie’s mother’s law firm to help him. Gunn is also behind attempts to close other local institutions, and when Robbie shares the secret of the bracelet with her frenemy, Ashanti, and her former classmate, Tut-Tut, they are all drawn into a fight for justice. Abrahams strikes a successful balance between whimsy and serious issues caused by economic injustice, while keeping the action and mystery moving forward at a brisk pace. Ages 10–up. Agent: The Friedrich Agency. (Jan.)
Children's Literature - Annie Laura Smith
This novel set in Brooklyn is based on the classic legend of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, although Robbie's "Outlaws" are a group of middle school students. Robbie finds a charm bracelet, with a single tiny silver heart charm, left on the street by a homeless woman that she befriended earlier. The charm opens the door to all kinds of adventures for the Outlaws. Individual strengths among her multicultural friends begin to emerge. The dangers this power might bring, or the villains they will encounter, do not seem apparent to the participants. Robin and the Outlaws take on a wealthy landlord to help the poor folks he is trying to evict. "Life is not fair" is a theme in this story, and the Outlaws effort to help the poor is a commentary on trying to right social injustice. Some of the fairy-tale like events lend a special sense of intrigue. Robbie and her band of friends are truly modern day Robin Hoods, just like England's greatest outlaw hero. The author has won Edgar Awards for both adult and young adult mysteries. Reviewer: Annie Laura Smith
Kirkus Reviews
A girl obtains a magical charm that she and her newfound friends use to fight injustice in the form of a corrupt real-estate tycoon and his unscrupulous and violent cohorts. Set in Brooklyn, this first-person thriller with fairy-tale and superhero elements begins when Robbie Forester, a seventh-grade girl, aids an old homeless woman and winds up with her small, heart-shaped charm. Though it takes Robbie a while to understand the charm's power, she soon begins to notice that the charm magically heats up in response to injustice and gives her, and later her friends, special powers. The friends, a multicultural crew who are given traits but for the most part lack souls (except for the stuttering Tut-Tut), form a kind of merry band of thieves, vowing to fight injustice by stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. They zero in on Sheldon Gunn, an avaricious real-estate developer who is raising rents and ejecting tenants from their homes and businesses all over the neighborhood. The suspense kicks hard during the adrenaline-laced final third, though the shifting nature of the power of the charm makes any outcome seem possible. Still, what with Occupy Wall Street and the public's fury at an economic system gone awry, it's an apt idea for its moment. (Thriller. 10-14)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Outlaws of Sherwood Street Series , #1
Sold by:
Penguin Group
710L (what's this?)
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Peter Abrahams (www.peterabrahams.com) has written many books for kids, adults, and teens. Down the Rabbit Hole, the first book in his New York Times bestselling Echo Falls series, won an Agatha Award and was an Edgar Award nominee, and his novel Reality Check won the 2010 Edgar Award for best young adult mystery novel. He is also the author of the New York Times bestselling Chet & Bernie mysteries under the pen name Spencer Quinn. He lives in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

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The Outlaws of Sherwood Street: Stealing from the Rich 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
BookSakeBlogspot More than 1 year ago
This version of Robin Hood is a light, quick read. That’s about what I expected for the age range it’s aimed at. The story was cute and entertaining and I think it would be liked by both boys and girls. We have Robbie our main character and three friends of hers (another girl and two boys) that we follow around. Magic powers come and go, but don’t always seem logical for the story. If the powers always came when helping the kids do good or stay safe it would make more sense – winning a game, not so much. It’s never explained where these powers come from and some of the things the kids do, while they are trying to be helpful overall, they just don’t feel like the right thing to do at all times. While it follows the – steal from the rich, give to the poor – they don’t know in full who they are stealing from, which causes the slight issue for me. Kids however might not even see this – just knowing that the one with all the money is bad, those who can’t afford their terms and are being taken advantage of are good. Or parents can fill the children in on what’s what and talk about the issues this book raises. Reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.