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The Gypsy Game

The Gypsy Game

4.0 12
by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

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The kids from The Egypt Game are back. What game will they play next? The answer is Gypsies. While April plunges in with her usual enthusiasm, the more Melanie learns, the more something seems to be holding her back. But it's Toby who adds a really new wrinkle when he announces that he himself is a bona fide Gypsy. Plus he can get them some of his grandmother's


The kids from The Egypt Game are back. What game will they play next? The answer is Gypsies. While April plunges in with her usual enthusiasm, the more Melanie learns, the more something seems to be holding her back. But it's Toby who adds a really new wrinkle when he announces that he himself is a bona fide Gypsy. Plus he can get them some of his grandmother's things to use as real Gypsy props for the new game. What could be more thrilling? Then Toby suddenly and mysteriously disappears, and the kids discover that living as real-life Gypsies may not be as much fun as they thought. How will they find Toby and rescue him from the very real problems that are haunting his life?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Having laid to rest the enactments of ancient rituals described so unforgettably in the 1967 classic The Egypt Game, Snyder's charismatic crew of five sharp middle-schoolers (and one precocious 4-year-old) trade in their robes and headdresses for colorful jewels and decide to become Gypsies. But before they have a chance to convert their favorite meeting place, the shack behind the A-Z antique store, into a Gypsy camp, the most distracted member of the gang, Toby, who professes to be "one-quarter genuine Gypsy," suddenly disappears. Laced with mystery, this sequel has much of the allure of its predecessor. Again, the darkness of the adult world overshadows the children's play: Toby's snobbish grandparents want to take him away from his unconventional father; and Toby, thinking he needs to protect his father, evades his grandparents in a dingy section of town. The plotting is not quite as tight, with the author taking a circuitous route around the mystery to allow for the discussion of social issues like homelessness; and Toby, a central figure here, is not developed quite as compellingly as April in The Egypt Game. But these are differences of small degrees, and the work continues to offer Snyder's well-nigh irresistible combination of suspense, wit and avowal of the imagination. The book's gratifying denouement leads the way for a third installment for readers to eagerly await. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Mary Sue Preissner
In this companion to the Newbery Honor Book The Egypt Game, April and Melanie begin an exciting new game gradually bringing each of their friends into it. At first, the game is fun, but the kids do have their problems getting along. From their research into gypsies, the group ends up with real Gypsy jewelry, a life-like caravan painted on cardboard (courtesy of Toby's dad, the weird artist, of Gypsy heritage), and a bear of sorts. As the game continues, Toby disappears onto the city streets, leading a gypsy-like existence, hiding from his previously absent, but wealthy and powerful grandparents. The kids quickly learn that what may have been seen as an exciting, nomadic life is in reality a hard and difficult life. The characters, plot and setting are realistic and kids should find this mystery a page-turner.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-Limited character development, a vague setting, and frequent references to events in Snyder's The Egypt Game (Atheneum, 1972) make this title most accessible to fans of the earlier book. Here, the friends are researching Gypsies for a new game when one of them, Toby Alvillar, finds his life complicated by family problems. Caught in a custody dispute between his father and his grandparents, the boy leaves home. Although Snyder has skillfully updated some aspects of her original story (e.g., making racial differences known through description rather than labeling), her characters seem oddly sheltered. Toby's decision to run away, for example, seems a naive overreaction, given the current realities of urban life and the capture of a child murderer in the previous book. Equally disconcerting is the willingness of the other children to conceal Toby's whereabouts. Despite these occasionally unbelievable plot twists, Snyder succeeds in making readers care about Toby's situation. The game itself, however, does not go well, for the children's discovery of the age-old persecution of Gypsies sours their enthusiasm. Snyder injects a contemporary (and hopeful) note by having her characters translate their discomfort into a resolve to help some present-day "gypsies": the homeless people whom Toby encountered as a runaway. With all the action, information, and emotion packed into the novel, it is little wonder that Snyder relies upon her readers to be already familiar with characters and setting, and it is for them that this companion book will have the most appeal.-Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Kirkus Reviews
A sequel to the The Egypt Game (1967) again features April and Melanie, who have a club with four other children of different ages. Despite the 30 years since the publication of the first book, there is no time gap in the story: The six have decided to learn all about gypsies, meeting in their fenced-in hideaway and adopting a dog along the way. When Toby disappears, tough-talking adults press the children for information, and an atmosphere of unease and anxiety permeates the latter half of the story. A child custody issue turns out to be the impetus for Toby's running away, accompanied by far-fetched threats of blackmail by Toby's wealthy grandparents. The book is more concentrated on plot than on characterization, with cliffhanger chapter endings and suspense; the girls (and the book jacket) are more modern and the vocabulary less demanding than in the first book. Consigning it to sequel status is April's recollection, unexplained, of "what had almost happened" to her in The Egypt Game (she was almost killed by a "criminally insane murderer of children," to quote the Kirkus review).

Put down one book and pick up the other, and this new story works. Otherwise, the dubiousness of kids of varying ages playing together and dearth of helpful background relegate this to a just- average mystery.

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 7.63(h) x 0.56(d)
880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

"Not very much I guess. Why?"

            That was the first thing Melanie said when April asked her if she
            knew anything about Gypsies. April didn't answer. A minute or so later
            Melanie waved her hand in front of April's eyes and said, "Hey, anybody
            home? Come back to earth." Still no answer. April just went on staring
            into space. . . .

            So when it took a long time for April to say why she asked the Gypsy
            question, it didn't surprise Melanie all that much. She knew that
            when April's blue eyes got that spacey look it usually meant that
            she was on to something new and exciting, and if you waited long enough,
            you were sure to hear all about it. So Melanie waited. While she waited,
            she had time to sit up, scratch the mosquito bite on her ankle, make
            a face at herself in the mirror on April's dressing table, and flop
            back down again.

            Finally April sighed and said, "Oh, I don't know. It's just what you
            said about it not being the same. Going back and doing the same things
            over and over. You know, all that Egyptian stuff. And just the other
            day I was reading this magazine that had all this great stuff about
            Gypsies. I was just thinking how maybe we could. . ." She sat up,
            shoved back a straggle of blond hair, grinned at Melanie, and went
            on, "I was thinking that maybe we could try being Gypsies for a change."

Meet the Author

Raised in California, in the country—with no television and few movies to watch—three-time Newbery Honor winner Zilpha Keatley Snyder filled her childhood with animals, games, and books. Among her earliest acquaintances were cows, goats, ducks, chickens, rabbits, dogs, cats, and horses. In fact, her family's animals were her closest friends, and a nearby library was a constant source of magic, adventure, and excitement for her. And when she wasn't reading or playing with animals, Snyder made up games and stories to entertain herself.

While Zilpha Keatley Snyder was growing up, interesting stories filled her household. Both of her parents spent a lot of time relating accounts of past events in their lives, so Snyder came by her storytelling instincts early. But unlike her parents, when Zilpha had something to tell, she had, as she says, "an irresistible urge to make it worth telling. And without the rich and rather lengthy past that my parents had to draw on, I was forced to rely on the one commodity of which I had an adequate supply—imagination." Consequently, at the age of eight, Zilpha Keatley Snyder decided to become a writer.

As a student, Snyder was very proficient in reading and writing, and experienced few problems in the small country schools she attended until the end of sixth grade. But upon entering the seventh grade in the city of Ventura, she was, as she recalls, "suddenly a terrible misfit." Snyder retreated further into books and daydreams, and admits: "Book were the window from which I looked out of a rather meager and decidedly narrow room, onto a rich and wonderful universe. I loved the look and feel of them, even the smell. . . . Libraries were treasure houses. I always entered them with a slight thrill of disbelief that all their endless riches were mine for the borrowing."

Snyder attended Whittier College in Southern California, where she says she "grew physically and socially as well as intellectually." There she also met her future husband, Larry Snyder. While ultimately planning to be a writer, after graduation Snyder decided to teach school temporarily. But she found teaching to be an extremely rewarding experience and taught in the upper elementary grades for a total of nine years, three of them as a master teacher for the University of California at Berkeley. Zilpha and Larry were married in June of 1950, and went on to have three children, Melissa, Douglas, and Ben.

In the early sixties, when all of her children were finally in school, Snyder began to think about writing again. "Writing for children hadn't occurred to me when I was younger, but nine years of teaching in the upper elementary grades had given me a deep appreciation of the gifts and graces that are specific to individuals with ten or eleven years of experience as human begins. Remembering a dream I'd had when I was twelve years old, about some strange and wonderful horses, I sat down and began to write."

Season of Ponies, Zilpha Keatley Snyder's first book, was published in 1964. Her most recent novel, Gib Rides Home, follows an orphan boy who shows strength and courage as he endures harsh treatment during his five years at the orphanage before he finds a family of his own. Gib's story is a tribute to the memory of Snyder's father who grew up in an orphanage in Oklahoma.

Zilpha Keatley Snyder's three Newbery Honor books are: The Egypt Game, The Headless Cupid, and The Witches of Worm. Other books for Bantam Doubleday Dell are The Trespassers, an American Bookseller Pick of the List; Cat Running, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and winner of the 1995 John and Patricia Beatty Award; and her newest work, The Gypsy Game, companion to The Egypt Game.

Zilpha Keatley Snyder currently lives in Mill Valley, a small town near San Francisco. In her spare time, she loves reading and traveling, and of course, writing, which besides being her occupation has always been her favorite hobby.

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The Gypsy Game 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
6th Grade students April Hall, Melanie Ross, Caroline Chung, Toby Alvillar , Ken Kamata and Marshall, Melanie's brother, decide to try being Gypsies instead of continuing with being Egyptians. But when Toby dissapears, the plan for the Gypsy Game is suddenly altered in an enormous way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was the most awesome book ever read.....i really liked it ...so yea buy it!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!! It was just about the greatest sequel I could imagine for it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
It was good but not terribly good. I think you should read once then if you like it read it again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Gypsy Game holds none of the original charm of the Egypt Game. The book is more obsessed with Toby running away than the game. Don't waste your time
Guest More than 1 year ago
it sucked big time. i hated it. i sat and read it and wasted my time. if i were you i wouldn't get it