The Gollywhopper Games Book Poster Image

The Gollywhopper Games



Suspenseful, high-stakes contest of puzzles.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Several of the contestants cheat, but our hero is honest and true-blue.

Not applicable
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Video game brands mentioned.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there is nothing to be concerned about here. Some characters cheat, but are caught, and the main character is honest, even when offered bribes.

What's the story?

Ten children are picked out of thousands to compete in the Gollywhopper Games, a contest sponsored by a toy company, with fabulous prizes to win. But Gil has more at stake -- the year before, his father, who worked for the company, was fired and arrested, falsely accused of embezzlement. Though acquitted, he and his family are still treated like criminals, and Gil wants to get enough money for them to move out of town. But the president of the company wants to bribe him to drop out, some of the other contestants are cheating, and one of them might have information about the real criminal.

Is it any good?


This book is good fun. Start with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Make Charlie a little more dynamic, and add a backstory wherein he is trying to exonerate his father. Lose the silly humor, keep the magical factory, but change the tour to a series of puzzles and games, and you're getting close to the idea of THE GOLLYWHOPPER GAMES, which the author says was inspired by a boy who loved Dahl's classic book and wanted something else like it.

OK, it's not really much like it, but the result is exciting and suspenseful, with puzzles that are just challenging enough, and characters to root for who are appealing, if not very fleshed out. Bright middle-graders will enjoy it, including pausing to figure out the riddles before the characters do, and may get interested in solving more word puzzles and playing word games afterwards.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the games and puzzles. Do you like word games? Were you able to solve any of them yourself? How did you do it?

Book details

Author:Jody Feldman
Illustrator:Victoria Jamieson
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Greenwillow Books
Publication date:March 1, 2008
Number of pages:308

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Parent of a 5 and 9 year old Written byInvested Mom January 14, 2010

A Great Read

I read this book with my nine year old daughter and we both loved it! We laughed we cried we cheered for the good guys! My daughters’ reading level is end of fourth grade but she struggled somewhat with the concept of corporate crime in the beginning so I started reading with her and we couldn't put it down. We hope they make it into a movie; it's a great adventure and full of amazing vocabulary and imagination.
Parent of a 8 and 10 year old Written byJojano April 1, 2011

Fun, creative book for the whole family

I read this book aloud to my then 8 yr old and 6 yr old. My son would have been fine to read this on his own; my daughter (the 6 year old) benefited from me reading it to her. Fabulously fun and creative. There are lots of riddles that my son enjoyed trying to solve on his own. There is a definite good vs bad element to this story and it was fun to root for the good guy.
What other families should know
Great role models
Parent of a 12 year old Written byMiddle January 13, 2011


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