Synopses & Reviews
The Hatford-Malloy feud continues in this fast-paced sequel to The Boys Start the War and The Girls Get Even (both Delacorte, 1993). Their egos still smarting from the humiliation they suffered on Halloween at the hands of their female neighbors, the Hatford boys try to frighten them with tales of the abaguchie, a creature of local legend. A funny series of plans for revenge and retaliation from both sides follows. Ultimately, the children call a truce when they are united by a common cause-sharing a joke at their parents' expense. Although this title sums up the background of the story clearly, it relies on the earlier books for characterization. The girls come across as stereotypes-an athlete, a bookworm, and an aspiring actress-and the boys are virtually indistinguishable from one another. Nevertheless, fans of the previous books will enjoy this installment.
Abaguchie mania! Caroline Malloy thrills when Wally Hatford tells her that a strange animal called the abaguchie was spotted in their area. Wally warns Caroline not to search alone, but she is bent on finding the abaguchie. Wally and his brothers try to foil the plan. Caroline and her sisters plan to outfox them once and for all.
About the Author
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
knew at a very early age that she wanted to be a writer. She began her career writing short stories for magazines and has since authored more than ninety books for children. Though Mrs. Naylor grew up in Ohio, she sets many of her books in West Virginia. The boys-girls battle series is set in Buckman, West Virginia, a town modeled after Buckhannon, West Virginia, where her husband spent most of his growing-up years. Mrs. Naylor has enjoyed accolades from young readers all across the country, and she has won numerous awards. She was honored with the Newbery Medal for her novel Shiloh
January 4 in Anderson, Indiana
Clinical secretary, teacher, editorial assistant
Writing, reading, singing, playing the piano, hiking, swimming, theater, and snorkeling
... foodsanything chocolate
... clothespants and shirts, or gypsy skirts
... colorsjade green and blue
... booksbooks by Southern authors and books about ordinary people caught up in extraordinary
Inspirations for writing
Absolutely everything that ever happened to me and anybody else, all mixed up with imaginings!
Ask students who have had to move at some point in their lives to share what it was like to be the new kid on the block. Engage the class in a discussion of how neighbors can welcome a new family into the community. What can students do to make newcomers at their school feel welcome?
Phyllis Naylor offers spirited humor and comedy in these books about the feud between the Hatford brothers and the Molloy sisters.
The novels are episodic, making them perfect choices for independent reading or read-alouds. Even the most reluctant readers will delight in the creative and clever ways the boys and girls plot their revenge.
The discussion questions in this guide encourage students to think about sibling and family relationships, friendship, the meaning of community, and humor. Teachers interested in bringing literature into all areas of the curriculum will find these books a perfect choice for linking language arts, social studies, science, math, and art.
SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS-Ask students to describe the Hatford boys' relationship with one another. Which boy appears to be the leader? What is Peter's role in the war against the girls? How does he sometimes make trouble for his brothers? Describe the Malloy sisters and discuss their similarities and differences.
In The Boys Against the Girls, Eddie shows signs of growing up and appears to be feeling too mature to engage in activities with her two younger sisters. How are these feelings normal for a girl Eddie's age? In A Traitor Arnong the Boys, Mrs. Hatford tells her sons that they are to treat the Malloy girls like sisters. Discuss what Mrs. Hatford means. How does this demand provide a loophole for the boys to continue tormenting the girls?
FRIENDSHIP-Ask students to discuss whether the Hatford boys would have missed the Bensons as much if a family with boys had moved into the Benson house. The Hatford boys never give the Malloy girls a chance to be friendly. In A Traitor Among the Boys, Mrs. Hatford tells the boys, "You are going to be helpful, polite, friendly, and whatever else I can think of for as long as they live in our town." (p. 5) How do the boys finally show friendship toward the girls?
SENSE OF COMMUNITY-In The Girls Get Even, Mrs. Malloy says, "There is such a wonderful sense of community here." (p. 11) Would the Malloy sisters agree with their mother? Have the class talk about the meaning of community. Cite evidence in each of the novels that Buckman is a close-knit community. What role does this strong sense of community have in revealing the pranks played by the Hatford boys and the Malloy girls?
HUMOR-Ask students to share what they feel are the most humorous scenes in the novels. There are gross scenes, embarrassing moments, and clever dialogue in all of the books. How does each of these elements contribute to the humor in the novel? Eddie says in The Girls' Revenge, "These pranks are getting a little stale." (p. 3) Discuss whether Eddie is losing her sense of humor or just maturing.
The vocabulary in these books isn't very difficult, but students may find some unfamiliar words that they should try to define using the clues from the context of the stories. Such words may include: The Boys Start the War: vaporize (p.7), humiliation (p.36), cordial (p.45), and hostage (p.119); The Girls Get Even: debut (p.3), grievance (p.12), gullible (p.44), coup (p.39), and truce (p.127); Boys Against Girls: unnaturally (p.15), intercept (p.95), and dismay (p.122); The Girls' Revenge: precocious (p.1), fiasco (p.98), swagger (p.98), and exasperation (p.145); A Traitor Among the Boys: loophole (p.51), humility (p.73), and treacherous (p.113).