After all the trouble at Christmas, the Hatford boys make a New Year's resolution to treat the Malloy girls like sisters. But who says you can't play tricks on sisters? The girls will need to stay one step ahead of the boys, and are willing to pay big-time for advance information. Homemade cookies should be all it takes to make a traitor spill the beans. But which boy has loose lips?
Caroline's horrified about sharing her birthday with her enemy Wally, but is thrilled with her role in the town play. Don't ask how Beth, Josh, and Wally get roped into it -- just wait until showtime, when Caroline pulls her wildest stunt yet! As each side wonders how far the other will go, they unexpectedly find themselves facing a blizzard and worrying about their parents' safety. That's when the lights go out.
Gr 4-6-The fifth installment in Naylor's series about two feuding families in small-town West Virginia. Strongly encouraged by their mother, the Hatford boys make a New Year's resolution to treat the Malloy girls like sisters. But the boys reason that brothers and sisters sometimes fight, don't they? Thus, the war resumes. However, this time it is complicated by the youngest Hatford brother, Peter, who is easily persuaded by homemade cookies and other sweets to reveal his brothers' plans. Snowball fights, lima-bean brownies, a community play featuring two members of each family, and a climactic blizzard that brings all seven children together follow in the next few weeks. Fans of the series and newcomers alike will enjoy this entertaining read and the mischievous pranks the two groups play on one another. The children are likable, full of energy, and evenly matched so that each side has its wins and losses. Those who enjoyed the girl/boy feuds in Gregory Maguire's Seven Spiders Spinning (Clarion, 1994), and Gary Greer's This Island Isn't Big Enough for the Four of Us (HarperCollins, 1989) will relish this series.-Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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January 08, 2001
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Excerpt from A Traitor among the Boys by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
New Year's Resolution Okay, then, it's decided. The girls can stay," Jake said, looking around the breakfast table, where six different boxes of cereal were scattered. "But only," he added, his mouth full of Frosted Flakes, "if they play by our rules." As though they had anything to do with the Malloys staying in or leaving West Virginia. The first week of January had passed, and the boys had still not made their New Year's resolutions. Mrs. Hatford had given an order: they were not to leave the kitchen until each had decided how he would improve as a human being in the 365 days ahead. Jake, Josh, Wally, and Peter decided it would be easier to come up with one joint resolution they could all do together: they would let the Malloy girls stay in the house across the river where their best friends, the Bensons--all boys--used to live. Mrs. Hatford came into the kitchen just then to get the watering can for her fern. "Well?" she said. "Do I hear four good resolutions in the making?" "No, but we have one really good one that we'll all do together," said Josh, Jake's eleven-year-old twin. Their mother looked cautiously about the table. "Okay, I'm listening." Wally Hatford, age nine, who was sitting beside seven-year-old Peter, the youngest, stuffed another bite of toast into his mouth so that he wouldn't be the one to answer, because he could almost predict what his mom was going to say. "We've decided," said Jake, "that we'll let the Malloys live in Buckman, if they want to, after their year is up." Mrs. Hatford slowly removed her glasses and her eyes traveled from Jake to Josh to Wally to Peter. "Let them?" she asked in disbelief. "Are they renting their house from you?" "What we mean," said Josh, "is that we won't make things hard for them anymore." Mrs. Hatford focused on Wally next. "Meaning . . . ?" she asked. It always happened this way: Wally got the hard questions. "Meaning that we won't dump dead fish and birds on their side of the river to make them think it's polluted," Wally said miserably. Peter nodded vigorously. "Or dead squirrels," he said. "Don't forget the squirrels." Their mother put one hand on the back of a chair to steady herself, and finally came around and sat down on its seat. Hard. "Do you boys mean to sit here and tell me that you actually tried to drive the Malloys out of Buckman? That you tried to get them to move back to Ohio?" Wally thought it over. Was this a trick question? "Yep," he said. "Why?" "Because we wanted the Bensons to come back," Josh told her. "They were the best friends we ever had." "And you thought--you thought--" Mrs. Hatford began, "that if you drove the Malloys away, the Bensons would return?" "Something like that," said Jake, looking a little chagrined. "We thought it might help, anyway." "Are you completely, positively out of your minds?" Mrs. Hatford yelled. "Have you lost every ounce of common sense you were born with? Did it ever occur to you that the decision will be based on whether the Bensons like it well enough to stay in Georgia, and not on what is happening up here to their house?" "Well, if they lost their renters, we thought they'd at least consider coming back," said Josh. Mrs. Hatford slumped in the chair and closed her eyes for a moment. "All right," she said weakly. "Let's hear it. What else did you do?" The boys leaned their elbows on the table and thought about it--Jake and Josh in their sweatpants and T-shirts, Wally in his racing-car pj's, and Peter inhis Bambi pajamas with