February 4, 2012

The Gollywhopper Games

If I forgot to mention it, Winterdance was not part of the TBR Double Dare.  I gave myself that one exception for the book club.  Everything else I'm reading until April, including The Gollywhopper Games, counts.

My wife told me about this book a while ago, but I had to squeeze it in now because this won the Georgia Children's Book Award and Jody Feldman is going to be in Athens, GA to accept the award this spring at the conference.

Gil Goodson knows just about everything there is to know about the Golly Toy & Game Company and desperately wants to be a part of the biggest and most exciting yearly contest in the univers, The Gollwhopper Games!  Thousands of contestants are quickly whittled down to ten, including (I doubt this is much of a spoiler) Gil.  Why does he want to play and win so badly?  His dad made him a deal: win the Gollywhopper Games and the family can move away from their town (which happens to be the same town as the toy company headquarters).  Turns out his dad had, until the last year and a half or so, been an employee at the company but had been (wrongly, Gil is sure!) accused of stealing ideas and money.

There are some tough competitors, fun puzzles, and delightful Dahl-ish touches in the amazingly absurd company headquarters (one room of which can be seen on the cover).  Of course during the course of the games, the truth of what happened to his dad begins to reveal itself and Gil has some decisions to make before things come to a satisfying conclusion.

Highly recommended for those who loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Westing Game and puzzles of all kinds.