The Gollywhopper Games (Gollywhopper Games Series #1)

The Gollywhopper Games (Gollywhopper Games Series #1)


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Jody Feldman's popular, award-winning novel about a group of kids playing the Gollywhopper Games—the fiercest toy company competition in the country—will appeal to fans of The Amazing Race and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!

Gil Goodson has been studying, training, and preparing for months to compete in the Gollywhopper Games. Everything is at stake. Once Gil makes it through the tricky preliminary rounds and meets his teammates in the fantastical Golly Toy and Game Company, the competition gets tougher. Brainteasers, obstacle courses, mazes, and increasingly difficult puzzles and decisions—not to mention temptations, dilemmas, and new friends (and enemies)—are all that separate Gil from ultimate victory. An interactive and inventive page-turner perfect for young readers who love to solve puzzles!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061214523
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 12/23/2013
Series: Gollywhopper Games Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 332
Sales rank: 195,444
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile: 590L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Jody Feldman has always loved riddles and brainteasers and word games, and she lives in a city on a river whose name contains four s's, two p's, and four i's. Jody has written as many books for young readers as there are players in a doubles tennis match. To find out how many brothers she has, take the number of bases on a baseball diamond and divide it by the number of times Grover Cleveland was president of the United States.

Read an Excerpt

The Gollywhopper Games

By Jody Feldman HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2008
Jody Feldman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061214516

Chapter One

If Gil Goodson was to have a chance, any chance at all, he would have to run faster than he was running right now.

Run. Away from University Stadium, packed with throngs of contestants who'd suddenly appeared from nowhere to get in line. Run, blinking back the sweat, pushing the lawn mower he wished he could abandon on the street. Run, past the lawn he'd just taken valuable time to cut because Mrs. Hempstead really believed the national TV networks might show her boring street. What were the chances of that happening? About as much as, as . . . as what?

As Gil had of winning the Gollywhopper Games?

One chance in 25,000—if he could still get a ticket. He'd been planning this day since last summer, ever since Golly Toy and Game Company announced the Gollywhopper Games.

With Gil's foolproof plan, he wouldn't have to buy zillions of toys and games to find one of 500 instant winner tickets. He wouldn't need to send in tons of entries, hoping his name might be drawn from millions and millions of others to win one of 20,000 tickets in that sweepstakes.

He lived eight blocks from University Stadium. He only needed to be one of the first 4,500 kids when the line opened at eleven a.m. today. The plan was to stand with his duffel and sleeping bag just outside the "no-enter" zone and storm the stadium at the front of the crowd.

He'd planned it all, except for yesterday's monsoon that had kepthim from mowing Mrs. Hempstead's lawn. Why didn't he realize the mushy ground would keep him working for an extra hour? Why didn't he have weather ESP? Then he never would have let Mrs. Hempstead prepay him—double—to make her lawn perfect by this morning.

With the money already in the bank, Gil was stuck finishing the job. Only a thief would raise a son who took money then didn't do the work. Not true, but people might say that. Wasn't that one reason he needed to get into the Games? To erase it all?

Gil rammed the lawn mower into the splintered shed behind their pea-sized house, then jammed his key into the back-door lock. Inside, he grabbed a scrap of paper from the kitchen drawer and pulled out a pen. It slipped from his long, sweaty fingers and rolled under the stove. He grabbed another.

He raced to the front door, reached for the duffel, the sleeping bag and . . . What was that smell?

It was him: a rising stench of grass and sweat and lawn mower gas. Gil propelled himself down the hall, into the shower, beneath the cold water, fully dressed. He wedged off his shoes, peeled away his cutoff jeans, underwear, and T-shirt, and skipped the bar of soap over his body, squirted some shampoo on his wavy hair and urged the trickling water to rinse him faster. Then with one hand he turned off the shower and with the other grabbed the nearest towel. Damp. Who cared who used it last. His mom? His dad? He'd barely use it anyway. The August weather in Orchard Heights would finish the job.

He jumped into jeans that his legs had almost outgrown again, and by the time he'd struggled into a gray T-shirt, he was at the front door, hoisting the duffel over his shoulder and burrowing his fingers under the elastic bands that kept the sleeping bag rolled. He pushed his feet into his flip-flops, shoved a baseball cap on his head, and was back on the street.

Back toward University Stadium. Back past the parked cars bearing every license plate in the country. Back toward the massive line encircling the stadium then practically circling it again. Back past the horseshoe pits, barbecue grills, and volleyball games.

"Are you at the end?" he asked a man making camp with his kids.

"Not anymore, son."

Gil dropped his gear near a small tree and scanned the mass of bodies. How many of them were there? More than he could count. And no way he'd ask the reporter over there, take the chance she'd recognize him from The Incident.

Gil pivoted away, but seconds later felt a tap on his shoulder. Had she noticed him? He turned so the bill of his baseball cap masked his eyes.

Some shrimpy guy with a Golly badge handed him a yellow card. "Here."

"What's this?" Gil asked.

"It's not a ticket, but guard it with your life," said the guy. "If you lose it, you might as well go to the end of the line. The first person has number one, and you've got . . . Well, look at your own number. The first forty-five hundred have guaranteed tickets tomorrow morning, and I've heard maybe a thousand more will get in. Everything's printed on the back."

Gil looked at his yellow card.


5,915? No. No!

If he could somehow get in, even if 1,415 people who had instant win and mail-in tickets didn't show up, he still might be disqualified in the end. It was, after all, Golly Toy and Game Company that had had his father arrested.


Excerpted from The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman Copyright © 2008 by Jody Feldman. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Gollywhopper Games 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 101 reviews.
Weizkracker More than 1 year ago
The Gollywhopper games is a fantastic book. It's kind of sad in a way when the main character's dad gets arrested. I love the way some books are when you say your going to stop and end up reading an hour more. This is one of those books. The author, Judy Feldman, did a great job writing this book. I don't know how to make it better.
courtney merryweather More than 1 year ago
this book has edventure and it is very creative i personaly loved it
MidwestReader7 More than 1 year ago
Gollywhopper Games delivered even more than I had expected. I enjoyed this book so much that I keep recommending it to everyone I know. And, I have even given it as a gift. So enjoyable and fun to read. We are waiting for a second book by this author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has brain teasing puzzels you will probably have Your nose in it like i did hey teachers read this aloud to your Students
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is full of great brain puzzles and problem solving. Go Gil
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I know the book looks weird but it is seriously the beeest!!! I love trying to figure out the puzzles i have read it so many times i have lost count & i am only12 my mom keeps saying all u read is that book! Because i love it so much"!"" I hope u r intristed in it~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thats how good this book is. You can never let out of your sight!!!!!!!
Jeier_Macey More than 1 year ago
This book is great for ages 1-100!
mommymoore More than 1 year ago
We chose this book for my ten year old's book club. It was a light, fun summer read. A toy company announces a major contest with a series of mystery challenges. A boy, whose father used to work for the company, enters to try to save his family from financial ruin. In the process he meets several other kids who become competititors and friends. The characters are realistic and likeable. The challenges are fun and inventive as you try to solve them along with the children in the story. Readers will find themselves cheering for the main character and wishing they could be a part of the adventure themselves. The ending has enough of twists not to be trite.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
amygatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read a review of this book online which compared it to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and as soon as I started the book I could not help but notice all the similarities between the two. However, at some point I completely forgot about that and got wrapped up in the puzzles and the plot. I really like that this book makes readers think and encourages them to participate in solving the puzzles and riddles. It is also nice (and in the same vein as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) to see the rude bully character (Rocky) brought to justice for cheating. I would recommend this book to fourth and fifth graders, although older students would also enjoy reading this. This is a fun, quick read, but it also challenges the reader and promotes creative problem solving. Male and female readers with all different interests would enjoy this book.
whitreidtan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was working at the school's book fair the other day and thought this one sounded cute. I set it aside to get for my second grade son but after a mom at the bookfair asked me to read it and let her know how it was, I dove into it first. I do still think it'll be cute for the kiddo but as an adult I have to say it was awfully derivative and that was somewhat disappointing. Even the author admits in the end note that she specifically wrote this when she couldn't find another book to satisfy a child who had just finished Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And the obvious influence of that classic is evident in so many ways in this one.Gil Goodson is desperate to join and ultimately win the Gollywhopper Games, the 50th anniversary celebration of the Golly Toy Company. If he wins, his dad has promised him that the family will move out of town and away from the lingering terribleness and malicious gossip following "The Incident." It turns out that The Incident refers to Gil's father being arrested for embezzling from the Golly Toy Company and although he is eventually found not guilty, the town has tried him in the court of public opinion and come back with a guilty verdict, resulting in the ostracizing of the family and Gil in particular. And Gil wants to leave all of this behind, hence his entry in the contest.He does get into the contest, successfully answering questions related to Golly products and he is one of the top ten after the final question, ensuring that he can go forward in the Games. Like in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Golly Toy Company building, where the second portion of the contest takes place, is an awe inspiring place of magic and fantasy. And Gil is, of course, not alone as a contestant. His fellow contestants are initially his teammates: Thorn, whose father bought up enough toys to guarantee him a spot in the contest; Rocky, who used to live in town and is so focused on winning that he is willing to cheat in order to come out on top; Lavinia, the sheltered bookworm; and Bianca, whose sole goal is to make it on tv. First the group must work as a team to defeat the other team of five and then they must compete as individuals to win it all. Although Charlie and the Chocolate Factory doesn't have puzzles to solve and stunts to perform, these puzzles and stunts are still reminiscent of the various stages of the tour Willy Wonka offers since they take place in a wonderous and fantastical place with characters eliminated at each juncture.The subplot of Gil's father's disgrace comes into play a few times throughout the action of the novel and while the resolution is predictable and easy to see as an adult, I'm not convinced that it would be so glaringly obvious to a child. The characters here are, thankfully, not entirely good or bad (well, aside from Gil, who is a bit of a conciliatory wishy-washy character). The ultimate end of the book is so predictable that it was disappointing to me and the puzzles weren't as hard as say, those that Ellen Raskin concocts in some of her wonderful books like The Westing Game, but they will probably be hard enough for the target audience, if the audience tries to solve them themselves instead of racing through the explanations to get back to the games. Feldman is inventive in her setting but given that she seems to have the imagination, I found it a let down that she didn't go further afield from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the plot. However, I suspect that this is simply a problem because I am an adult reading the book and not a kid. If you only have time for one book, I'd say read Charlie but if you have time for two, go ahead and compare with this one too. Oh, and one final note: this would not be a good read aloud book unless the reader is willing to draw visuals of the word puzzles.
JeSouhaite on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If Willy Wonka had a game/trivia show, the Gollywhopper Games would be it! When Gil¿s father gets fired from Golly Toy & Game Company for a crime he didn¿t commit, Gil decides to participate in the Gollywhopper Games to win the prize money for his family. As he and other kids work together and individually to solve mind boggling puzzles and do hilarious stunts, Gil discovers the truth about his father. A wild, zany, fantastic ride from start to finish! Ages 9-12
MesserPicks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this story! I just finished reading it aloud to my class and they were literally on the edge of their seat the entire time. They really enjoyed when we got to the puzzles. This is just a great story all around! I definately want to add it to my classroom library!
oapostrophe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
With more than a nod to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory we have here a fast-paced, action-packed story with characters I could believe in. Gil's dad was accused of embezzeling money from the Golly Toy Company and was taken to trial. Although he was exonerated, Gil is still suffering from the publicity.He wants more than anything to win The Gollywhopper Games so that his family can move away and start over. The games are great fun! Really good puzzles, teamwork, cheating and more!
weirweaver on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Anyone who enjoyed Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or likes solving puzzles should enjoy this book. Gil is an engaging character and your connection with him will propel you through the book.
lcherylc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have a golden ticket! Reminiscent of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Gil Goodson wants to move out of Orchard Heights to escape his family's dark past. So he decides to enter the Gollywhopper Games in hopes of winning the grand prize-- a one-way ticket out of Orchard Heights. This is a fun, fast-paced story with lots of games, puzzles, and riddles. This is my favorite books of 2008. Two thumbs way UP!
C.Vick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So, it's basically Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in a toy factory with a few twists. Not as dark. Nobody gets possibly sent to the incinerator, for instance, and there are no characters you'd really want to see go there.But the influence is obvious. You have a boy, maybe not poor in money, but poor in friends. You see, his father was accused of embezzling money from the Gollywhoopper Toy Company. Never mind that he was acquitted, the town has already tried him and sealed the verdict. Charlie, called Gil Goodson here, wants to win the games so his family can have enough money to move away from all those who keep calling his father a thief.You have a fantastical toy company hosting a special event. One way to get in is to find tickets in their products. (Cue "I've Got a Golden Ticket.") The kids will compete to win prizes. You've got your Veruca Salt type who gets in by buying so many products he has to get a ticket. You've a character who would be Augustus Gloop if Augustus were hooked on winning and not candy. A Mike Teavee (I guess she would be a Moovee, since she's hoping to be in films) with the spunk of a Violet Beauregarde. Perhaps the only odd man (or girl) out here is the character of Lavinia, an overprotected bookworm.Although the book is put forth as realistic fiction -- I mean embezzlement is hardly a fantasy crime -- the Gollywhopper factory is just as fantastical as Wonka's chocolate factory. It almost overpowered the story for me at times. I kept thinking things like, "But they couldn't have built up and then torn down a waterfall that quickly," or, "Did they have rooms that revolved before the games or did they (unbelievable) build them for the competition?" And so forth.Yet I can see the book's appeal. First of all, it is just a fun story. Just as every kid dreams of stumbling upon Wonka's amazing factory some day, I know the idea of this fantastical toy company will follow them to sleep.The puzzles are quite fun, if not very challenging for the adult reader. In this respect, the books are quite different from Wonka. I think fans of Chasing Vermeer or they Mysterious Benedict Society might enjoy Gollywhopper for this reason, as well as the teamwork.The teamwork is another key difference. The reader hardly feels sorry when Violet eats that gum and swells. She deserved it, right? But all the characters here, even cheaters like Thorn, have their redeeming points. And Gil can't get where he needs to without them.However, the ending is more or less the same (if I wasn't sure that Felman was working with Wonka in mind from the beginning, by the time the ending comes complete with a Slugworth-like turnaround [yes, I know Slugworth was only in the first film] I was quite sure). This is sort of unsatisfying, as I was hoping for something a little more... original.Gollywhopper Games isn't a wast of time -- far from it. It is riveting, and highly entertaining. If there was only time to read one or the other, I'd choose classic Dahl, but fortunately for us, there's time, and room, for them both.
mjsbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As I was reading this book, I was struck by certain similarities to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Lo and behold, in the author's notes she acknowledges that the inspiration for writing it was hearing a boy at the library ask for something like that classic. Feldman doesn't share Dahl's genius for fantasy, but this is diverting enough to recommend. In this case, Gil Goodson competes against thousands of other kids in the Golly Toy & Game Company's elimination contest. The other finalists are well-delineated, and the puzzles they must solve are clever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I do. Kay, my nook is broken. I think one of my bros stepped on it. There is no way to fix it tho. Im hopig to get a new one for Christmas, but i will probably not be on for a while. Im borrowing my sisters nook to tell u this. If u really need someoe to talk to ill check it once in a while on her nook but i probably wont be on for awhile. Dont leave! Im hoping to be back soon. Love ya!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey i saw your post on beswitched. I am also in 9th grade. ;D &hearts Hazel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sorry its been so long. How are you? Hans
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh never mind every one that says it's age is 12 so it is perfect for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So cool