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The Boys Start the War (Boy/Girl Battle) (1993)

por Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Series: Boys vs Girls (1)

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425752,921 (3.44)4
Disgusted that a family with three girls moves into the house across the river, nine-year-old Wally and his three brothers declare a practical joke war on the girls.

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read this when I was maybe ten. I cheered for the girls and especially adored bookish, horror fantasy-reading Beth. I didn't remember anything really about the book as an adult except the title. Woo! I found a book all by myself and didn't exclusively post anywhere!
I'm anti-prank. This...is nearly three hundred pages of a prank war between two sets of siblings who are new neighbors. As is common in 90s kid lit, they are defined by a single personality trait. The boys even give the girls mean nicknames based off them. The Goodreads page count is so off, that I wonder what happened and why it isn't fixed. It's three hundred pages of a prank war. That's a long, long time for it to go on, even if this is two books in one. The book has silly ones in it, and some that really could have gotten the kids injured (pulling ladders out from under them, dead squirrels, locking someone in a metal shed, various others). A few more innocent ones made me giggle. I sided even more heavily with the girls as an adult. They go big or go home, from the very first trick of convincing the boys, without any words, that their sister is dead and has a water burial (she's fine). Dang, ladies! While the war goes on, both sets of parents have no idea what's going on. Part I ends with Caroline pretending rabies. I positively guffawed. Caroline is so creative! And she appears to be practicing an acting method I was trained in as a kid and have always used: Stanislavsky method. What a joy it was to read, especially her going into the auditorium. Adults sometimes do that when there's a ghost light on. Part II is more of the same, and it quickly wears thin. When I learned this was two stories in one volume that was part of a series, the weak ending made sense. I'm glad I read this again, though. ( )
  iszevthere | Jul 13, 2022 |
Thoroughly and completely enjoyed this series, which I read to my daughters through Nov & Dec at bedtime. Love, love, love Phyllis Reynolds Naylor for elementary aged readers. Love, love, love this series for the Brady-bunch era of hijinx between children... Love, love, love that neither the boys nor the girls are clear-case winners of the "war", though, my daughters do believe there was a winner. Whole-heartedly recommend as a family read and to all elementary-aged readers. ( )
  olongbourn | Mar 1, 2015 |
The Boys Start the War by the award winning Phyllis Reynolds Naylor is a chapter book for the elementary level child. Boys and girls alike will enjoy this funny first installment, and a fairly accurate portrayal of parents will have adults who may be reading it out loud enjoying this tale too.

The four Hatford boys have always lived across from their best friends, the Benson brothers. After the Bensons move out of state, the Malloy family moves in. What is the downside to a new family living there? The Malloy’s have three – ugh – girls. In an effort to make the Malloy family leave so the Benson family can come back (excellent kid logic), the Hatford boys play a prank on the Malloy girls, hoping to gross them out enough to leave. Instead of leaving, the Malloy girls retaliate, and the war begins. Pranks are played back and forth, with the parents left completely unsuspecting (aside from an underpants incident).

As the first book in a 12-part series, The Boys Start the War has a rather unfulfilling conclusion; it is meant to be part of a series, so it takes place over only one month. It does a very good job, however, of enticing the reader into delving back into the Hatford/Malloy war.
For ages 8-12 ( )
  BolstlerJ | Nov 1, 2011 |
A book that made me think of a trademark children's story. Simple plot, very familiar in children's literature, lots of action focused on children, set in middle class suburbia. The story is about the Hatford boys who are missing their friends, the Bensons, having just moved out of the house across the street. A new family moves in, but their hopes are dashed when they discover that the new kids are all girls! They're so disappointed that they hatch a plot: they'll make the girls so miserable that they want to leave. The girls aren't ones to take pranks lying down, though, and before long an all out war is declared.

Naylor has written an easy story that evokes the playfulness and excitement of childhood. Nothing innovative or original here, but it is fun. I laughed out loud a few times, and was drawn by the happy nostalgia it induced in me. Who doesn't like a good "boy versus girl" story? Naylor captures the tension between the sexes that exists between young children, where they are drawn together and repulsed at the same time, conscious of the other gender as a slightly alien species, but not. She also portrays the feel of a child's day, lazy and energetic at once. This is a great book to help hook children into the habit of leisure reading. ( )
  nmhale | Sep 8, 2010 |
A very funny chapter book - both my 9-year-old and I enjoyed this one! This is the first book in a series. The four Hatford brothers live in a small town in West Virginia. Their best friends, the Bensons, have just moved to Georgia, and the Hatfords can't wait to see who moves in across the river. However, their excitement quickly wanes when they find out that the Malloy family has three daughters. Girls?!?!? What fun can that be? The Hatfords decide to play tricks on the Malloys to try to convince them to move back to Ohio, but the girls are pretty crafty too. The result is a "war" that's filled with laughs. ( )
  porch_reader | Feb 13, 2010 |
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Disgusted that a family with three girls moves into the house across the river, nine-year-old Wally and his three brothers declare a practical joke war on the girls.

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