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  • Boys Against Girls
  • Written by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780440411239
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  • Boys Against Girls
  • Written by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307514813
  • Our Price: $5.99
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Written by Phyllis Reynolds NaylorAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor


List Price: $5.99


On Sale: December 24, 2008
Pages: 160 | ISBN: 978-0-307-51481-3
Published by : Yearling RH Childrens Books
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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.
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

About Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor - Boys Against Girls

Photo © Patrice Gilbert Photography

“Through my books I can be many different people, living in many different places, and doing all kinds of interesting things. I can recapture feelings from childhood or project myself into the future. Or I can take a real problem I may be experiencing and work it out on paper. Writing, for me, is the best occupation I can think of and there is nothing in the world I would rather do.”—Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor has written more than 135 books. Her work has been honored by the American Library Association, the International Reading Association, and the Children’s Book Council.


Newbery Medalist Phyllis Reynolds Naylor grew up in Anderson, Indiana, and Joliet, Illinois. She loved to make up stories and write little books when she was growing up, and sold her first story when she was 16 for $4.67.

Naylor worked as a teacher and an editor before she began to write full-time in 1960. She sold her first book for children in 1965.

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland with her husband, Rex who is a speech pathologist. They have two grown sons and four grandchildren.

“I think I wanted to be a writer because my parents read aloud to us every night until we were about 15 years old. They read Grimm’s fairy tales, the Bible storybook, all of Mark Twain’s books, Alice in Wonderland, The Wind in the Willows—and I think I probably felt that if listening to stories was so much fun, writing them would be even better. And it is. I love being involved in the characters and plot and just the whole mess of writing, it’s such a wonderful mess to me.

“I would like readers to develop more tolerance for people who are different, for ideas that are different, to come to realize that sometimes there isn’t just one right way to do something. People see different possibilities in a situation, and the solutions they come up with may be very different.”

About Her Books

“It was fun for me to do the Boy-Girl Battle Books series. I think I enjoyed them as much as the kids, and according to the stacks of letters I received, they liked them a lot. The idea for the series came to me when I was speaking at a school, and as the kids filed noisily into the gym, one teacher yelled, ‘If you don’t settle down, I’m going to seat you boy/girl/boy/girl.’ The gym was so quiet you could hear nothing but breathing. ‘Aha!’ I thought. The universal theme! The antagonism between boys and girls, ages 9 to 12. In one chapter, the girls may be one up on the boys; in the next, the boys may have the upper hand. There are twelve books in all, ending with Who Won the War.
I also enjoyed writing Faith, Hope and Ivy June. I think most girls have secrets, and Ivy June and Catherine are no exception. I loved researching the Kentucky setting for this book, and comparing the life styles of these girls--one in the city, the other in the mountains.”


Born: January 4, in Anderson, Indiana
Previous jobs: Third Grade Teacher, Editorial Assistant, Playground Supervisor
Hobbies: Snorkeling, Swimming, Piano, Theater, Reading
Favorite books: All kinds—scary, funny, serious. Mark Twain was her childhood favorite.
Favorite foods: Chocolate, Pizza
Favorite clothes to wear: Comfortable, colorful shirts and jeans
Favorite colors: Green and blue



—Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List


—A Child Study Association Children’s Book of the Year
Teachers Guide

Teacher's Guide



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).

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