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  • Boys in Control
  • Written by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780440416814
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  • Boys in Control
  • Written by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307514820
  • Our Price: $6.99
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Written by Phyllis Reynolds NaylorAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor


List Price: $6.99


On Sale: December 18, 2008
Pages: 160 | ISBN: 978-0-307-51482-0
Published by : Yearling RH Childrens Books
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Play ball! That’s what the sixth-grade Buckman Badgers baseball team plans on doing. Eddie Malloy and Jake Hatford hope to lead their team to the championship game the last Saturday in May. But due to a mix-up, Mrs. Hatford has to run a yard sale for the Women’s Auxiliary of the Buckman Fire Department the very same day in their very own yard! Not wanting to miss out on the game, the family elects the only nonbaseball fan in the family, Wally, to stay home and help watch over the sale tables until they return. Wally’s ticked off. On top of that, Caroline Malloy has written and will perform a play for a school project and has roped Wally into costarring with her. Let Caroline think she’s so smart. Wally has his own reason for being in the play. It looks like the Hatfords could be totally humiliated after the girls stumble upon an embarrassing item from the boys’ past. Leave it to Wally’s secret plan to turn the tables on the girls’ scheme and prove who’s really in control! Boys rule!

From the Hardcover edition.




Wally Hatford took two baseball cards from his dresser--Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez--and stuck them in a jacket pocket. Jake had given them to him a month before just because he had duplicates, but Wally was going to trade them at school for a magic trick--a box that took a quarter and turned it into a fifty-cent piece.

When he got downstairs and hung his jacket over a chair, he found his mother moving about the kitchen and talking to herself in a state of great agitation.

"I must have been clear out of my mind!" she said, lifting the teakettle off the stove and plunking it right back down again. "I don't know what in the world possessed me to say yes last year, when I had no idea what I'd be doing a year from then."

When Mrs. Hatford talked like this, Wally and his older brothers knew to lie low. Even their father knew that as long as breakfast was on the table, it was better to sit down and butter a biscuit than to ask what she was talking about.

But Peter, who was in second grade, hadn't learned that yet. He licked the grape jelly off his fingers and asked, "What did you say yes to?"

Everyone else at the table gave him a silent shake of the head. When Mrs. Hatford started talking, it was sometimes hard to get her to stop, and the boys would be lucky to make it to school on time. But it was too late.

"The Women's Auxiliary of the Buckman Fire Department's Treats and Treasures yard sale," she said, and immediately sank down in her chair at the end of the table and rested her chin in her hands.

"Now, that's a mouthful," Mr. Hatford said, hiding a smile behind his mug as he finished the last of his coffee. "Did you promise to clean out our attic and look for things to give to the sale?"

"I promised to run the sale!" Mrs. Hatford moaned.

"At the firehouse?"

"Right here in our yard! Right out there on the driveway! Right up on our front porch!" Mrs. Hatford cried.

Now all the Hatfords were staring.

"Well, Ellen, that shouldn't be so hard," said her husband. "I'm sure the boys will help, and I'll do what I can."

"No, you won't, because the sale happens to be the last Saturday in May, and you know what that is!"

Wally tried to think, and then he remembered. That would be the day of the final game in the district elementary school baseball championships. And Jake, his brother, was on the Buckman Badgers.

"If the Badgers make it that far, you know we'll all want to be there rooting for Jake!" Mrs. Hatford said in distress. "I'm certainly going to be taking half days off from work each Saturday in May that he's playing."

Now it was a family emergency! Wally saw Jake's eyes open wide. Even Josh, Jake's twin, looked startled that his mother might have to be anywhere else on that fateful day. Jake had wanted to play for the Buckman Badgers ever since he was six years old. This was the year, and May was the month, and the twenty-ninth was the day of the championship game.

But it just so happened, Mrs. Hatford continued, that in the window of every store in town there was a poster about the Treats or Treasures yard sale, which would be held from noon till four on May twenty-ninth at the home of Tom and Ellen Hatford on College Avenue, rain or shine. So there was no getting out of it. On that particular day, she would need to take a whole day off from her job at the hardware store, but how could she be in two places at once?

There was silence around the kitchen table as sausage gravy congealed on plates and biscuits grew cold.

"Well, after all the practice I've put in pitching balls to Jake for the last five years, I've got to be at that game," said Mr. Hatford. "If I have to take four vacation days off for baseball, that's okay with me. We hadn't planned on going anywhere this summer."

"He's my twin brother! I'm going to be there!" said Josh.

"I've been watching Jake practice ever since I was born!" Peter declared. "I'm going to go sit in the very first row and I'll yell the loudest of all."

"Well, I'm Jake's mother!" Mrs. Hatford said. "How could I not be at the championship game when my very own son is one of the pitchers? At least, we hope the Badgers will be playing that game."

Jake scraped up some sausage gravy with his fork and put it in his mouth, looking very smug and important.

Wally knew what was coming. He knew it before the first word was spoken. He had felt that something was up the moment he'd stepped into the kitchen that morning, in fact. He wondered if he'd sensed it even before he got out of bed. And now the whole family had turned their heads and were looking down the table at him.

"No," said Wally.

"Now, Wally," said his father. "There are times when every member of a family has to stand up and be counted."

"You can count me, but I don't want to do it," said Wally.

"There are times you have to make sacrifices for the good of the family," said his mother. "And you have to admit that baseball isn't your favorite thing."

Wally didn't see that this made any difference. Maybe he did think baseball was sort of boring, and maybe he did like to lie back in the bleachers and study the clouds instead of watching the team practice. But did that mean he wanted to stand out on the driveway surrounded by old lamps and curtain rods and picnic hampers, arguing about prices and missing the game? The game that was going to decide the sixth-grade champion of the district?

From the Hardcover edition.
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

About Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor - Boys in Control

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

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