Gollywhopper GamesTitle: The Gollywhopper Games
Author: Jody Feldman
ISBN: 9780061214509
Pages: 308 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books, c2008.

“Are you sure about the answer? Absolutely, positively, down-to-your-very-soul sure? If we got the very first question wrong, I think I’d crumple up and die.”
“Yuck,” said Gil.
“No really.”
“Really, Bianca? If I thought I was wrong, I’d be racing like a wild man. Instead, I’m going to sit on this nice, hot bench.”
“Then why are more people over there?” Bianca pointed toward an overflowing section B. (53)

Gilbert Goodson is a twelve year old bent on participating in the first ever Gollywhopper Games. The games promise a grand prize of a full college scholarship, a copy of every game and toy Golly Toy and Game Company has ever sold, and “other stupendous prizes”. Gil however has his own reasons to win. Gil’s father was accussed of embezzling money from the toy company. If he wins, Gil’s father promises to move away from the scrutiny that has followed him around for over a year. Gil however, has to prove his worth against 25,000 other competitors. When he enters into the finals against nine other contestants, it’s a question of brains versus brawn versus the cheaters.

The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman is filled with mind games to test any reader’s fast thinking skills, and math and word fans will find plenty of enjoyment. Although some readers might get bogged down in the riddles, there’s action and fast paced suspense enough to entertain everyone, with entrigue and corruption everywhere. The endnotes state that she wrote the book after a kid came into the library looking for something to read after Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Knowing this after reading the book, I can definitely see some similarities; fantastical and everchanging setting, a rich kid buying his way into a contest, a ditzy and annoying girl who wants to become famous, and an instantly likeable main character whose family has fallen on hard times through no fault of their own. Feldman has succeeded in capturing the chocolate factory feel.