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The Boys Start the War (Boy/Girl Battle, #1)
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The Boys Start the War (Boy/Girl Battle #1)

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  1,410 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
The first book in the hilarious trilogy featuring the feuding Hatford and Malloy families. When a new family--with three daughters--moves into the neighborhood, the Hatford brothers decide to make Caroline and her sisters so miserable that they'll want to go back to Ohio.
Paperback, 144 pages
Published January 8th 2002 by Yearling (first published March 1st 1993)
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recommended for E410
Maybe I have a juvenile sense of humor, but I found this book really funny. As the title indicates, it's basically about boys vs girls. It doesn't get much deeper than that, but the antics between the Malloy girls and the Hartford boys are a hoot. I know that's such an old-lady way of saying things, but I can't think of a more apt expression.

To quote a letter written by one of the Hartford boys:

"So far here is what these girls have done:
1. Outpitched the boys at recess (ev
Zack K.
May 12, 2011 Zack K. rated it it was amazing
I really liked the book. It was funny it had rivalry and the setting was perfect for the idea of the book. The part i like most was when the boys' dad caught caroline taking his boxer briefs. It was hilarious! the book was about when the boys' friends move out and girls move in. When the boys find out they try to chase them off to get their friends to come back.The parents of the two rival families think each of the other families kids are nice and try to get them to be friends. The boys' mom ma ...more
Taylor Moore
I really enjoyed this book! I originally read this series in the 4th grade and still enjoyed it more than ten years later. Naylor's series are all so very different, so it was fun to try to make connections between this series and the Shiloh trilogy and Alice series. This book, which focuses on a neighbor, boy vs. girl rivalry in which sibling alliances take turns playing pranks one another, is not only extremely funny and entertaining, but it has undertones of consequentialism. This book, like ...more
Oct 07, 2010 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Grades 2+
Shelves: library-book
The Boys Start the War is the first of many books in this series, which is about the Hatford boys and the Malloy girls, who do everything from faking a death to stealing Mr. Hatford's underwear to make each other miserable. I really liked it because it is funny, and it is easy enough for a 2nd or 3rd grader to read. Great book!
Bernini and Juliet
Dec 04, 2010 Bernini and Juliet rated it really liked it
It was one of my favorite books as a kid.
Oct 15, 2014 Rider rated it it was amazing
I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cindy Birge
Jan 04, 2011 Cindy Birge rated it really liked it
A fun read aloud for my 3rd grade classes.
Aug 22, 2012 Chelsey rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
My teacher read this to me in 5th or 6th grade and it's always been a favorite! Such a fun kids book with exciting things happening all the time! Can't wait to read it to my kids!!!!
Aug 21, 2012 Denya rated it it was amazing
Loved these as a kid!
Dec 23, 2016 Diane rated it liked it
When their best friends, the Bensens, move to Georgia for a year, the Hatford boys anxiously await news of who is moving into the Bensen house. When they find out they are girls, the Hatford boys are appalled. And war is declared. If they can get the Malloy girls to move away, the Bensens can return. This first book includes a chocolate cake floating down the river, the Malloys howling on the roof and Caroline trapped in a shed and acting like a rabid dog (with the help of marshmallow foam.)
May 14, 2017 Michaela rated it it was amazing
This book was hilarious. I can't wait to read the next one .
Carter Gray
Feb 08, 2017 Carter Gray rated it really liked it
There are a couple of things that happen in this book. First Eddie, Beth, and Caroline move into the Benson's house. The Benson boys were friends with the Hatford boys. Second the hatford boys and the Malloy sisters play pranks on each other.

There are some problems in this book. But the main problem is that the Malloy sisters moved into the Benson's house. So the Hatford boys don't like that because they were friends with the Bensons. So they play pranks on each other. One way they can solve
Jake, Josh, Wally and Peter Hartford are horrified when their best friends, the Bensons move away. The Benson’s house is up for rent and the Hartford boys are worried that someone without any children is going move into it. That means that they won’t have enough people for a baseball team, no one to go trick-or-treating with and no one to play with. But they never realized that wasn’t the worst thing that could happen. When three girls move in next door the Hartfords realize that they need to ge ...more
Aug 29, 2011 Suebee rated it liked it
A fun introduction to a series. One of my 3rd grade classes liked this last year.

Written in 1993, the four Hatford brothers are upset that their best friends, the five Benson boys, moved away from their home across the creek in their small WV town. Three Malloy girls with their family move in, and a war begins when the boys dump stinky dead fish, etc. in the creek by their house, and the girls see it and get even, pretending to mourn and dump their "dead" sister Caroline into the creek, all fo
The Harford boys, Jack, Josh, Peter, and Wally are sad when the Benton family (and their best friends) move to Georgia. They're hopeful that more kids will move into their house...and their wish is granted when the Malloy family with three kids all about their ages move in! Just one problem...they are all girls! Well, when the boys plan a 'welcome to the neighborhood' prank on the girls, they don't know what they are in for, or what they've started. All summer long and well into the start of sch ...more
Mar 13, 2015 Meagan rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-alouds
I used this book as a read-aloud with my students. It is about a family with 3 boys that lives close to a family with 5 boys. The 5 boys move away, and the other 3 are eager to see who is going to move into the house. They heard that it was a family with 3 kids, and they thought that it was going to be all boys. Much to their surprise and dismay, it was 3 girls that moved in. The girls catch the boys spying on them one day, and decide to give them a real "show". This is the beginning of an elabo ...more
Apr 23, 2011 Nicole rated it really liked it
This book was a mother-daughter bonding experience. My 8 year-old daughter recommended it to me, and we've had a great time talking about the characters and the things they did to get the others to leave. Lots of opportunities to talk about "what could they have done" or "what was a consequence of that decision".

With the story's feuding main characters, the Hatfords and Malloys, who lived on opposite sides of a small river, the author was clearly alluding to the famous feud between the Hatfield
Sep 12, 2009 Katie rated it really liked it
The four Hartford brothers thought that having some new boys move into the neighbor's house might make them feel a little better about the fact that their best friends had recently moved away. When the new family shows up, however, it is discovered that the Malloys have three GIRLS. Within less than a week the Malloys and the Hartfords have declared war. What follows is an unceasing series of sinking cakes, floating heads, stolen underwear, and elaborate hoaxes. This riotous book begins an excel ...more
Feb 04, 2013 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Hilarious. Funny for children of all elementary school ages. Even my teen was laughing as she over heard me reading. Short chapters with something funny in each one. Perfect for a little evening reading with young children. As a parent, I love that these children spend their free time climbing trees, staging theatrics, playing outdoor games, and studying bugs. It's true that things do get a little heated between the boys and the girls at times, but ultimately, each side loves the excitement of t ...more
Benjamin Elliott
Jan 30, 2017 Benjamin Elliott rated it liked it
The titles for this series give all of the preview you need to know that this tells the story of a prank war between the two genders. Other than the fact that it is simply the boys and girls of two families instead of two larger groups (summer camps, scouts or something), it plays out much the way you would expect. I'm not sure how they get 8 books out of this premise, but I'm willing to check out at least a couple more.
Jun 13, 2016 Krista rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 20, 2012 Kimberly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2010
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.
Apr 11, 2013 Shablandelina rated it liked it
i kinda liked the book. i liked the last part where Caroline pretends to be ill and then Jake calls Beth and begs her to come and take Caroline!and then when their mum and dad came and made them peel the apples!
i read this in an hour and a half i think mostly because it was kinda childish and didn't have that many pages and another reason was that i wanted to see what they were gonna do to each other!I might start reading the next book tonight!
Aug 24, 2008 Caroline rated it liked it
Shelves: series
The Hatford brothers' friends moved away, and now a new family is moving in. It's three girls, and they all have nicknames. Eddie is "The Whomper" because she can whomp a baseball really hard and really far, which is one of the twins' true title (I forget which). Beth is "The Weirdo" because she reads mystery books 24/7, even when she's brushing her teeth. And Caroline is "The Crazy" because she's always ready to involve everyone in her dramatic scemes.
May 03, 2011 Megan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 3rd-4th grade
Recommended to Megan by: "Realistic Fiction" Library Sparks 2/11
The Hatford brothers are devestated when the family who moves in next door (the Malloys) have girls instead of boys. Determined to get the girls to move away, the brothers begin a series of pranks that are quickly reciprocated by the Malloy sisters. A reference to the Hatfield/McCoy feud that young readers probably won't get.
May 18, 2013 Nicole rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Young Readers
Recommended to Nicole by: Sisters
Despite being an old series, the trouble the boys and girls cause are relate able while being outrageously hilarious! Most cause-effort stories get repetitive but the plot and revenges made by Naylor keeps this series interesting and suspenseful.

Best Part: The entire series will make you laugh regardless of what team you're rooting for.
Apr 08, 2010 Miss rated it really liked it
This book was added by Ummey.
This book is a really good book. Escpecialy for boys who are always planing to trick each other. All the book is about is about the boys of the family of the Hartfords live in West Virgina. Their best friends\neighbors have moved away to Gorgia and instead of boys moving in there three girls move in . Read about all the bad tricks each other play on each other.
Mar 22, 2012 Deborah rated it liked it
The Harfield brothers are sad when their neighbors and best friends (boys) move away and are replaced by a houseful of girl - three to be exact. The Harfields decide to play a prank on the girls, starting the war. While it was cute, I don't have any intention of continuing the series. Really how can this plotline of pranks and revenge remain fresh?

Upper elementary.
Oct 09, 2012 Erick added it
I think that when the Hatford brothers were expecting three boys to move into the house across the river where their best friends, the Bensons, used to live, the Malloy girl arrive instead. Wally and his brothers decide to make Caroline and her sisterso miserable that they'll want to go back to ohio, but they haven't counted on the ingenuity of the girls

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Phyllis Reynolds Naylor was born in Anderson, Indiana, US on January 4, 1933.

Her family were strongly religious with conservative, midwestern values and most of her childhood was spent moving a lot due to her father's occupation as a salesman.

Though she grew up during the Depression and her family did not have a lot of money, Naylor stated that she never felt poor because her family owned good boo
More about Phyllis Reynolds Naylor...

Other Books in the Series

Boy/Girl Battle (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Girls Get Even  (Boy/Girl Battle, #2)
  • Boys Against Girls (Boy/Girl Battle, #3)
  • The Girls' Revenge (Boy/Girl Battle, #4)
  • A Traitor Among the Boys (Boy/Girl Battle, #5)
  • A Spy Among the Girls (Boy/Girl Battle, #6)
  • The Boys Return (Boy/Girl Battle, #7)
  • The Girls Take Over (Boy/Girl Battle, #8)
  • Boys in Control (Boy/Girl Battle, #9)
  • Girls Rule! (Boy/Girl Battle, #10)
  • Boys Rock! (Boy/Girl Battle, #11)

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