by Pinkwater, Daniel Manus
There are many words that could be used to describe Daniel Pinkwater's books. Wacky comes to mind. Outrageous. Lively. Real. Unreal. Comic genius Jules Feiffer, in his foreword to 5 Novels, says, "Pinkwater's thoughts don't connect like yours or mine. His 'tab A' does not fit into 'slot A' the way it's supposed to in a well-thought-out thought. More likely, his 'tab A' will fit into 'slot 14' or 'slot X79,' the kind of fit that might drive you or me crazy if we tried it, but when Pinkwater does it, you read it and say to yourself, 'Why, of course, this is how it should be.'"
Performing chickens, a New Jersey Martian, an orangutan orchestra conductor from Ceylon ... the details are what jump out of his novels. The ice cream dish in Slaves of Spiegel, for example, consisting of an eggplant, two slabs of whole-wheat pizza dough, 16 flavors of ice cream, fresh figs, pistachio nuts, a lobster, and assorted fresh garden vegetables and fruit. (It's served piping hot from the microwave, in a freshly laundered regulation army knapsack, to the accompaniment of Franz Liszt music.) This is what Pinkwater is all about. A junior-high schooler's dream of an author.
In 5 Novels, you can feast upon five beloved and quirky favorites: Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars, Slaves of Spiegel, The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death, The Last Guru, and Young Adult Novel. And if you still need more Pinkwater novels (and you definitely do), explore 4 Fantastic Novels. (Ages 9 and much, much older.) --Emilie Coulter
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