Whether you know Daniel Pinkwater as a children's book author (and you should, he's written over 40 fabulous books) or as a National Public Radio commentator, you must agree that he is a very, very funny guy. Though his books are perfectly nonsensical and absurd in all the best ways, they leave you feeling strangely serene about the universe. Whether his books introduce us to muffin-eating polar bears (Larry), really old time-traveling men (Uncle Borgel), or 266-pound chickens (Henrietta from The Hoboken Chicken Emergency), they each reflect a polite world where people (and other species) basically respect each other--warts, multiple heads, foul smells (we're thinking of the Bloboform), and all. As luck would have it, four of Pinkwater's previously published novels are now combined in one delicious and aptly named paperback volume, 4 Fantastic Novels. In it you'll find Borgel, Yobgorgle: Mystery Monster of Lake Ontario, The Worms of Kukumlima, and The Snarkout Boys and the Baconburg Horror, none of which will disappoint. Fans will want to pick up 5 Novels as well, a collection which includes Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars, Slaves of Spiegel, The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death, The Last Guru, and Young Adult Novel.|
What are Pinkwater's novels like? Imagine the wondrous science fiction classic A Wrinkle in Time without the heavy cosmos stuff--and seventy times funnier. (In Borgel, for example, 111-year-old Uncle Borgel compares the concept of time to a map of the state of New Jersey and describes space as "sort of like a bagel, but an elliptical one, with poppy seeds.") His fast-paced and funny adventure stories are philosophical and moral, though undercut with such delightfully irreverent goofiness that they never lose their buoyancy, not for a second. Pinkwater reaches out to the kids all over the planet who feel like "the boy from Mars," and shows them that everything is not only going to be just fine, but that life is pretty darn magical. (Ages 9 to 109).