Talk to DP Forum

Stefan Carmien

November 26, 2015

Dearest Mr. Pinkwater,

I want to tell you haw much joy and fresh eyes you have given to me and my three children, who are now 31, 21, and 15. When I was first turned on to your wonderful writings, my oldest was 8 and I convinced her, briefly, that I wrote the book, as we look very similar.

I have a couple of things to share- when I was in high school in the 60’s (Beverly hills High) I was in a group calling themselves the ‘Ennui Provo%u2019s’ and except for being 16 an not 12 and taking a lot of psychedelics, were alarmingly similar to the wild dada ducks – we sponsored a 30 pace brick bat duel, sang Christmas carols in June on the sunset strip while handing out IBM cards and celebrated dada a lot.

I know that you have been interested in meditative philosophy from your books and find that your description of the dancing Popsicle in Borgel, without giving away any secrets, is an excellent description of what is often referred to as ‘pointing out’. I have been a student of the Kagyu lineage (Trungpa) for 40 years and you see to have had some real experiences – it is so wonderful to share them with kids in a light hearted way.

From reading the Neddiad, I think that we kind of occupied the same space for a while; I was raised in Beverly Hills and your description sounds very west LA to me, during the time I was around your protagonist%u2019s age. I also went to Harvard school and suspect you may have briefly gone to Black Fox or one of the other military schools. Anyway whether or not you did, you evoked very familiar memories of that time.

Much love to you,
Stefan Carmien

Daniel replies:

I did go to Black-Foxe Military Institute.  I think the Harvard School used to beat us in sports from time to time.  Meditative philosophy is good if one doesn't get all serious about it.  Very glad to know you and your children enjoyed some of my work.

ann dee

November 26, 2015

several years ago (probably about 6 years ago) you spoke to an old woman from kentucky. she told you that she and her friends loved to listen to your books on tape. you talked for about 15-20 minutes. anyway, i have to admit to you that that woman was in fact my father, who excels at impressions and spent half his childhood growing up in NYC and half in west virginia (you might say he’s half NY jew, half hick, a combination that makes for an interesting perspective). i think he was willing to do this because he’s a kind of fringe person, who doesn’t adhere to normal social mores; i, meanwhile, was about 14 and thrilled to hear my favorite author’s voice. anyway, i have to ask- did you actually believe that this was an old woman from kentucky? or were you just humoring my father?

i hope you’re not angry. you and (s)he seemed to have a lovely, interesting conversation.

Daniel replies:

I generally assume everybody is an old woman from Kentucky.

Matt McElligott

November 26, 2015

Dear Daniel,

Today, on the CBS Sunday Morning show, one of the stories featured a master banana ripener named Tony Commando. (

If that’s not a Pinkwater character, I don’t know what is.

Do you two know each other?



Daniel replies:

I do not have time to consort with banana ripeners, much as I value their work.

Stacey Nilsson

November 22, 2015

We are in search of 30 copies of Once Upon a Blue Moose for a very dedicated teacher in Duluth, MN. However, I have only been able to acquire roughly 6 used copies. Just wondering if there are any other avenues to which I could acquire 30 copies of these beloved stories so he can keep teaching them to his 4th grade class.

Daniel replies:

I'd say 4th Avenue, but you'd have to be in New York, and it would have to be 50 years ago.  I can't help you.  I can't even advise you to make Xerox copies, and assuage your guilt at breaking the law by making a donation to this website, (all donations are in turn donated to worthy causes, like Perfect Pets Rescue).  But I am not advising this, you understand.

CHPL JrBookClub

November 22, 2015

We hope you had a happy birthday! We’re enjoying your books in our book club! This website is fun too. Thanks for your wonderful books.

Daniel replies:

Thank you!  I'm glad you Chapelhillians are enjoying my books.  (I've visited your town, and it is one of the very nicest.)

Sarah Norton

November 19, 2015

O Divine One,
I’d like to join the legion of readers requesting a reprint of “The Wuggie Norple Story.” I read it to my two sons, my three grandsons, and now I have a great-nephew and two great-nieces who require a nightly dose of Wuggie Norple, or their childhoods will be incomplete. The first copy I bought (35 years ago), was misprinted–two of the pages were transposed. My flipping back and forth to read the story in sequence undoubtedly contributed to the book’s falling apart. I replaced it, of course; in fact, I’ve bought at least two dozen copies over the years. Wuggie Norple is the best antidote to grumpiness, sadness, and ill humour that I know of. Too bad you can’t bottle it. . .
If I knew how to start a petition to encourage your publisher to move quickly, I would.
Thank you for many, many years of delightful and delighted reading!

Daniel replies:

If you, or anyone, could invent a kind of petition, or pill, or horrible threat, that would encourage a publisher to move quickly, I'd say whoever did it would be a cinch for a Nobel Prize.  Meanwhile, there are copies to be found on Amazon, and Ebay and from various booksellers online...and you might want to look into my 100+ other titles, possibly you can find another favorite by the same author.

Walt Owen

November 19, 2015

Mr. Pinkwater! As someone who shares your birthday, I just wanted to take a moment to wish you a happy one! May your days be filled with joy and wonder and may you find what you need to find!

Daniel replies:

Right back atcha, fellow fortunate November Fifteenther.

Hazel Morishige

November 12, 2015

I love Hoboken chicken, I’m really excited that I can have it on my phone. I love it!

– Hazel Emmeline Morishige (4 years old)

I her father is very grateful to have such a generous individual sharing his creative soul for children to enjoy asking only for donations. We donated 10 bucks, a small price for such a magical resource. I am imagining a world where access to information is available to all and perpetuated by the direct intrinsic value assessed by those willing.

Thanks for your passion.

Daniel replies:

I didn't even know you can have the Hoboken Chicken on your phone!  That's great!  I'm so glad you like it.  (By the way, we don't exactly ask for donations--we just let people know they can give them, and everything donated gets passed on to some worthy cause, like animal rescue.)  I hope you will read more of my books!

Lauren Parzivand

November 10, 2015

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

The 3rd grade students in my class just finished reading The Big Orange Splot. When discussing how it changed the neighborhood, a question came up regarding the racial make up of the neighborhood itself.

We were in the middle of talking about how Mr. Plumbean painted his house and how the following conversations with his neighbors allowed them to respect their individuality, when one student asked if the neighborhood was made up of “people of different skin colors”.

I thought this was a great question to refer to you, as we were curious about the neighborhood that inspired this story.

We would love to hear your answer. Thank you for your time.


Daniel replies:

I don't have a copy of THE BIG ORANGE SPLOT before me, but I'm pretty sure if you look at the pictures the question will be answered.  So, instead of answering it again I'll tell you some of the background, and some facts about the book, and the writing of it--maybe you'll be able to share this material with your class.  In 1972, when I'd had two or three picture books published, my wife and I had occasion to move temporarily to a city in North Carolina, and we lived in an apartment in one of those cheap developments very similar to the one in the book.  When I looked out the windows, I saw the other units in the development--all the houses were the same.  This answers the question authors are always asked, "where did you get the idea for the book?"  I hadn't brought my studio equipment, so I went to the drug store, and bought children's materials, a sketch book and markers.  I sent the book to a publisher in New York, and they offered me a contract!  I expected them to ask me to do finished art, but they wanted to use the sketches I'd sent on the crummy paper.  But then, the editor who had bought the book left the company to be editor-in-chief at another company, and the contract was cancelled.  So, I sent the book to the editor at his new job.  This time he rejected the book!  I wanted to know why.  He liked it when he worked at the old place, why not now?  He explained that one of his new colleagues objected to the name of the main character.  I had given him the name Mr. Pafnadopolis.  The colleague thought a Greek name might be offensive to Greeks and Greek-Americans.  I did not ask why the colleague thought having a Greek name name would offend Greeks.  Instead I asked if there would be any objection to the book if we called the character something else.  My editor asked the colleague, and I changed Mr. Pafnadopolis into Mr. Plumbean.  This answers any questions about how publishers make their decisions.  The book was published, and is still in print after all these years, and I have written over a hundred more.  A couple of years ago a production company purchased rights to develop The Big Orange Splot into a Broadway musical.  They seemed like very nice people.  I don't know what progress they are making, but they paid the fees to continue developing for a second year--so maybe it will happen.  When you publish a book, and it goes out into the world, it has a life of its own.  This particular book has been used by many teachers, and enjoyed, I hope, by many children.  Something like 700,000 copies have been sold over the years, and it has been translated into many languages.  With the drawings on crummy paper from the drug store, done with a cheap children's marker set.

Mark Gerhard

November 7, 2015

OK, will work on complete redo of the publishing business. Just bought a copy of Wuggie Norple for $12 for my grandson. On a side note, in my Doodling, Napping and Daydreaming class at the GATE Academy in San Rafael we have completed reading the following: Alan Mendelson, The Last Guru, YobGorgle, Borgel, Wuggie Norple, I was a 2nd grade Werewolf, Guys from Space, Fat Men from Space, Aunt Lulu, Wempires, Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl. We are halfway through the Neddiad, and have Bushman Lives and the Ygnnesy on the shelf as well. Once in a while a kid suggests that we read something by another author, which I explain is against the rules. Any suggestions for what else to read upon finishing these gems? Some of the kids want to write a musical based on Alan Mendelson, I told them I’d tell you.

Daniel replies:

You've mentioned a bit over a dozen books by me, out of over a hundred.  Since the doodling, napping daydreamers are getting to be experts on my books, I'd say anything at all would help them in their work, which I assume will be creating a digital simulation of me in a very few years.

Peace for Paris - © Jean Jullien