Talk to DP Forum

Mike Duguay

May 17, 2015

Mr. Pinkwater,
I have carefully molding, shaping, and otherwise opening the minds of the 4th grade youth of my fine community in Vermont for the past 20 yrs, in part by reading aloud Lizard Music at the start of the year and Borgel near the end. In between I read other stuff, but that's not important now.
Several of my students (who discovered our schools's vast Pinkwater collection) have noticed that you returned to the world of the Hoboken Chicken Emergency and wrote additional stories after some time.
Their question ( and mine), will there be more Chicken man/Victor/Lizard stories or Borgel/Melvin/Fafner stories?

Please?

Daniel replies:

Mr. Duguay -- If you've been carefully molding and shaping and otherwise opening the minds of fourth-graders for 20 years, probably some of them are in the 24th grade by this time, and may blame you for how things have turned out. Wouldn't it make sense to randomly mold, shape and open, and that way you could tell them, "Hey, it's not my fault you happened to read those goofy books when you were younger." But that is none of my business. I will answer your question: It is not a matter of what I may write, but what I may write that gets published. If a book isn't published, nobody will ever see it, so why bother to write it when I could be taking a nap instead? It used to be that publishers were people who published books. Now they are more like corporations that publish books. There is a subtle difference. Without going into details, I can tell you that it is less possible for me to predict what I will be writing in the future. However, I expect to be writing some kinds of things, and there are some books written in the recent past I can recommend. Please salute your inquisitive students for me.

Jennifer Garrigan and The Big Cheese Kindergarten Class

May 17, 2015

"Today we read the The Big Orange Spot. We loved it and wanted you to know!!" Love The Big Cheeses

*I had not read this book before in my classroom. Thank you for writing and illustrating such a nice book about dreams and how important it is to be an individual.

Daniel replies:

Thank you very much for liking my book! I think it is great that cheese can go to kindergarten.

Howard Cowan

May 17, 2015

Reproachably watching tv news on May 10 or 11, a story involving parental objections to excessive student testing caught my attention. They focused on a particular set of questions following a short story about a race between a pineapple and a turtle (?) When the camera closed in on the test booklet, there, at the top of the story, was the author's name: Daniel Pinkwater. Apparently, the test provider had used one of your shaggy-Dada stories for
testing reading comprehension in elementary students. The parents seemed not to understand that the story was intentionally absurd and had voiced their anger at the use of this material for testing their children.
Is the moral of this misunderstanding that "cheap life imitates art"?

Daniel replies:

Not exactly. The test publisher had purchased rights to one of my shaggy-dada stories for use in an "educational material," and it was then edited out of all recognition, with hardly a single word as written by me. Then unanswerable questions were added. As one who once ran away from a Zen monastery, I was impressed.

J. L.

May 10, 2015

Dear Mr. (& Mrs.) Pinkwater,
My spouse and I have been reading the Larry books and the Irving and Muktuk books to our three-year-old son. We are enjoying them completely. However, we are a little confused. Are Irving and Muktuk Bear Number One and Bear Number Three, or did One and Three leave Bayonne before Irving and Mukuk's arrival? Thanks for clarification and any additional backstory.

Daniel replies:

Bear Number One and Bear Number Three COULD be Irving and Muktuk. It's difficult to tell one polar bear from another.

Doggy Mom

May 2, 2015

Dear Daniel (and Jill)
I've been a reader of your books since I was 14, and now I am grown, and have a dog who I love. I have read Superpuppy and am desperately in need of your guidance. My otherwise wonderful, loving 3 year old big dog is going through a phase where he will suddenly lash out and bite out of nowhere. (Not me. Other people) Please email me- I am in desperate need of a dog trainer I can trust.

Daniel replies:

It's not a phase, it's a serious problem--and you're in desperate need of a dog trainer in your community. Check with your vet, and other local vets, for referrals, try internet sources and local advertising. Be judicious in your choice...anyone can claim to be a dog trainer. And do not delay! The problem is probably easily solved, but unless you take action it will get worse.

William

April 26, 2015

I heard you on NPR some years ago describing Herschel’s so my wife and
I found the place and got to know Herschel. Unfortunately, he later
died and the wonderful hot dogs disappeared. Do you have any other
culinary suggestions?

Daniel replies:

Unless you took a trip from far away to Poughkeepsie to visit Herschel's, you already know it was an oasis in a comparative culinary desert. The only restaurant in the area I can think of where the food is good, the cooking comes from the heart, and customers are treated like friends is The Golden Wok in Red Hook, NY. Ask them to choose dishes for you, or bring you the sorts of things I usually order.

Art

April 26, 2015

Hi Mr. Pinkwater-

This question may be out in left field, but I was listening to a podcast recently where one of the hosts recently read and was talking about "HERBIE: The Fat Fury" comic books by "Shane O'Shea" and Ogden Whitney, published by the American Comics Group from 1958-1967. Herbie Popknecker was a morbidly obese child with round glasses, a bowl haircut who always had a sucker in his mouth and had weird fantastic adventures. His father always referred to him as a "fat little nothing" despite his ability to fly, travel through time, meet famous people, etc. The other host commented that the series sounded like a Daniel Pinkwater type story and perhaps Mr. Pinkwater had read this comic when he was younger.

So, have you in fact read this series and if so any remembrance you might share?

Thanks in advance!

-Art

Daniel replies:

You want I should bop you with this here lollipop?

a young writer

April 26, 2015

i am to you as you are to munakata.

Daniel replies:

You mean fat, with glasses, and not speaking any Japanese?

kelly

April 12, 2015

hi there,

a while back my grandmother called you up to tell you how much she and her friends loved your humor. she told you about how they liked to sit around listening to your books on tape and drinking moonshine. yall had a nice phone conversation. she had a strong kentucky accent.

just wanted to let you know that grandma passed away a few weeks ago and had requested that we read an excerpt from your book "borgel" at her funeral, so we did.

i love your books too.

– kelly cutter

Daniel replies:

Thanks for telling me. I'm honored that your grandmother wanted me to participate, through my book, in her sendoff. I'm confident she's enjoying the next part of her journey. I can't help wondering what excerpt was read.

Aaron

April 2, 2015

I am loving the weekly installments!

Now then, who or what is Luqman Keele? Any chance for a reading of his work?

Daniel replies:

Luqman Keele is a guy who wrote a book. Some way or another I got talked into doing a sort of rewrite or super-edit on his book, and the publisher put my name on it, possibly in the misplaced belief that it would help sales. It didn't. I haven't looked at it in many years, and don't remember much about it.