I grew up with the work of Daniel Pinkwater. A copy of Lizard Music (1976) somehow or other appeared in our house when I was quite young– I say appeared because I don’t remember buying it, I don’t remember being given it, and no one else remembers anything about it either– and ever since then every so often I go on a Pinkwater reread in which I dive through whatever selection of his sixty to eighty books for children and young adults I can get my hands on.
From reader Michael Ash:
“For the past four summers, accomplished
amateur filmmaker Tom Barker has led a group of roughly twelve children, now aged 7 to 13, on a weeklong exploration of the art of filmmaking, from flipbooks and stop-action animation through storyboarding and acting to green screens and special effects.
This summer the older children (the “Green Team“) made a film adaption of their favorite novel, The Neddiad. Producer Tom (a.k.a. Grandpa Tom) was charmed by Ned’s reminiscences from the late 40′s and early 50′s and a chance to put his model trains in a movie. I’m one of the parents and grew up on Aldine Street, around 300m from Nettelhorst School, and my grandmother lived at 433 West Roscoe St. So the book holds special resonances for many of us.”
Have a look at the finished product right here.
Daniel sounds off in the Daily News about the “Pineapple and Hare” question. Read it.
OK, here is the deal. There are these companies that make up tests and various reading materials, and sell them to state departments of education for vast sums of money. One of the things they do is purchase rights from authors to use excerpts from books. For these they pay the authors non-vast sums of money. Then they edit the passages according to….I have no idea what perceived requirements. Here is the story as it appears in BORGEL, a novel I wrote. Borgel, who is 111 years old is telling this story and similar ones to his great-great nephew while riding on a bus:
The Story of the Rabbit and the Eggplant
Once there was a race between a rabbit and an eggplant. Now, the eggplant, as you know, is a member of the vegetable kingdom, and the rabbit is a very fast animal.
Everybody bet lots of money on the eggplant, thinking that if a vegetable challenges a live animal with four legs to a race, then it must be that the vegetable knows something.
People expected the eggplant to win the race by some clever trick of philosophy. The race was started, and there was a lot of cheering. The rabbit streaked out of sight.
The eggplant just sat there at the starting line. Everybody knew that in some surprising way the eggplant would wind up winning the race.
Nothing of the sort happened. Eventually, the rabbit crossed the finish line and the eggplant hadn’t moved an inch.
The spectators ate the eggplant.
Moral: Never bet on an eggplant.
I don’t know how the test publishing company changed the story. I gather they decided to call the rabbit a hare, and made the eggplant into a pineapple. Also there appears to be something about sleeves. And they made up questions for the students to answer. I would not have done any of these things. But it has nothing to do with me. I cashed the check they sent me after about 8 months, and took my wife out to lunch at a cheap restaurant. I believe, she ordered eggplant.
I want to thank kindly Webmaster Ed, and the many readers who sent such delightful birthday greetings, works of art and literature, personal notes, and only one document of psychiatric interest. (Which, I have to say, was my favorite thing in the package). It’s not for me to say, or know, if I am such a great author–but it is certain I have the best possible readers. It is my greatest pride that people such as yourselves tend to favor my work. So, I thank you for your congratulations on continuing to survive, and I congratulate you right back for being who you are.
P.S. Being 70 feels absolutely no different, but I have already used the phrase “breaking an old man’s heart,” in a letter to an editor. This old business will come in handy.