Talk to DP Forum

Jonah Flamm

How did you name Irving and Muktuk?

May 20, 2019

Dear Mr Pinkwater,

A year and a half ago, my family got two pet rats. We decided to name them Irving and Muktuk after the two bad bears, which my sister and I enjoyed reading as young children. We love them to death, and I’m wondering how did you decide on these names for the polar bears? I am curious to know the meaning behind the names that occupy such a large place in my heart.

Best wishes,

Jonah Flamm

Daniel replies:

Well, Muktuk is the name of a popular food, made from whale skin and blubber. Usually eaten raw, it is oily, with a nutty taste, and quite rubbery. And Irving is a fairly common name for polar bears.

Ivy Sheldon-Greene

Not a question

May 20, 2019

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

This is really just a fan letter….My daughter–a high school senior–has to bring a a favorite childhood picture book to her AP English Lit class. I suggested Bake Shop Ghost and started reminiscing about listening to your NPR reviews and running out to buy the books….which I have saved.

Thank you for your inspiring choices. My youngest child is going off to college and I am getting way too weepy and nostalgic but enjoying looking through these books that have been hiding for way too long.

Thank you,

Ivy Greene

Daniel replies:

Thank you very much! It was fun finding good books to talk about on NPR, and working with such talented people. NPR was like a family, a big, dysfunctional family. It's a delight to know that you were listening, and liked the books.

Mira Karabin

Artsy Smartsy Club

May 17, 2019

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

Eveliina (9) and I had a roaring good time reading about Arthur Bobowicz and Henrietta in Hoboken. 

We just started the Artsy Smartsy Club and she loves hearing and saying the name Bruno Ugg (“like Egg,” she giggles) and I delight in saying the name, Loretta Fischetti, out loud again and again.

And then last night – I wish you could have heard it – the wild guffawing, cluck cluck, gut-busting squeals that erupted from Eveliina when I reached the paragraph in the book when she learned that Nick Itch’s real name is Ivan Itch!!! Ten minutes of pure convulsive ecstatic hilarity!

Oh my goodness… what fun!!! 

Thanks for sharing your joy. Love all your books!!!

Cheers,

Mira (44) and Eveliina (9) 

Hartsdale, NY

Daniel replies:

Imagine how it feels when one is a writer and someone describes having all kinds of fun with something he wrote, specifically hoping people would have fun with it! Are you imagining? Well, it feels better than that. Imagine again. OK, now you're getting it. Are you smiling? I am.

Ronnie

Big Orange Splot

May 4, 2019

Mr. Pinkwater,

Just thought you would appreciate the impact that your book has had in my life.  I read your book when I was in grade school, bought the book and read it to my children.  I winded up giving that copy away to a friend, and then recently bought a few copies for work colleagues with newborns.  I bought 3 and winded up giving them away to other new parents, so I had to buy more.  Bought 3 more, gave them away.  3 more, now I just bought 4 and gave 2 away today.

Simple as it’s message was, I recall even in grade school the message that being yourself and expressing yourself isn’t a ‘bad’ thing, and authenticity is contagious.

Just thought you’d like to know. 🙂

Thanks,

Ronnie Battista

Daniel replies:

It is cool! You know, one doesn't think much about a book meaning something to someone, or being valuable to them...it's a lot to think about, just trying to get everything right in making it. So, it's a delightful surprise when I get a message like yours. Thanks for telling me!

Paul

The Big Orange Splot, why no audiobook?

May 3, 2019

Love that book and recommend it to others. Is there a reason there can be no audiobook for it? If not would you consider making one yourself or with someone else?

Thanks for your contribution to my childhood (and world view) and that of everyone I’ve recommended it to, including my kids. 

Daniel replies:

I dunno. There are about 20 free audiobooks on this very site, but The Big Orange Splot happens not to be one of them. There may be a reading of it on one of the podcasts, also available for download free, but I don't know which one, if there is one. My apologies for disappointing you.

Michael Sharon

What are you doing these days?

April 28, 2019

I hope that you and your family are happy and healthy.

I have always enjoyed your writing and commentary. I discovered your work as an adult, just in time to share it with our children, who also found humor and wisdom in your words.

I have not seen/heard much from you recently and wonder, what have you been up to?

Daniel replies:

I too, wonder what I have been up to. The family, meaning Jill and the pets, and also me, are indeed happy and healthy as per your inquiry. I am writing a book, perhaps 3/4 finished, and there is another, shorter book scheduled, (but I don't know precisely when.) My dog, Kee, knows all her commands in English, German, and Yiddish. We started learning them in Latin, but neither of us liked it as much. (She can read hand signals too, and certain words block-printed on flash cards). So that is what I've been up to.

Ben

Thank you

April 23, 2019

I met you in the late 1980s when you came to visit my school in Cleveland, Ohio. Good to find your website. Thank you for writing books I enjoyed as  kid.

Daniel replies:

In those days, when I used to go around doing personal appearances, I got the most fan mail from Ohio, and went there, particularly to Cleveland, more than any other place. Even when it was another destination in Ohio, I would get off the train in Cleveland or nearby Elyria and make connections. When I was in high school, in Chicago, I went along with slightly older kids on car trips to Cleveland to take friends to Case Tech and Western Reserve University, and pick them up, with their possessions, when they flunked out. When I went to college, I was on many more car trips between Chicago, and New York State, always stopping in Cleveland to eat hamburgers, and drink the low-alcohol 3.2 beer which was legal for underage people. I have been in the art museum in Cleveland more than once, and was a fan of the Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell. Also Cleveland is the only city in which I have eaten fried mush, which is not offered in restaurants in many other places. So, while I do not remember you by name, I have fond memories of our time together.

Gary Keller

DP Historic Markers

April 20, 2019

Hello DP! Just curious, have any of your old haunts been declared as a historic marker? My wife & I noticed many such roadside placards as we traveled the NE, but none declaring, “DP Was Here!”. In related news, town council allowed me to return home with my DP book collection with special conditions that I stay 500 ft away from book shop owners that are not specially trained…whatever that means. Anyway, take care & enjoy the Spring! 😁

Daniel replies:

Some of the markers associated with me that might be considered historic include "Flair," "Sharpie," and the original. "Magic."

Lexi

When did you become a author

April 12, 2019

Hi my name is Lexi I am in 4th grade in , Va. Today I had a test and on one of the passages I learned about you It was talking about how you are an amazing author.Anyway I just want to ask what got you into reading and writing childrens books.

Daniel replies:

Thanks for asking your question. The answer is very simple. When I learned to read, I sort of liked it. Then when I got introduced to the children's room at the public library, I liked it a whole lot. The more I read, the better I got at reading, and I liked it more and more. This was the best reading, and the most fun, of any reading I did in my whole life. This was partly because so many of the books I read were good ones, and partly because reading was still kind of new to me, and that made it even better. So, when I tried writing a story, it seemed natural to write something I would have liked back in those days when I was checking books out of the library. And it was something like the kind of fun I had reading back then. That is my answer. Oh, and I will add one more thing...adults are sort of boring. (Don't tell anybody I told you that).

Jessica Dell

Fishwhistle!? And love!

March 30, 2019

Im the middle  of three kids (born 76 78 and 1980).  Raised in New Jersey  mostly and I would read whatever made my big sister Alison  laugh out loud.  I  must  have gotten your book The Last Guru from her.  And then my brother Nathaniel got in on it.  Soon  we were all looking  for more books by you.   One day in a bookshop near pier 17 in Manhattan in the late 80s we found a casette of you reading fishwhistle and it became a constant ridiculous companion.  Neither appropriate nor inappropriate for our ages then, we delighted in your stories and your delivery. I learned the first lines of  kubla khan from you! And went on to learn the rest!  And have not yet found a pepper i cannot eat!  Your voice is probably part  of my inner monologue to this day along with stephen frye reading the hitchhikers guide books because those cassettes were also in heavy rotation:)    Over the years i was thrilled when i would hear you on NPR.  Recently with my three year old i watched some scholastic story videos .  I instantly recognized your voice (have you seen my hat?)  and it brought back good feelings.  And I was happy your voice reached  my kids  too.  I remember all kinds of moments – loved the Malamute stories  and more (ps i also read superpup!)  we live upstate now and Would love to come out for any regional  events!   Much love from me and my siblings and kids – big fans all.  We Would love to find the full audio  of fishwhistle! 

Daniel replies:

You are not the first person to identify me as a constant ridiculous companion. Also, your kind and welcome post points out that readers frequently come in family bunches. It is a particular honor that my weak jokes and inane concepts become points of reference for sometimes two or three generations worth of people I'm sure I would like, and definitely approve of.

Verlin

Thanks!

March 25, 2019

Hi,

This will probably be an alarmingly fannish message, only the second I’ve ever written, but I stumbled onto your site and I can’t help myself.

Reading Alan Mendelsohn forty years ago changed my life. (Pardon the mysterious font change — my computer is prone to whimsy).  I hope you’re not insulted that the compelling first thought I had upon closing your book was “hey, I can do this.” To be fair, the second thought was “This is my new favorite book.” The former has proven unrealistic, the latter remains the case.

I did become a writer, though, and I have you to blame.

As gratitude and/or revenge dictates, I’d like to send you my latest adult novel, which I think you’d enjoy. Let me know if you’re interested. I’m not mentioning my full name or the title to be clear that I’m not trying to use this forum to promote it.

Anyway, thanks again for the many hours of provocative fun.

Yours,

Verlin

Daniel replies:

Don't blame me. You would have become a writer in any event, and if it were not a book of mine someone else's book would have been the one that caused you to realize it was something you wanted to do. Notwithstanding, I am delighted it was a book of mine. If it means completing a gesture of some sort you can send me a copy of your book, understanding that I may never get around to reading it. There are instructions somewhere on this website for sending things. I too wrote a letter to the author of the book the reading of which occasioned my saying, "Hey, I too can do this." I should have asked if he'd had a similar experience and written a similar letter. There could be a lineage going back to some progenitor forgotten second-rate author from the early days of cheap printing.

Pete

NPR- “Disease of Convenience”

March 23, 2019

I was trying to remember if it was Mr. Pinkwater who had a brief story on NPR 15-18 years ago about fibromyalgia…  I’m sure it was not well received by the fibromyalgia patients at the time and most likely was removed from the NPR archives.  However, I did find it funny, in its tongue-in-cheek light.

Curious minded in Alaska-

Pete

Daniel replies:

I'm trying to remember if it was me also. Since I was paid, (marginally), to be funny rather than make important points, it was probably tongue-in-cheek, if it was mine. I almost remember....did this piece include a list of ailments than which I would rather have fibromyalgia, such as cancer, coronary thrombosis, plague, and being bitten in half by a very large shark?

Amy

Continuing the Epics?

March 15, 2019

Ahoy, Mr. Pinkwater

My daughter and I are plowing through your epic and earthy books starting with The Neddiad. I felt certain that the series ended with Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl until I was told to stay tuned for Escape to Dwerg Mountain! Is this a real thing? Shall we stay tuned or need we make up our own Dwerg story??

All the best and thanks for everything!

Amy

Daniel replies:

You might want to take a look at "Bushman Lives!". Meanwhile, there happens to be a Dwerg story under construction. It will be at least a year before it will be available in book form, probably longer, that is how it is with books and publishing.

Nick

Chili

March 15, 2019

Yo Mr. P,

I read your books again and again, from time to time. Last night, instead of doing homework, I would read one of your books. I read Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars. This book has to be in my top 15 Pinkwater books to read–it is very good! 

In any case, whenever I read about the Bermuda Triangle Chili Parlor, I think about how I have never eaten at an establishment that is like this one. I have only been to one place that specializes in Chili and that was in DC. It was OK, but the building looked like a 1950’s style diner. I always picture the Bermuda Triangle as being in an old brick building. I can’t remember if you describe it in the book or not.

My question is: Is there a place like the Bermuda Triangle Chili Parlor in existence? Did any restaurant from your youth…or oldth inspire you to add it in your book? Will you tell me where it is? As I write this, I question whether or not I even want Chili any more, but I am sure I will next time I read your book, so you gotsta help me, man!

In solidarity,

….Nick

Daniel replies:

You never know when it will happen, or where, or how. There are places, but there's almost no point in saying which or directions to get there, because when you go back, or when you send someone, they're not there. For example, I remember going into a kind of mini-mall, or expanded gas station, in Flagstaff, Arizona, and there was a place...I was served a bowl of chili, and next thing I knew I was high up in the mountains talking to a holy man who explained the meaning of everything. Then he was gone and I was sitting, covered by cracker crumbs, and completely happy. I went back the next day and in place of the chili parlor was the office of a discount dentist, claimed he'd been there for years. So, I ask you....

Mike Hoffman

Thanks for Lizard Music

March 15, 2019

Lucked into finding an old discarded (why??) elementary school copy, seemed like an intriguing premise what with all the talk of “Reptilians” these days.  What I found was a real treat, kept coming back reading chapter after chapter & finished it in no time!  Very charmed and amused by the ideas, style &  concepts, and surprised I hadn’t heard of it or Mr. Pinkwater before.  This seems the sort of thing that someone would want to make a movie of, if that’s even possible.  Also some elements seemed to have paranormal overtones, lots of synchronicities and also the “Akashic” parallels with the House of Memory.  So to me there’s a great storyline with interesting action plus some food for thought for the adults, though I admit that even though I’m 60 while reading it I felt like a kid again.  I will never think of Walter Cronkite in the same way again.  Thanks!

Daniel replies:

Maybe it's because I came of age in the time of beatniks, in Chicago, a city with plenty of local heroes, and culture that didn't go national, that I can't say it was ever a significant component of my wishes and desires to be famous in a big way...not that I would have minded, but just famous enough to stay in the game has been good enough. Thus I get a kick out of someone 60 discovering and liking a book of mine. If you really liked it a lot you will flip your lid when you discover some of the others.

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