Talk to DP Forum

David Doty

Not a Question

May 24, 2020

I am extremely please to learn of the forthcoming release of Adventures of a Dwergish Girl, which I have just ordered. I am also pleased to learn that you might be writing a follow-up to Bushman Lives. I greatly enjoyed the tetralogy that began with the Neddiad and look forward to any continuation of that series. I consider these books to be the equal of the best of your earlier work (Lizard Music, Borgel, Snarkout Boys, Mendelsohn), and I long for more. Thank you.


Daniel replies:

I like those books too, and there will be more vaguely related ones, I hope.


Writing Character and Story

May 22, 2020

Hello Mr. Pinkwater,

    I hope you and your family are well and that you are staying safe in the age of Covid-19. I was hoping to ask you for some advice. I would like to be respectful of your time, so I will be brief.

    My name is Matt, I am a filmmaker, and a fan of your books. My sister introduced them to me when I was in elementary school and I still enjoy them to this day. I am currently working on trying to write better stories.

    In your books the characters and the story feel like they naturally fit together. I’ve tried the methods recommended by the podcasts, courses, and other resources I have on the subject, but I still lose that natural feeling when I flesh out my characters to make them feel real. I was wondering if you have any advice about how to make characters and story naturally fit together?

   I would greatly appreciate any wisdom you’d be willing to share but if you are too busy, or for any reason would prefer not to answer, I completely understand.

Thank you so much in advance!



Daniel replies:

I prefer not to answer. Thanks for giving me the option. It is for your own good.

Diana Bren

husband is a huge fan

May 16, 2020



My husband is a huge fan (me of course as well), I just ordered a used The Wuggie Norple book as he used to have one as a kid. We want to share the story with our children now 4 and 6.

It would mean so much to have a letter sent to him from you? Is this something you do?


Thank you

Diana Bren

Daniel replies:

Something I do is autograph books, cards, beer coasters, stickers, bookplates, cash register receipts, bus transfers, airline tickets, bingo cards, and foreign currency, provided these things arrive with a self-addressed, postage-paid envelope. I don't usually write letters as such because in this case I don't know your husband, or know who he is. All I know about him is that he's huge, which might not be a suitable topic for a letter. The address to send self-addressed, postage-paid things is to be found somewhere on this very website.

Beverlee Jobrack

Chicken Saved Your Dog

May 15, 2020

Yesterday our beloved dog, Buddee, a bagle dog, was diagnosed with cancer of the spleen that has spread to his lungs. We are heartbroken.  Both of us remember listening to your tale on NPR years ago about feeding your dog boiled chicken and are wanting to hear that again.  Last night we bought a big package of chicken breast and boiled one up for him. He was very happy. Please send a link to your story.  Thanks, Beverlee

Daniel replies:

I don't think I can locate the story...there are between 600 and 700, and I don't even have a lot of them. You'll recall it was about giving chicken every night to our ailing dog. In fact we've done this for several pets. The theory is that the dog wakes up in the morning and thinks, "If I'm still here at six o'clock, chicken!" We don't believe in making any dog stick around if they've begun to suffer...but if chicken makes Buddee happy, go for it. We had a couple of cats who stuck around forever, seemed to feel fine, and the vet refused to test them any more...just said when he got sick he was going to come live at our house. Good luck to your good boy. Give him a skritch for us. Don't be sad when he leaves you...make it like a nice visit to the vet...and then start getting ready for the next dog, there's definitely one that needs you.


how was your childhood?

May 11, 2020

I really have not Ever talked to a writer of my favorite book before the one The Big Orange Splot. That one! That was a good one!

Daniel replies:

My childhood was characterized by the great pleasure I took in things all around me. I had my share of less than satisfactory family members, neighborhood bullies, and bad every kid I knew...but there were so many interesting things in this world that as far as I can remember I was pretty happy all the time. I wrote and drew THE BIG ORANGE SPLOT almost 50 years ago! I hope you've looked at some of the 100+ books I've done since might find another favorite.

Patrick Reese


May 5, 2020

How are you doing with the coronavirus going around I heard about this website by reading a story all about you and your books I agree that u do a great job -stay really safe-patrick reese

Daniel replies:

We're dealing with it, which is what everybody has to do. I remember my parents telling me about the last time this happened, in 1918. Most people got through it, and promptly forgot such a thing was ever going to happen again although scientists and smart people tried to remind everyone that it would.  Now it has, most people will get through it, and promptly forget that such a thing can ever happen again. If you were a spaceperson picking up the President on TV you might think this was pretty funny.


Tooth Gnasher Superflash

April 17, 2020

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

I read constantly to my son when he was a child and I have always remembered one specific detail from one of your books very clearly. ( At least I think it was one of your books but it may not have been Tooth Gnasher Superflash which for some reason I no longer have. And I keep thinking there were aliens in this book.)  Did you dedicate one of your books “to your cat who threw up on your keyboard” ?  That came to mind today while I was attending a class online which my son was teaching and his cat kept jumping up onto his desk and keyboard.

In addition to my question, I would like to thank you for writing so many wonderful books.  When the time comes when we are able to venture outside, I plan to go the library (usually my second home) and look at many of your books again.

Stay well – Donna Tukel


Daniel replies:

I had a cat who distinguished himself by throwing up into my printer, not keyboard...but I don't remember dedicating a book to him. Maybe I did. Maybe I was trying to be nice to him so he wouldn't hurl into my working equipment.

Cyril Armandoberger

Music Title

April 13, 2020

Dear Daniel,

I can remember, as a young boy, listening to the Snarkout Boys audio-book, and one of the first things I remember is the snatch of classical music played at the beginning. Do you have any idea of the title of this piece?

Thank you!

Daniel replies:

No idea! I listened to the start of the audio book on this website, and didn't get a clue. Sorry. 

Jessy Randall

Bushman Lives sequel?

April 8, 2020

I am getting through the COVID-19 quarantine by rereading your books. I just re-read Bushman Lives and liked it even more than I liked it the first time, which was already a lot.

I googled around and learned that you used Twitter to share some or all of a sequel to Bushman Lives, but I can’t figure out how to see those old tweets. Is it possible? If it isn’t, would you consider putting the sequel out in some other way? I really really want to read it. I mean, they got to go to the island in Lizard Music – in Victor’s case he got to go back – but we didn’t get to hear about it! Is the Museum of Memory still there? I think about that museum every day.

Please help.

Daniel replies:

I posted some fragments of a first draft of that book when my agent more or less forced me to open a Twitter account. At that time I could not sell a novel anywhere. This sort of thing has happened from time to has to do with the very high level of intelligence of corporate America in general and publishing in particular. Now, things have changed. By the simple expedient of accepting sums identical to those I got 50 years ago, when just starting out, I can get novels published, and even found quite a nice publisher. One book is ready for publication, ADVENTURES OF A DWERGISH GIRL, and I just signed a contract to write another book. I have 3 or 4 novels in mind that I've been meaning to write, and am just about to make up said mind. Your reminder of the Bushman sequel prompts me to go in that direction. This is why I will not repost the little snippets you remember from my debut on Twitter. I may write the whole story. Thanks for asking. (P.S.Though I was unable to unload novels for a while, the picture book business has been ok, so look around for forthcoming examples.) 

Amy and Tilda Jordan

Theobald Gault Conspiracy

April 6, 2020

Greetings, Mr. Pinkwater! After many readings and listenings to The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death/Baconburg Horror, we have ascertained that Osgood Sigerson is quite possibly Theobald Galt, Walter’s father, in disguise. The clues are these:

p. 107-8 (the first encounter with Sigerson near Beanbender’s Beer Garden) “…There was something familiar about the muffled voice coming from within the hood. I couldn’t place it…”

Sigerson and Theobald share an addiction to avocados and offer overlapping factoids regarding them.  p. 114 “Many of [the avocado stories] I recognized from my father’s store of information about the disgusting things.:” and “I knew all about the banana-and-avocado fritters in Dar es Salaam…”

A very specific anecdote!

On page 137, Sigerson encourages everyone sitting at the Hasty Tasty to try the raison toast, which he insists is delicious. Walter then narrated, “As a general rule, I don’t eat raisin toast. I don’t know anybody who does, except my father.”


Osgood Sigerson is described early on as wearing a fake nose and on page 78 as having “…his whole face covered with some kind of white makeup.” Toward the end of the book, on page 152, Theobald is said to keep his collar buttons in an old NOSE PUTTY can. 

Lastly, Walter says that he is “not going with [Theobald] to the annual American Avocado Fancier’s convention, unless it’s definite that Osgood Sigerson is going to be there. My father thinks that Sigerson won’t come. Apparently, they’ve never met. Sigerson seems to make it to the convention only every other year, and somehow those years my father doesn’t go.”

Is this because they are the SAME PERSON??

Was it your intent to beguile us readers with the possibility of a Theobald-Osgood symbiosis? Or is all of the social isolating messing with our heads?

All the best to you and your family. Stay safe. We love you!

Amy and Tilda

Daniel replies:

Well, you make a very convincing case. I have to agree that it is proven that Osgood is Theobald and vice-versa. The real question is, did I do this on purpose or is it a spectacular coincidence and it all took place in my subconscious. I wish you had brought up this topic before I became old and confused. As things are, I can't remember. Maybe it will come to me. Don't wait around this forum to find out...if I know, I will put a clue in a forthcoming book. (There are a few books forthcoming, and one, still being written, has room for another clue, among the usual bunch of clues.)

Erica from Learning Seeds

How many chickens will attack me if a scan your artwork?

April 6, 2020

Dear Mr. Pinkwater, I am now 30 years older than when I first read and re-read your books. I’m now an early childhood educator working to support my students online during Covid school closures. For many years I featured your book, The Big Orange Splot, in my classrooms and I shamelessly copied photos from the books to help children learn to literally change your dream houses into their own. You never caught me because these  mostly remained in backpacks and under beds in the housing projects of Chicago. Now it turns out that an NPR radio host, who will be reading your book to children, also adores your books. This time, I’d like to prepare online materials using whatever I have in my home (which turns out to be multiple copies of the Big Orange Splot) so I can create visual materials to help young children, especially our students with autism, follow along and extend their imagining after they hear the story. So I am wondering, if I scan and copy images of the book for this purpose, how many chickens are you likely to send to Boston to hen-peck me into ceasing the scanning of your artwork?

With gratitude either way for many years of delightful ridiculousness,


Daniel replies:

Because of the emergency anyone may copy, video, record, present, any book of mine in any way at all, as long as they do not sell anything, attempt to copyright anything for themselves, sell copies, sell tickets and that sort of thing. So, go right ahead, and check out my other books, plus make use of the audio books offered on this very website.

Sharon Sherrard

Wuggie Norpal

April 5, 2020

Hello, Mr. Pinkwater!  My kids absolutely loved The Wuggie Norpal Story, as did the kids at the elementary school where I was the librarian and reading teacher for 15 years.  My copy has gone missing and we are all broken-hearted!  Why has it never been reissued?  The prices for used copies are completely nuts, and I’m pretty sure you are not getting even a cut of that money! Re-publish, re-publish!!

Daniel replies:

It's funny. People think it's up to me, the author, to republish things. It's not. It's up to publishers, which are mostly part of corporations and therefore sort of dumb. I would love to see The Wuggie Norple Story republished, especially as we have just lost the wonderful illustrator, Tomie DePaola. It might even be a smart thing to do. Think it will happen?


Tea maaaaaaan

April 5, 2020

Oi Pinkwater,


What does Norwegian Vole-moss tea taste like? I have always wanted to try it. I imagined it tastes like a smokey lapsang tea, so I drink that a lot. Do you know if I’m at all close? I want to try it. Please help me.


In solidarity,


Daniel replies:

It tastes like moss, and vole, if you've ever had those. Hence the name. 



April 2, 2020

Dear Mr.Pinkwater, My name is Sitara. I really like how you make the books so interesting. Where do you get your inspiration? I think your books are awesome!

Daniel replies:

I think my readers are awesome, and does that include you? I think it does. Inspiration comes from all around...things are funny and interesting if you just look...try it yourself!

Carol Schulz

The Wuggie Norple Story

April 1, 2020

Just this morning we read in The Hartford Courant of the death of Tomie DePaola. Our children, who are now in their forties, grew up reading all of Tomie’s and your books. We were, (and still are) great fans.  Our favorite book of that vintage is The Wuggie Norple Story. It was such a good match of author and illustrator!  Thank you so much!

We really miss hearing you review books on public radio.

Carol Schulz

Daniel replies:

Tomie was a wonderful artist, and he was with us for a long time. Still, it's hard to think he's gone.

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