Talk to DP Forum

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.

Christina Webster

Not a Question

March 30, 2020

Hello! When I was seven years old I discovered a copy of “The Hoboken Chicken Emergency” in my school library.  I checked it out immediately and endeavored to keep it forever.  After multiple renewals, the crusty librarian finally surrendered: “Take it! No one ever checked it out before you anyway “ (No offense, Mr. Pinkwater…I went to a very old Catholic School and anything less than “Lives of the Saints” or the Pope John Paul comic books were frowned upon during SSR.  In fact, nature books,  a few Beverly Cleary titles, and “Gorllas in the Mist” were all banned shortly after arrival. How your  book made it past the nuns s is beyond me!)  It became lusted after by my peers and I had to start leaving it home (per Sr. Marie Timmons’ order).  I have kept it for more than three decades, always keeping it on my “treasured books shelf.”   Yesterday, I went to take a picture of the cover (another long story related to panic chicken buying) and IT WAS GONE.  There couldn’t be a much happier ending to this story, however,  because I found it in my ten year old daughter’s room.  It is now her favorite book and she has been reading from it to her best friend, Charlie, while they are on isolation break from school.   I have read most of your other books, but “The Hoboken Chicken Emergency” is a multi-generational treasure.  Thank you!!!

Daniel replies:

So, you know there are two sequels, Looking for Bobowicz, and The Artsy Smartsy Club, (which has a nice section in which the chicken impersonates a nun). Hoboken Chicken has been illustrated by three different artists, well, two and me, Jill Pinkwater, and Tony Auth. And over the years it has sold approximately a zillion copies. Thanks for telling me your chicken story.

Galusha Sturdley

Thank you, Daniel?

March 29, 2020

Dear Daniel,

Some of my first contact with the world of books was with your books, especially Lizard Music, Snarkout Boys, The Neddiad, and Alan Mendelssohn. This was all from the time I was one. You may have intended these books to be facetious, Daniel, but for years, your books were my expectation of the workings of the Real World. Avocado computers? Sure! Giant turtles? Sure! Musical lizards? All righty! You existed, and my father’s job used to be as a juggler who wore a hat shaped like a chicken, so why couldn’t the rest be real? This, understandably, changed me into the warped, crazy individual I have become, and will ever be, a human being who gets excited over the little hot dog stand in Hoboken Terminal (it’s still there) and who, early in life, adopted a religion made up of giant chickens, oriental gardens, and inter-dimensional superhighways. It was also you who helped, with Robert Nifkin, provide me with the courage to ask that I be placed anywhere but a public high school. For this, I feel compelled to offer my thanks to you for making me who I am today.

Daniel replies:

Thanks for the thanks. You're welcome, as long as you understand all I was doing was entertaining myself while making a modest dollar. You probably get more out of the books than I knowingly put in. Still, it's nice that some people who are good at finding meaning found meaning in my stuff.

leah smith

suggestion, story permission for levar burton

March 26, 2020

You are always so giving with your talent. Consider contacting @levarburton (twitter) for his He is looking for childrens stories it’s legal to use. I think it would be welcome by everyone, and maybe introduce new kid-os to your delightful writing.

Daniel replies:

I admire Levar Burton. I think he did a book of mine on TV years ago. I'd be happy to hear from him.

Terry Gawryk

Fred’s Hot Dogs, Chicago

March 26, 2020

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

Thank you for the delightful essay, “Where is the Grease of Yesteryear?” from Pig Whistle, which I recently read in American Food Writing, edited by Molly O’Neill.

I’m a native Chicagoan, of not so tender years myself.  Though I wasn’t my immigrant parents’ “anchor baby” I was born at Cook County Hospital.   It’s been a matter of some inflated self-esteem, that I have tried to frequent every neighborhood,  hot dog stand and fast food joint that I have ever come across in my own perigrinations about town, at least once.  And though I can imagine Fred’s, I don’t seem to know it.  Did you perhaps rename it “Fred’s” to protect the innocent, or to repay curmudgeonly Fred for his studied, Chicago blue-collar indifference: “Yeh. So What?”.  Doesn’t matter, either way.  I’m just curious which place and where it is or was located.

My house ain’t on fire, so there’s no need to jump up to your computer to send a reply.  If you’re reading this about the time that I sent it on March 25, 2020, then you know that Fred may not be serving “food” now anyway.


Daniel replies:

I'm a fiction writer. I'd say that in my whole growing up in Chicago I had no more than five of the classic Chicago dog, with the sport peppers, pickle spear, green relish and all that muck. Probably fewer. Years later I became friends with a man who opened an authentic Chicago hot dog place near my home in New York state...I would drop in and order mine without the sausage, (a genuine Vienna, imported from Damen Avenue.) If there exists a Fred's Red Hots it's a coincidence, mine is made up. You seem to be someone of mature years, which surprises me, given your eating tendencies. Congratulations on your hearty constitution.

Kevin Cheek

Dwergish Hooray!!!!

March 25, 2020

I just saw your coming soon announcement for Adventures of a Dwergish Girl 


Are you going to weblish it chapter by chapter as you have the previous novels?

Can’t wait! (ok I can wait, but I don’t promise to enjoy waiting).


Daniel replies:

You know, I hadn't thought of that. Time past, when we weblished a chapter at a time leading up to publication, sales were enhanced according to the book publisher. I'll ask the publisher of this one what he thinks. Thanks for the suggestion.

Ryan Retherford

An unexpected connection

March 24, 2020

Hello Mr. Pinkwater,

What a Pleasure to have found this website! Such a treasure trove.  Thank you for making so much content available, I’m having a ball!

I discovered Lizard music at around 10 years old and remember it as not only my first “chapter book” but my standalone favorite for that period of my life.  You are solely responsible for the ensuing love of reading I developed and I thank you for that.

I’m 42 now and sharing it with my soon-to-be 8 year old son.  He has exclaimed several times that he “loves it!” and always wants me to read more before I tell him it’s time for bed.  I am so pleased that he likes it.  Another memory that I will hold dear for which I am indebted to you.

A few nights ago, as we were reading, I was stunned to find an obscure yet familiar-to-me literary reference; Rene Daumal’s Mount Analogue.  My mind was blown.  What was that title doing in this YA novel?!  Whenever I last read Lizard Music all those years ago, I would’ve read right past it without a second thought. Now however it elicited in me the same warm and magically mysterious sensation that your writing did.  I read Daumal’s book just a few years ago and I remember thinking that it reminded me of Lizard Music!

At 18, a dignified and sagely wheelchair- bound woman that I’d befriended introduced me to Gurdjieff and his wonderfully esoteric and convoluted complexities.  I devoured much of his work as well as many of his students’.  He was a jumping off point for me spiritually and philosophically.  I ventured out from there but never forgot him and his influence.  He seems to be enjoying a bit of a renaissance in some circles these days and I have encountered him via a number of unexpected avenues, yours being the most recent.

So then, I wonder, what if any connection do you have?  I read somewhere here about your involvement with a cult and I pondered if it was somehow affiliated with a 4th way school ( I myself was briefly a member of one in my early twenties).  Which then makes me curious, should you be willing to share,  about your spiritual journey in general.  What paths and detours did you take and where do you find yourself now?  My fondness for you and your writing hopes to find that we are simpatico in some way, that we’ve travelled some of the same trails.  I certainly don’t want to pry but, if you can, do tell! 🙂


In the meantime, thank you so much for all the work you’ve created!  I’m excited to explore more of it with my son.

Kindest regards,



Daniel replies:

Thanks for taking time to tell me of your experience with Lizard Music...such a kick for a book of mine to be appreciated by a second generation. In addition to the Mount Analogue reference, should you and your son choose to explore more of my books, you'll find all kinds of facts mixed in. It's as much for my own amusement as anything else...yours is the perfect case...I like to imagine a formerly young reader returning to a book enjoyed as a child and saying something like, "Wait a minute! Mount Analogue? Now I know why that title seemed strangely familiar just the other year!" Or Lord Buckley, or TIbetan fortune-telling using egg creams, or the science of knot-tying...there are all kinds of raisins in the rice pudding. As to naming any organization, cults, recognized religions, secret societies, and the like, I prefer to refrain from doing so. Some of these, while populated with well-intentioned seekers after truth are also the hangouts of pickpockets, frauds, abusers, and poseurs, and readers who make the mistake of thinking I'm smart may take my mentioning as an endorsement. You know the old saying, attributed to the man himself "A little Gurdjieff goes a long way."

Kris Spoor

Hello from New Middle Earland

March 22, 2020

Hello Mr Pinkwater,

I first discovered your book The Snarkout Boys and the Baconburg Horror when I was 10 years old, in the bottom, dusty shelf of my school’s library in Manila. It was the only book of yours in our library and I may have borrowed it at least 5 times throughout my years there. One of the regrets I have in my life is not stealing it from the school library before I graduated.

Anyway, I just wanted to say how much I love your books and what a joy it is to introduce it to my own child (aged 8). She’s finally old enough to understand the jokes and references, although saying that, living in Christchurch, New Zealand is probably diametrically opposite to life in Hoboken. (We don’t have access to proper Hot & Spicy Oil.)

We’re almost done with Borgel and just because I need to ask a question, do you have a recommendation on what to read aloud next? I’m thinking the first Snark Out Boys. I don’t think my 8 year old can handle Young Adult Novel just yet.

Daniel replies:

You may take your pick...I've written quite a few books, and I am proud to say that only a few of them stink. Are you aware that there are a number of audio books available for free download here on this very website:  ? Unfortunately they are read by some mumbling bum with a Chicago accent, but not much else is wrong with them.

Joseph Baptist

Thanks for the audiobooks!

March 19, 2020

On behalf of my studnets and their families, thank you for providing these audiobooks for free.  They say that laughter is the best medicine, and you are a heroic provider of laughter.

Thank you for your great books, and your kind and generous heart.

Daniel replies:

I didn't start out by asking, "How can I do something that helps people?" Instead, I said, "Hey, I can do this!" and "Someone is willing to pay me!" Much later I noticed that some people derive benefit from it. Of course, I'm glad, but...

Kimberly Hardy

Permission to read for teaching online

March 19, 2020

Good afternoon Mr. Pink water.

Our school district is scrambling like many others to find/create supplemental materials for our students while closed for the Coronavirus. Many of us are reading some of our favorite books to our students via the school website/Facebook/YouTube.

My K-5 music students are hoping to have their annual program once school is back in session…the theme is “Imagination”. Growing up your book, The Big Orange Splot, was one of my favorites and still is. I would like permission to record a reading of the book for my students.

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kimberly Hardy

Music K-5

Endy and Locust Elementary Schools, Stanley County Schools, NC

Daniel replies:

Dear Ms Hardy -- Yes you may use THE BIG ORANGE SPLOT or any other book of mine in any way at all, as long as no admission is charged, copies are not made and distributed,  and nothing is sold for money. Also, at any time, and particularly during the virus emergency your pupils are welcome to download free audio books at

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