Synopses & Reviews
Bestselling author Daniel Pinkwater's story of how Neddie, a shaman, a ghost, three pals, and a maneuver known as the French substitution determine the fate of the world.
Melvin the Shaman. Sandor Eucalyptus. Billy the Phantom Bellboy. Daniel Pinkwater's weird and wonderful tale of Neddie Wentworthstein's quest to save civilization features some of the most unique heroes and villains a reader could hope to meet. Despite the heavy responsibility that Neddie must carry (not every kid is charged with rescuing humankind from doom), his story is hilarious, warm, welcoming, and sweet.
"In Pinkwater's (The Hoboken Chicken Emergency) wonderfully silly book set in the late 1940s, young Neddie Wentworthstein mentions to his father that he wants to eat in the famous restaurant shaped like a hat. Never mind that the Brown Derby is in Los Angeles and the family lives in Chicago Neddie's eccentric father (who made a fortune selling shoelaces during WWII) also wants to eat there, so he packs up the family for a cross-country train ride to make California their new home. Neddie gets separated from the family in Flagstaff, Ariz., and meets a movie star's son, a friendly ghost and a shaman who gives Neddie a carved stone turtle. Neddie learns that the turtle 'keeps things from getting out of order,' a kind of 'evolutionary compass.' Trailed by the sinister Sandor Eucalyptus (aka Nick Bluegum), the young hero switches the turtle with a fake in a taxidermist's shop but Sandor simply purchases it, not knowing he's snagged the real thing. Police from outer space, and a prehistoric earth spirit figure into the finale of an evil plan concocted in the Hollywood back lots. The author creates secondary roles as interesting as the starring characters. Even if there were no quest at the heart of the tale (and there is a good one) this would be a highly entertaining road trip thanks to Pinkwater's one-of-a-kind comic sensibility and his uncanny ability to access the language and mindset of boys. Ages 10-up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Pinkwater is putting up a chapter a week on his website, and should be about halfway along to the mystical climax by the book's publication date. Even confirmed fans might want to stick with the online version, tune out for a month or so and then tune back in to see everyone receive just deserts." Kirkus Reviews
"Readers looking for a nail-biting thriller won't find it here; but those who do get drawn into Pinkwater's portrait of old Hollywood, embellished with loopy supernatural intrigue, will devour it like a double-chocolate doughnut." Horn Book
"There are plenty of funny lines and scenes...and fans of Pinkwater will probably enjoy this messy, entertaining enterprise." Booklist
"Fans of Sid Fleischman will find much to like in this goofy and lovingly nostalgic historical fantasy." School Library Journal
The old powers try to come back, and the planet is plunged into chaos, and civilization is destroyed, and it gets all violent and evil...the old legends tell that a hero...with the sacred turtle, always...
Los Angeles, California. Neddie Wentworthstein is the guy with the turtle. Sandor Eucalyptus is the guy with the jellybean. Sholmos Bunyip wants the turtle...and he'll stop at nothing to get it.
This is the story of how Neddie, three good friends, a shaman, a ghost, and a little maneuver known as the French substitution determine the fate of the world.
About the Author
Daniel Pinkwater is crazy about writing, and has been trying to learn how to do it for fifty years. He has written about a hundred books, all but two or three of them good. People who own radios may know Daniel Pinkwater as a popular commentator and childrens book reviewer on National Public Radio. At one time, he lived in Los Angeles, went to a fancy private school with the children of movie stars, and ate in The Hat numerous times. He lives with his wife, the illustrator and novelist Jill Pinkwater, and several dogs and cats in a very old farmhouse in New Yorks Hudson River Valley.