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The Neddiad: How Neddie Took the Train, Went to Hollywood, and Saved Civilization

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for The Neddiad: How Neddie Took the Train, Went to Hollywood, and Saved Civilization

  1. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    One of the things I really like about Pinkwater's books is that they lack an urgent plot - you never end up worrying too much about things working out, or the kid being in Mortal Peril. Instead you can enjoy the quirky details. What stands out about this book to me is that this non-urgency is brought to the foreground. The main character is entrusted with the care of a stone turtle that has been passed from shaman to shaman for a long time. The shaman that gives him the turtle is constantly rein One of the things I really like about Pinkwater's books is that they lack an urgent plot - you never end up worrying too much about things working out, or the kid being in Mortal Peril. Instead you can enjoy the quirky details. What stands out about this book to me is that this non-urgency is brought to the foreground. The main character is entrusted with the care of a stone turtle that has been passed from shaman to shaman for a long time. The shaman that gives him the turtle is constantly reinforcing the idea that wherever the turtle is, that's where it's supposed to be. When the kid worries about losing it, or having it fall into the wrong hands, the shaman's attitude is basically that it will all work out, because whatever's happening is supposed to happen. It's refreshing.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chris Gager

    I picked this off the local library's for sale shelf to read as I wait endlessly for Jack Vance's "Dying Earth" to arrive via inter-library loan. This is a kid's book, about on the level with "Max the Mighty." Because of this I can't give it anything more than a 3* rating, but it is fairly amusing. and will be over soon. The first 100 pages or so are taken up with a ride on the Super Chief train from Chicago to Ft. Madison, Iowa(my maternal Grandfather's home town) to La Junta, Colorado ... Trin I picked this off the local library's for sale shelf to read as I wait endlessly for Jack Vance's "Dying Earth" to arrive via inter-library loan. This is a kid's book, about on the level with "Max the Mighty." Because of this I can't give it anything more than a 3* rating, but it is fairly amusing. and will be over soon. The first 100 pages or so are taken up with a ride on the Super Chief train from Chicago to Ft. Madison, Iowa(my maternal Grandfather's home town) to La Junta, Colorado ... Trinidad, Colorado ... Albuquerque ... Flagstaff. Then by car via Rt. 66 from Flag to the Grand Canyon, Barstow, San Bernadino and finally California and the Hermione Hotel. Kid adventures proliferate along the way with more to come in La-La land I'm sure. Finished up with this none-too-serious book last night. I loved the image of all that Pleistocene megafauna(big animals) at night sitting in the stands at the faux coliseum. Waiting for the big boss ... It was fun, but no big deal. - An issue - At times the author seems to play fast and loose with "facts," like when he says that the human female remains found at the tar pits was 9,000 years old and the oldest human female ever found. OBVIOUSLY NOT TRUE, as any human paleontologist can tell you. - 3.25* rounds to 3*.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Suanne Laqueur

    One million stars. Everything I love in a book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Allie

    Daniel Pinkwater is my favourite author. He's a hilarious genius! As I'm reading his books, I laugh at how randomly bizarre things appear -- but he has a purpose for everything. He even manages to carry some of that bizarreness, be it people, places or things throughout his other books as well. Pure genius! If you haven't read anything by Pinkwater, DO! Daniel Pinkwater is my favourite author. He's a hilarious genius! As I'm reading his books, I laugh at how randomly bizarre things appear -- but he has a purpose for everything. He even manages to carry some of that bizarreness, be it people, places or things throughout his other books as well. Pure genius! If you haven't read anything by Pinkwater, DO!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    I was able to conjure Daniel Pinkwater's fabulous voice over the weeks that I read this book aloud to my son - a voice like a kind uncle's - because I am so familiar with his years of NPR commentaries. The book itself is fabulous, and I mean that in both senses of the word. Pinkwater is a fabulous fabulist with an intact sense of childhood wonder and an appreciation for wild storytelling. He is Donald Barthelme for kids (if you are familiar with Barthelme, you may be put in mind of his story, "S I was able to conjure Daniel Pinkwater's fabulous voice over the weeks that I read this book aloud to my son - a voice like a kind uncle's - because I am so familiar with his years of NPR commentaries. The book itself is fabulous, and I mean that in both senses of the word. Pinkwater is a fabulous fabulist with an intact sense of childhood wonder and an appreciation for wild storytelling. He is Donald Barthelme for kids (if you are familiar with Barthelme, you may be put in mind of his story, "Some of Us Had Been Threatening Our Friend Colby" - it has that tone of the surreal and that play of language). This book has many moments where the hero and narrator, Neddie Wentworthstein, gets to explain a little of this and a little of that, and it makes for a great way to absorb certain assorted facts - about trains, about the ages of the Earth, about shoelaces! - that you never know when you'll have an opportunity to repeat in some future conversation. Writers, and for that matter, people, who are like that make life interesting. I don't want to spoil the story, so let's just say it involves (mainly) ancient turtle creation myths, ghosts, famous Errol Flynn-type actors, military school, nasty Hollywood studio heads, train travel and, of course, the requisite salvation of civilization by a Who? Me? type of hero. What is it really about? (some may ask)… As John Barth might say, it is about aboutness. Enjoy!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    Buy this book now. Buy 6, 1 for you and 5 for your friends. It's that good. So enjoyable. It makes you want to be a kid again! Buy this book now. Buy 6, 1 for you and 5 for your friends. It's that good. So enjoyable. It makes you want to be a kid again!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lissa

    This was a delightfully silly adventure that made me laugh out loud. It sort of felt like I was reading Tom Robbins if Tom Robbins had better plots and wrote for kids. There's Melvin the Shaman, who can't keep a secret and loves bowling, several eccentric families (the protagonist's father is the owner of a shoelace company and collects the shoelaces of famous people), Billy the Bellhop, a ghost who befriends Neddie and his friends and constantly tries to smell what they're eating, Iggy, the Gir This was a delightfully silly adventure that made me laugh out loud. It sort of felt like I was reading Tom Robbins if Tom Robbins had better plots and wrote for kids. There's Melvin the Shaman, who can't keep a secret and loves bowling, several eccentric families (the protagonist's father is the owner of a shoelace company and collects the shoelaces of famous people), Billy the Bellhop, a ghost who befriends Neddie and his friends and constantly tries to smell what they're eating, Iggy, the Girl Friday of the bunch who attends a progressive school and doesn't take crap from anyone (even though it's the 1940s), and Mad Wig, a bumbling prophet who wears a viking helmet and bowls with Melvin. The lovable boy hero goes to military school for fun, hates all the snotty kids there and how they brag about how rich their dads are, and saves humanity from the dark lord Kkhkktonos, who is capable of turning every animal on earth into a man-eating helldemon.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Suzy

    Daniel Pinkwater is a comic genius! In this book, Pinkwater takes the epic quest/hero's journey fantasy and turns it on its ear. It is the early fifties and Neddie Wentworthstein is moving with his family to Los Angeles. On the way he meets a shaman named Melvin, who gives him a small stone turtle, telling him not to lose it. Neddie, of course, has many adventures and encounters both friends and foes, before he is able to complete his quest. I can hardly wait to read the companion book, The Yggy Daniel Pinkwater is a comic genius! In this book, Pinkwater takes the epic quest/hero's journey fantasy and turns it on its ear. It is the early fifties and Neddie Wentworthstein is moving with his family to Los Angeles. On the way he meets a shaman named Melvin, who gives him a small stone turtle, telling him not to lose it. Neddie, of course, has many adventures and encounters both friends and foes, before he is able to complete his quest. I can hardly wait to read the companion book, The Yggyssey, next up. These books would make an excellent gift for any 11-13 year olds you know, especially if they're getting a little overdosed on the kid wizard from Britain.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Estelle

    I really enjoyed this book, recommended to me by my turtle-loving, 9-year-old grandson. It's unusual for a book aimed at this age group to take place in the 1940's with references to spam and the (unheard of!) cost of going to the movies. But it has adventure, odd characters, mysterious happenings, ghosts and enough silliness to keep you page-turning. I really enjoyed this book, recommended to me by my turtle-loving, 9-year-old grandson. It's unusual for a book aimed at this age group to take place in the 1940's with references to spam and the (unheard of!) cost of going to the movies. But it has adventure, odd characters, mysterious happenings, ghosts and enough silliness to keep you page-turning.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Perfectly strange and charming.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Ray

    Great attitude. Maybe for a 10-year-old.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Burkhart

    This was a reread for me.Actually, I listened to it on audiobook, read by the author. I am a huge fan of all of Pinkwater's books, and this zany tale was great for making me laugh throughout this fantastic book. This was a reread for me.Actually, I listened to it on audiobook, read by the author. I am a huge fan of all of Pinkwater's books, and this zany tale was great for making me laugh throughout this fantastic book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dolly

    Strange, but entertaining tall tale about a young boy's adventures and the drama surrounding a small stone turtle he is given. Chapter 71 quote - old as creation Turtle scene at end Strange, but entertaining tall tale about a young boy's adventures and the drama surrounding a small stone turtle he is given. Chapter 71 quote - old as creation Turtle scene at end

  14. 5 out of 5

    Pam Saunders

    I picked this book up because I liked the cover (I am so superficial) and it mentioned the main character, Ned, takes a train journey and I love train journeys. I am glad I did it as it was a quirky read. Ned is blessed with parents who are suitably affluent, but don’t’ flaunt it, eccentric and even more fortunately love him with some benign neglect. He is thus able to explore, go on an adventure and meet a wide range of characters, maybe just a few too many. A couple of times I had that “who is I picked this book up because I liked the cover (I am so superficial) and it mentioned the main character, Ned, takes a train journey and I love train journeys. I am glad I did it as it was a quirky read. Ned is blessed with parents who are suitably affluent, but don’t’ flaunt it, eccentric and even more fortunately love him with some benign neglect. He is thus able to explore, go on an adventure and meet a wide range of characters, maybe just a few too many. A couple of times I had that “who is this character again?” moment. Anyway, the pressure is on Ned to save the world. You may have realized from the title “The Neddiad” that the book is referencing “The Illiad” although Daniel Pinkwater has chosen not to write this book for younger teens as an epic poem, a wise choice for his audience. The book is set after WW11, maybe in the early 50’s but the author uses the era, it’s personalities and and American Indian legends to give the book momentum. It starts with Ned moving from Chicago to live in Los Angles, a decision which appears to be based on Ned and his father’s desire to “eat in the hat”, the Brown Derby restaurant which after a quick Google search I found really does exist. I now want to “eat in the hat too. But there is much more to the book than this, for Ned’s journey includes ghosts, magic, baddies and good friends. (Cover on the Australian edition is slightly different to this one pictured)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I always enjoy Pinkwater. Cameos by some past characters, a cross country adventure via train and car, shamans, Lovecraftian creatures, tar pits, mammoths, and ghostly friends! This one is an interesting ride, and I look forward to reading the Yggyssey next. This will go onto the shelf for my kid when he gets a bit older :)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Agathafrye

    I highly recommend listening to this audiobook in the mornings while you shower. It takes a while to finish, but the satisfaction is worth the wait. My daughter doesn't like Pinkwater's voice (he sounds fat, she says), but I find it rather comforting. This is classic absurd Pinkwater: a young boy, his family, and their many canaries move from Chicago to Hollywood on a luxury train to pursue a dream of eating at the Brown Derby every day. He meets a shaman named Melvin, who gives him a tiny stone I highly recommend listening to this audiobook in the mornings while you shower. It takes a while to finish, but the satisfaction is worth the wait. My daughter doesn't like Pinkwater's voice (he sounds fat, she says), but I find it rather comforting. This is classic absurd Pinkwater: a young boy, his family, and their many canaries move from Chicago to Hollywood on a luxury train to pursue a dream of eating at the Brown Derby every day. He meets a shaman named Melvin, who gives him a tiny stone turtle, and eventually it becomes clear that, as the guy with the turtle, Neddie has to save the world from being overtaken by prehistoric beings. Other characters include a polite young ghost, Aaron Finn, the swashbuckling movie star who specializes in fencing scenes; his easygoing son Shamus Finn, unassuming Al whose father manages an incredible circus, and Neddie's mysterious, smart, bossy girlfriend Iggy. This book was fab. I would have given it five stars except that I found the very ending slightly unsatisfying, but I'm hoping Pinkwater was leaving room for another Neddie adventure in the future.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    I love Daniel Pinkwater's children's books, particularly the Bad Bears titles (who can't love two blueberry-muffin stealing polar bears called Irving and Muktuk?) so I was intrigued by this novel-length adventure... it didn't disappoint. This is magically realistic urban fantasy told with Pinkwater's trademark oddness and charm. This tale treads some of the same ground as Neil Gaiman's American Gods and even Stephen King's Dark Tower series. Pinkwater's sparse prose perfectly captures our young I love Daniel Pinkwater's children's books, particularly the Bad Bears titles (who can't love two blueberry-muffin stealing polar bears called Irving and Muktuk?) so I was intrigued by this novel-length adventure... it didn't disappoint. This is magically realistic urban fantasy told with Pinkwater's trademark oddness and charm. This tale treads some of the same ground as Neil Gaiman's American Gods and even Stephen King's Dark Tower series. Pinkwater's sparse prose perfectly captures our young protagonist's perspective as he explores 1940s Los Angeles, hobnobs with movie stars, ghosts, and a Navajo shaman- and ends up saving the world. There are some very funny moments delivered in classic Pinkwater deadpan style, and lots of clever mythological references- some subtle, some not (a young girl named Yggdrasil? Can't get less subtle than that.) The pacing of story gets a little choppy, and the ending is a bit abrupt- I'll forgive Pinkwater for these minor demerits, as virtually all of the more than 100 other books he's published are much shorter thank this, and he clearly had some issues transitioning to a novel-length tale. I'll be reading the sequel soon.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Madeline O'Rourke

    Upon re-read, The Neddiad is still as delightful as I remember. It's so very whimsical and optimistic, it's kind of mocking of the chosen one trope, and it's just so fun to read. Very worthy of even more re-reads. ---- Look, The Neddiad won't be everyone's cup of tea. It's children's literature, so if you're after well developed characters and plots you won't find it in The Neddiad. What you will find, is a brilliantly funny and bizarre story, entirely unique and so enjoyable to read. I'll admit i Upon re-read, The Neddiad is still as delightful as I remember. It's so very whimsical and optimistic, it's kind of mocking of the chosen one trope, and it's just so fun to read. Very worthy of even more re-reads. ---- Look, The Neddiad won't be everyone's cup of tea. It's children's literature, so if you're after well developed characters and plots you won't find it in The Neddiad. What you will find, is a brilliantly funny and bizarre story, entirely unique and so enjoyable to read. I'll admit it took me a bit to truly get into it, but then I fell head over heels, giggling and feeling like I was in middle school again. Pinkwater demonstrates an incredible ability to make the story both delightfully outlandish and completely endearing. It was an absolute pleasure to read this book, to revisit the kinds of stories that are written just to be fun, that are unapologetically wild, and without the obligation to explain anything. It made me feel happy and giddy, taught it's little lessons without ever being overbearing and moving right on. The Neddiad was not at all what I expected, but I couldn't be gladder to have been wrong.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Sammis

    While Pinkwater's book culminates in an epic battle involving a Lovecraftian monster, the La Brea tarpits, the World Turtle, and one very confused and young hero — there's this weirdly wonderful deconstruction of an American road narrative http://pussreboots.com/blog/2017/comm... While Pinkwater's book culminates in an epic battle involving a Lovecraftian monster, the La Brea tarpits, the World Turtle, and one very confused and young hero — there's this weirdly wonderful deconstruction of an American road narrative http://pussreboots.com/blog/2017/comm...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Bryson

    This book was amazing and totally deserving of the blurb that Neil Gaiman gave it- "What Pinkwater does is Magic". On a train trip, Neddie gets separated from his loving and odd family, meets a Navajo Shaman named Melvin and is given a turtle carving. He becomes the boy with the turtle, the hero who must save the world. Neddie meets new friends like a ghostie bellhop and a lonely actor's son and together they make some mistakes and learn how to keep on keeping on, and possibly save the world. You This book was amazing and totally deserving of the blurb that Neil Gaiman gave it- "What Pinkwater does is Magic". On a train trip, Neddie gets separated from his loving and odd family, meets a Navajo Shaman named Melvin and is given a turtle carving. He becomes the boy with the turtle, the hero who must save the world. Neddie meets new friends like a ghostie bellhop and a lonely actor's son and together they make some mistakes and learn how to keep on keeping on, and possibly save the world. You'll have to read to find out, but it was a lovely story, a quirky version of the mythic hero recast as a young boy with an authentic enthusiasm of a kid who still gets a kick out of being alive. I wish I'd had it along on our recent trip out West- the Grand Canyon and other West places are mentioned, and it's a great read aloud story, except for the name of the ancient power of destruction, named 'Kkhkkthonos', which you can slur through if you need to! I highly recommend, esp for ages 7-12 or so. There's nothing in it that would prevent my preschooler from listening along, though.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Sammis

    The Neddiad by Daniel Pinkwater is the first book of what's now a three book series. In my usual fashion of finding the second book first, I actually learned about the series via The Yggssey (review coming). This time though I learned from experience and found the first book and started from the beginning of the series. Ned, the titular character, is the son of the shoelace king. On a whim they decide to move from Chicago to Hollywood. They leave by train and that's where the weirdness starts. Ned The Neddiad by Daniel Pinkwater is the first book of what's now a three book series. In my usual fashion of finding the second book first, I actually learned about the series via The Yggssey (review coming). This time though I learned from experience and found the first book and started from the beginning of the series. Ned, the titular character, is the son of the shoelace king. On a whim they decide to move from Chicago to Hollywood. They leave by train and that's where the weirdness starts. Ned's journey into the unusual starts when he misses the train and meets up with a ghost and a crazy shaman. Even when reunited with his family he's still on a path to save the world with the help of a turtle statue. It would take way too long to try to explain all the wacky characters and tangents this book takes. It's all set against the backdrop of post WWII Hollywood. The magical realism and mysticism fits the setting. Of the three books, The Neddiad is the least whacky of the three. I recommend starting here or the other two won't make any sense.

  22. 5 out of 5

    nicole

    The first half, my preferred half, reads like a travelogue from the 50's. A good one, I mean. I've never read any real travelogues from the 50's, let alone a bad one, but still. It's great! The Grand Canyon, traveling to California by train, visiting the La Brea tar pits, eating breakfast at the Rolling Donought, and dinner in a hat!... all made really vivid and exciting. I got total wanderlust. Plus smart, witty characters. PLUS, it's one of those books with a million super short chapeters, whi The first half, my preferred half, reads like a travelogue from the 50's. A good one, I mean. I've never read any real travelogues from the 50's, let alone a bad one, but still. It's great! The Grand Canyon, traveling to California by train, visiting the La Brea tar pits, eating breakfast at the Rolling Donought, and dinner in a hat!... all made really vivid and exciting. I got total wanderlust. Plus smart, witty characters. PLUS, it's one of those books with a million super short chapeters, which I love. I read so much more efficiently with short chapters for some reason... Only negative (which isn't really a negative so much as an... I'm not sure how I felt about it...) was the dismissive nature some of the supernatural elements, in particular the bellboy ghost. I think its entirely intentional on Pinkwater's part, I'm just not sure it worked for me. Hm... Anyway, read it!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sarah S

    Subtitle: How Neddie Took the Train, Went to Hollywood, and Saved Civilization. This is a little bit of a roadtrip book, only it's on a train. It's a little bit of a friendship story, but the friends range from 10-year-olds to a shaman and a swashbuckling movie star. It's a little bit of a heroic fantasy, only it's set in Chicago, Los Angeles, and points in between. Neddie and his family take the train as they move to LA. On the way, he is given a small stone turtle by a Shaman named Melvin. A lo Subtitle: How Neddie Took the Train, Went to Hollywood, and Saved Civilization. This is a little bit of a roadtrip book, only it's on a train. It's a little bit of a friendship story, but the friends range from 10-year-olds to a shaman and a swashbuckling movie star. It's a little bit of a heroic fantasy, only it's set in Chicago, Los Angeles, and points in between. Neddie and his family take the train as they move to LA. On the way, he is given a small stone turtle by a Shaman named Melvin. A lot of people turn out to be interested in that turtle. Fortunately, Neddie collects many friends as he prepares to meet his destiny. Fans of Tom Robbins will enjoy reading this with their kids. Pinkwater's narration of the audio version makes it sound like a story your favorite uncle is telling after dinner. Gr. 5-9.

  24. 4 out of 5

    David

    Really great young adult novel. We had the added benefit of experiencing this as an audiobook read by the author, which in my view is key to getting the whole experience. Pinkwater's delivery has a kind of matter-of-fact tone that suits his eleven (yes? I think so) year old protagonist and his friends. Also, he makes no effort whatever to make up different voices for the different characters, and you have no trouble following along. That's all on the audiobook though. If you just read the text yo Really great young adult novel. We had the added benefit of experiencing this as an audiobook read by the author, which in my view is key to getting the whole experience. Pinkwater's delivery has a kind of matter-of-fact tone that suits his eleven (yes? I think so) year old protagonist and his friends. Also, he makes no effort whatever to make up different voices for the different characters, and you have no trouble following along. That's all on the audiobook though. If you just read the text you'll still get the rich palette of characters (all with great names), evocative locations, good humor, high adventure, descriptions of food that make you want to eat what they're describing, and other great stuff. Enthusiatically recommended.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Eddie

    Wow! Pinkwater is a genius. His voice is full of whimsy and wonder. I don't believe there was a single page of this book that did not illicit at least one laugh-out-loud moment - most had several. Best of all, the comedy is not distracting from a deep sense of magic and meaning to the world. This book should be a prescription for people who are suffering from depression; it is a formula for engaged, reverent and joyful living. Not only will this book be added to my permanent 'You Must Read' shelf Wow! Pinkwater is a genius. His voice is full of whimsy and wonder. I don't believe there was a single page of this book that did not illicit at least one laugh-out-loud moment - most had several. Best of all, the comedy is not distracting from a deep sense of magic and meaning to the world. This book should be a prescription for people who are suffering from depression; it is a formula for engaged, reverent and joyful living. Not only will this book be added to my permanent 'You Must Read' shelf to be loaned to all my family and friends, but I am now going to hunt down other books by this author.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Autumn

    Strange, beautiful and utterly prosaic all at once, The Neddiad is classic Pinkwater. I really love his deadpan brevity -- Pinkwater will flatly state his wonders in two pages. Or sometimes two sentences. Lesser authors would lavish entire chapters (or books) on the discovery of a wooly mammoth in Southern California in the 40s. Pinkwater says, "He was eating some grass." This makes everything much funnier and more magical and more real at the same time. Also, I am loving the Calef Brown illustra Strange, beautiful and utterly prosaic all at once, The Neddiad is classic Pinkwater. I really love his deadpan brevity -- Pinkwater will flatly state his wonders in two pages. Or sometimes two sentences. Lesser authors would lavish entire chapters (or books) on the discovery of a wooly mammoth in Southern California in the 40s. Pinkwater says, "He was eating some grass." This makes everything much funnier and more magical and more real at the same time. Also, I am loving the Calef Brown illustrations in this edition. They complement the plainspoken surreality of the story perfectly.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    The name says it all—this book is strange, magical, hilarious, exciting and fun. It’s a madcap adventure featuring trains, a magic turtle, a ghost, a bean, the La Brea Tar Pits, a mysterious Shaman, good friends and the ultimate struggle between good and evil. I think this is Pinkwater at the height of his powers. What I love about this book is that first, it is fun, and second, it deals with the mystical nature of reality in a big-hearted, honest, and matter-of-fact way that is totally refreshi The name says it all—this book is strange, magical, hilarious, exciting and fun. It’s a madcap adventure featuring trains, a magic turtle, a ghost, a bean, the La Brea Tar Pits, a mysterious Shaman, good friends and the ultimate struggle between good and evil. I think this is Pinkwater at the height of his powers. What I love about this book is that first, it is fun, and second, it deals with the mystical nature of reality in a big-hearted, honest, and matter-of-fact way that is totally refreshing.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kate Alleman

    This book is a delightful mix of Indian folklore, Hollywood actors, friendly ghosts, and a few only slighty scary villians. The story begins with Neddie and his family moving from Chicago to Hollywood. Neddie meets some new friends and is given a stone turtle on the train to Hollywood. The turtle is important, but why? With the help of some new friends, Neddie get into one heck of an adventure. The characters were charming and would fit right into a Wes Anderson film. Read a-likes: The Mysterious This book is a delightful mix of Indian folklore, Hollywood actors, friendly ghosts, and a few only slighty scary villians. The story begins with Neddie and his family moving from Chicago to Hollywood. Neddie meets some new friends and is given a stone turtle on the train to Hollywood. The turtle is important, but why? With the help of some new friends, Neddie get into one heck of an adventure. The characters were charming and would fit right into a Wes Anderson film. Read a-likes: The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart Wildwood by Colin Meloy

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Verbon

    Looking for something a little bit quirky? If so, this is the book for you. Meet and travel with Neddie across the U.S. in an adventure filled with mysticism. Pinkwater unusual style is refreshing. You feel a comfort and can identify easily with the main character, Neddie. It almost reads like a conversation between friends. The twist of characters and how he inserts ancient rituals into the plot really draws the reader into this unique story of an exaggerated reality.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lynda

    Sadly, this book is not as good as Daniel Pinkwater's "The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death" (which is probably one of my favorite all time YA/kids novels, and easily in my top ten favorite of ALL books). It IS delightfully weird, though, and completely Pinkwater-ian. Highly recommended for kids who have a taste for funny, odd, and bizarre novels. (Also recommended for adults who like funny, odd, and bizarre YA novels.) Sadly, this book is not as good as Daniel Pinkwater's "The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death" (which is probably one of my favorite all time YA/kids novels, and easily in my top ten favorite of ALL books). It IS delightfully weird, though, and completely Pinkwater-ian. Highly recommended for kids who have a taste for funny, odd, and bizarre novels. (Also recommended for adults who like funny, odd, and bizarre YA novels.)

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