Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

Daniel Pinkwater’s Mind

Daniel Pinkwater is a bit zany, a little left of center, with a touch of not-quite-right thrown in for good measure. I think that is why I like him. 🙂

His titles alone are enough to make me run to my computer and want to start writing something fun! Lizard Music (1976), The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death (1982), Fat Men from Space (1977)… How could a kid looking for a good time between the pages of a book go wrong?




Daniel Pinkwater has written many books for kids and young adults. He has even written one adult fiction book and several collections of essays based on his talks from National Public Radio. While his titles and plotlines can get a bit wacky, he tends to write from personal experience. His main theme is that of a social misfit finding himself caught up in a strange situation. Many of his stories include landmarks from Chicago, Illinois and Hoboken, New Jersey that Mr. Pinkwater knows from his own life.

His work life ventured into other artistic areas as well. Mr. Pinkwater authored a newspaper comic strip called, Norb. He also is a commentator on NPR, reviewing children’s books on their Weekend Edition Saturday.

One of my favorites by this author is The Hoboken Chicken Emergency (1977). In it, the main character brings home a 266 pound chicken named Henrietta for the Thanksgiving meal and all hell breaks loose in Hoboken. Another favorite is I Was a Second Grade Werewolf (1983) where a boy turns into a werewolf for a day and nobody notices. Another fun book is Alan Mendelsohn, Boy From Mars (1979). In it, Leonard is going to a new high school and the only interesting person is Alan. Together they explore mind control and have some great adventures.




Mr. Pinkwater is a member of the banned authors list for his book The Devil in the Drain (1984). In it, a child finds the devil in the drain and deals with him. Personally, when I find a book that has been banned as being subversive for children, it makes me want to read it even more. 🙂

There are newer books by Mr. Pinkwater that I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading but are on my list —

The Education of Robert Nifkin (1999)
The Yggysey (2008)
The Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl (2010)

And lucky for me, and anyone who has never read him, or has read him but wants to reconnect with these stories, they are all very inexpensive for the Kindle at the moment!!

Some of his books are available in two omnibus collections that I highly recommend!
5 by Pinkwater
4: Fantastic Novels

I think any author who can write so prolifically over the course of five decades is worth getting to know. 🙂


  1. You’ve turned me on to a new (to me) writer—these sound wonderful!

    • My work here is done! 😊 I love turning people on to new-to-them authors!

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