Talk to DP Forum


The Artsy Smartsy Club

March 29, 2024

We’ve read The Artsy Smartsy Club to our kid twice: once when she was two, for our own amusement, and once when she was five or six, for our shared amusement. The other day at school, she pointed out to me that one of her classmates had written his name on his coat book label three times. “Daniel Daniel Daniel! Isn’t it funny that he did that?” she said to me, and then, as a sort of aside to herself, I heard her mutter “Davis Davisdavis.” If she ever tries to spend a spectacular amount of money on an MFA, I plan to point out to her that she’s already read The Artsy Smartsy Club twice and is welcome to review our copy any time she likes for a reasonable fee.

Daniel replies:

You can add that I found out (too late) that one cannot learn Art in an academic setting, and a degree in Fine Art is ridiculous. An informed student will major in History, even Art History, or Accountancy,  or Advanced Auto Mechanics, and do art at home, alone, with others, in France or New York City, but never where grades are given. 


Inventor of the Celluloid Button-Making Machine

March 7, 2024

I was listening to your reading of Borgel for the gazillionth time, and I got to wondering: is it actually true that the inventor of the first celluloid button-making machine was named Matthias Klopmeister, and was it really invented in 1883, and if so, where can I find this information? There seems to be no record online of Matthias Klopmeister, or a button-making machine of any kind invented in 1883.

Daniel replies:

You bring up a nice point about my proclivities and practices as a writer. It's generally known, that much of my composition takes place while I am sleeping, in a state of meditative trance, or watching cartoons and movies on television. It is not automatic writing because I still have to operate the keyboard manually, though I have high hopes for automatic intelligence improving the process. Now, the nice point is, some things I write turn out to be perfectly true, others not. I have no conscious memory of knowing anything about the history of celluloid button manufacture or anyone named Matthias Klopmeister, which does not mean the reference in a book of mine may not be accurate. And now I ask you: Why have you read BORGEL a gazillion times, as you claim, when there are so many other books, many of them by me, possibly containing the answer, or a hint at the answer, to your interesting question?

Helena, at least among the lizards

Lizard Music sequel?

February 10, 2024

I recall some talk of a sequel to Lizard Music, and possibly also that publishing companies, being terrible, were insufficiently interested in it. I wonder if you (or webmaster Ed??) would ever consider crowdfunding? The internet is often dumb and destructive but it does really excel at getting a lot of nostalgic people to support art projects. I know a nontrivial number of people who would be delighted to contribute to such an effort. (I know you may have already considered this idea and decided against it for plenty of very valid reasons, but just in case you hadn’t!)

Daniel replies:

Doesn't BUSHMAN LIVES! end with the characters setting out for the island? And I was planning a book to be called WILD PARAKEET INN which was going to take place on Skolnick Island (which may have turned out to be the lizard island) but Tachyon Publications, currently the only publisher I appear to be able to get, and a very nice publisher it is,  decided to shut down doing children's books, (which mine, nominally are...incidentally, are you a child? I thought not), so that project is undoable, and I'm about to sign with them to do an autobiography, to which I say, who would possibly be interested, but it's a gig, and I have a life, so why not? Categorization is the hobgoblin of something or other. I'm afraid crowdfunding might disappoint or depress me, and I am terrible at math and careful record-keeping.

David Gallahan

Worm Genesis? More appreciation from my family

January 24, 2024

Your books have always been very important to us. We did read other books too, but
yours we read over and over and over.

Three of your books
I never found in a bookstore, we only had them from the library. So I
recorded my reading of them. That cassette tape, of Blue Moose,
The Return of the Moose, and Jolly Roger got played a
lot during the 90s. Amazingly, that tape still works, and now my six
year old grandson loves those stories, and also gets to enjoy my
reading them though we live far apart.

Way back when I read
The Worms of Kukumlima (maybe 1993) there was something
familiar that I couldn’t quite remember. Recently it hit me:
Krakatoa! I had a faint memory of reading a fantastic book (well,
fantastic for back then since you hadn’t published anything yet) when
I was a kid and now with computer aided memory, know that it was The
Twenty-One Balloons

I know you disavow
any knowledge of how your writing process works, but I guess that
book must have been some kind of trigger for you.

[time passed]

(I could not figure
out how to post this to the site, so years later now, I am trying

Now that grandson is
nine, and is reading Crazy in Poughkeepsie. We have loved all
of your more recent chapter books, especially The Neddiad and
The Yggyssey and… but I was greatly disappointed that the
Bushman Lives sequel didn’t.

One more interesting
note: when she was about eleven years old, my daughter used Theobald
Galt’s talk about avocados from The Snarkout Boys & the Avocado
of Death for her monologue for a theatrical tryout. She got the part.

p { line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.1in; background: transparent }

Daniel replies:

Yes! The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene DuBois is an outstanding book, and I remember enjoying it as a child. I'm sure elements, and certainly the feeling of it, are part of my subconscious. Nice call, and nice post. Thanks for your kind words.

Andrew Glencross

Thank you!

January 19, 2024

My best friend gave me a copy of Lizard Music this last Christmas because I guess I had told her at some point how much I’d loved it as a 13-year-old kid and how much it had influenced me to be curious about the subterranean and to cherish the weird. Now I’m 56 and this was a really nice, thoughtful gift. So I read it again after 43 years, and I have to tell you that it holds up super well. Just a fantastic piece of YA fiction that’s so kooky but so relatable. I devoured it in one sitting, smiling and laughing the whole time. Congratulations and thank you!

Daniel replies:

That's a swell message, and I am both humble and proud. The only way it could have been better would have been if there were a line like, "I am the boss of a publishing house, and we are prepared to allow you to do more of what you do." You aren't, are you?jn

Vincent Jeffers

Do your characters continue their lives?

December 24, 2023

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

Your books were a staple of my childhood:
Yobgorgle, Lizard Music, Fat Men from Space, and probably quite a few
others. I remember laughing at many of them, but Lizard Music always
made me feel a bit sad that the lizards parted ways with Victor at the

When you write a book, do your characters have lives outside
of that book’s pages? Sometimes, a book’s characters are done with their
stories on the last page, but several of your characters have such rich
backstories and amazing potential for future adventures that it seems
likely that they continue with their stories in books that may not have
been written yet. I hope that makes sense.

In any case, your works really meant something to me forty to forty-five years ago, and I continue to think of them even today.

Daniel replies:

Your question assumes I know what I'm doing. I'm not saying I don't. but I'm not saying I do either. Characters do show up in more than one book, and sometimes in my dreams. But do I have any control over the process, or am I even aware? 


Mr. Plumbean, creativity, and constraints

November 29, 2023

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

As a creativity researcher and Psychology professor, I found inspiration in your writing — so much so that the Big Orange Splot story (a favorite of mine and my son’s) became a parable for my theory of creativity from constraints. The article that describes it is titled “The Mr. Plumbean Approach: How Focusing Constraints Anchor Creativity“. 

Warm regards,


Daniel replies:


Thanks for your interest in my book, THE BIG ORANGE SPLOT. I read most of your article, and am happy to report it is some of the highest quality gibberish I have experienced. A few notes from the author/illustrator: I was on a prolonged stay away from home when I wrote the script. I had none of my semi-professional art supplies with me, so I went to a drugstore and purchased a sketch book, meant for children, and a set of markers for a dollar. I did rough sketches, and sent the whole project, text and sketches, to a publisher. The publisher took the drawings to be finished art, and made me an offer for publication rights, which I accepted. I always felt the book was presented in an unfinished state, text needing possible attention, and art very rough. However, I needed the money, and assumed no harm had been done. I didn't think the book was very good. A high government official contacted me to say she required all her subordinates to read the book. I asked why. She then explained the book to me. "That sounds like a pretty good book," I told her. I later learned the book has sold more than a million copies. I never understood the book, and still may not understand it well, so there is no reason for you to feel bad if your thinking and mode of expression should change at some later date.

With best wishes,


Scott Hicks

Thank you

November 21, 2023

Mr Pinkwater,

I discovered “Lizard Music” on the PBS “Cover to Cover” show sometime around 4th grade. This was a magnificently difficult time for me – ostracized, uncomfortable in my skin, being raised In a fundamentalist home that I didn’t feel any connection with. This was probably my first introduction to the concept of being “different”, and I read It over and over again as a great source of comfort. 

Now a 50 year old musician and computer programmer with a great family, I still think of this book often and try to re-read It every couple of years. I just wanted to say thank you and let you know that you very much touched my life In a positive way. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

– Scott Hicks

Daniel replies:

First, thanks for all the kind words. I wish I could say that I had a thought about helping someone when I wrote the book, (or the 130-something others), but the truth is I was just having fun, the exact kind of fun someone gets putting together a model airplane, or repairing Aunt Sadie's table lamp. Naturally, I'm glad the book meant something to you, but I suspect you planted the meaning, and pretended to find it, and you had reasons, unconscious reasons, for doing it that way. Second, SO MANY of us grow up, or are forced to grow ourselves up, under difficult or impossible conditions...and we do it! We build lives, we become musicians or authors, have great relationships, and develop the grace to tell a second-rate writer his book accidentally played a part.

Aimee Smythe

Happy Birthday!

November 19, 2023

Daniel-Happy Birthday to you, an author who inspires the child in all of us!

Daniel replies:

and my readers inspire me, so it's a circular thing. Whee!

c/o Maria Steinhauser


November 2, 2023

Hello Daniel Pinkwater, I liked the book The Neddiad and the book was really fun and interesting in a sort of way. I like your author style and it is really fun, and I really like your ideas. How do you get your inspiration? Keep making books, they are great.

Sincerely, Reed 

Daniel replies:

Thank you! Inspiration is all over the place. All anyone has to do is be willing to be inspired.

Robert L Summers

The Wuggie Norple Story

September 21, 2023

“Wuggie Norple Story” eighty dollars on Amazon!  Well worth the price.

Daniel replies:

That's pretty much what I got paid for writing it! 

Aimee Smythe

A Big Thank You to You and Mr. Plumbean!

September 8, 2023

To Daniel Pinkwater:

Thank you for many years of reading pleasure! As an elementary art teacher, I read The Big Orange Splot to my students. As a parent, I read  The Big Orange Splot to my son. I continue to love reading your books, especially The Big Orange Splot ! We even bought a Big Orange Splot rug, so that our dog Murphy could enjoy it too! (see photo below)

Many virtual hugs to You!


Daniel replies:

Aw shucks. I have such nice readers.


What human band comes closest to making lizard music?

August 12, 2023

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

First, I’d like to say thank you! I’ve been reading your books since I was very young and it’s safe to say they’ve had a greater and more positive influence on how I see the world than those of any other author. My first book of yours was Lizard Music. In fact, I started a band a few years ago with the explicit goal of making the kind of music I’ve always imagined the lizard band playing in that book. Of all the human music you’re familiar with, is there a particular artist or group that you think comes the closest to making lizard music? Any additional hints or suggestions would be welcome.

thank you!


Daniel replies:

I regret, I am not sufficiently familiar with human music to come up with an answer. It may be for you to tell me.

Gabriel Bennett

The genius of Hassan’s Joke

July 9, 2023

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

My parents gifted me a copy of “Fish Whistle” for my birthday one year. It was a delight to read from cover to cover, but I especially enjoyed the “Hassan’s Joke” story. However, I feel like I didn’t get the joke fully, until I decided to read the story aloud to a friend. Seeing his bafflement in real time, turning into laughter as the story went on, brought the story to life. 

A few weeks later, he and I went on vacation with some friends. We decided that we would test this further. On the first day, before everyone had arrived, I told the joke to a few of our friends. Later that evening, when everyone WAS there, I told it again. Just like in the story, the first time, there was confusion and bafflement over the joke, but with each subsequent telling, those who had heard it found it funnier and funnier. This continued, with me telling the joke at every opportunity, to tour guides, people we met at dinner, and so on. And sure enough, my core group of friends had to hold in their laughter as I laid it out for a new, befuddled stranger.

Anyway, this is not so much a question, but I just wanted to share that a bunch of 20 somethings got a great kick out of that story. Thank you for all of your stories.

-Gabriel Bennett

Daniel replies:

Thanks for telling me, and for your information, that story is a detailed account of real-life events, with not a single thing invented, which will not come as news to you, since you duplicated the experience and prompted the same responses.

Robin Rowland

Plumbean the Dog

July 9, 2023

Mr. Pinkwater,

thought you might enjoy seeing my dog, Plumbean. The Big Orange Splot
struck a chord with me when I read it to my kids more than 20 years ago, and
I’ve been using “Plumbean” as a password since (with the requisite numbers and
special characters, of course).

I was providing
a dog with a temporary foster home for a rescue organization, until I suddenly
realized two things: first, he looks like a Plumbean, and second, he’s my dog!!!

fun introducing him to people on our walks. Some say, “whaaaat??” and others
just burst out laughing. I get lots of opportunities to share the wisdom of The
Big Orange Splot.
Maybe you’ll get some new readers!


Daniel replies:

I have to say, Plumbean is a truly outstanding-looking fellow! I am honored to have such a distinguished pup named after a character I wrote. If she had the opportunity of meeting him, The Peach, (picture attached), would be equally impressed.

1 2 3 209
Submit a message
  • October 2022
  • January 2022
  • November 2021
  • October 2021
  • November 2020
  • October 2020
  • September 2020
  • March 2020
  • February 2020
  • November 2019
  • April 2019
  • November 2018