Talk to DP Forum

Gary Keller

Sculpt Much?

September 29, 2020

Hello DP, wanted to say “Hi” and won’t ask you how to become a writer, because I don’t! Anyhow, considering your early days as a sculptor’s apprentice and abandoned that line of work, do you still do your own work for yard art? If not, I don’t blame you, it’s a pain! Thanks ~

Daniel replies:

One of the pieces of wisdom I was taught as an apprentice sculptor was "don't carve anything you can't lift." In later life I improved this to, "don't carve anything at all." 

Paul Levine


September 26, 2020

Hi, Mr. Pinkwater! My name is Paul and I’m a student at NYU Tisch studying playwriting. I’m currently writing a play about my childhood (yikes!) and using The Big Orange Splot as inspiration. I grew up in a suburb really similar to Mr. Plumbean, and my mom used to read your book to me all the time. I read some of your interviews, and I think the book might be semi-autobiographical? The play I’m currently developing is also semi-autobiographical! It’s about my parents, and the main character starts to believe her parents are robots because everything is perfect and has to stay that way in the house. I was getting discouraged with my work, but I called my parents yesterday, and it turns out they’re actually about to paint the house. I feel like that’s a sign to keep going. I’m not super sure what I’m asking here, but I’ve been doing a ton of research and I thought it made the most sense to go right to the source! What do you think would have happened if that bird had never dropped that can of paint? Do you think Mr. Plumbean would have taken the initiative on his own to paint his dreams? Any thoughts about any of this would be super insightful. Thanks!

Daniel replies:

It's a story. It's fiction. There was never a bird carrying a can of orange paint in reality except by astonishing coincidence. Mr. Plumbean is a fictional character. It's impossible to speculate on what he might have done that isn't in the story because he has no existence outside the story, and in fact has no existence. I can't imagine what they are teaching you kids in school these days.

Max Wentworthstein Plumbean

When is adventures of a dwergish girl being released?

September 26, 2020

I preordered it on amazon months ago, but it says it doesn’t know when it will ship. I am very excited for this and have been waiting for escape to dwerg mountain for years now, so I’m happy it is finally happening in some form.

Daniel replies:

I'm told it's this month! September! I hope you are not disappointed when you finally read it. Thanks for ordering it.

Patrick Clark

Evidence of Venusian Life? Duh!

September 26, 2020

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

As you are no doubt aware, scientists have recently touted the detection of the chemical phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus as evidence of life on our sister planet. For reference, here is a Times article from a couple of weeks ago:

My question to you is this:

Why has it taken our best scientists so long to discover what fans of your prescient novels have known for decades?

Clearly the high levels of phosphine and indeed the cloudy Venusian atmosphere are both caused by the predominance of esoteric motorcycle gangs and their constant expirations during lengthy folk concerts. Duh!

I’d be willing to bet all the fleegix in Waka-Waka that Clarence Yojimbo himself is enjoying a hearty laugh at our collective naivete.




Daniel replies:

Well of course I was aware, and except for the current temporary pandemic crisis, I had already booked a vacation trip. I expect everyone will be going there soon, and this will ruin the natural ambiance, plus hotels and restaurants will up the prices. May as well go to France.

Kelia Taylor

Gosh. I know I have a million questions, however lacking in the title department

September 13, 2020

Mr. Pinkwater,


Well…hi there, first of all,

I have put off doing this for so many years; I’ve always thought about the millions of things I’ve pondered asking throughout my life. However, everytime I go to actually write you a freeze and get freaked out; thus I have never written you, well I never actually sent it. I know I have written a bazzzzillion letters and also, never sent them.

So today, I am going to try to push send. I hope this letter can mean the slightest to you for all that your work had meant to me. I am emensilly grateful (also a terrible speller and this spell checker isn’t helping!)

The Snarkouts is my all time favorite! I freaking love it. I wish there was more. I am in the process of trying to go tour Clark Street, because I love in bum nowhere iowa, quite close to Chicago. I’m going to go see where “clark St. takes a bend to the left”; the anticipation is killing me about whether or not I will find any physical landmarks. I’ve got to go look. I stumbled across this audiobook on tape in the rapid city south dakota public library. I listened to it as my idiotic mother was driving me from state to state to look at rocks. This happens to not be my favorite thing to look at. I have bought those two tapes more than thr3 times regardless of how difficult they are to do so. I think I’ve played two copies at least so much they won’t play anymore. I have had the book in print oh jeeze I don’t know maybe upwards of seven or so times, not including how many souls I have bought the book for. I have introduced many individuals to this novel and with that often comes five because it’s easier to access. I love them all.

I love neddiad. Its brilliant. I love the characters. I love the story.

In a bookstore a few years ago I sumbled across the cat whiskered girl. It’s fantastic. I love it. It’s me.

I really have so much more I’d like to say in this. And I would love to have a chat with you sometime, but I have to be brave and just hit send and I have adulting to do that never ends, tomorrow I’m trying to buy a house. I would love for you just to know how much I appreciate you, your work, and the infinite amount of hours you have distracted me from from long, drawn out drives to look at bones or dead things or rocks, similar to what miss sweet draws on her chalk boards.

Ps. You reading these stories is brilliant.


Signed, A Forever Snarker, with gratitude and appreciation


Daniel replies:

Well, actually there is not a single question in your whole post, just praise for my books, and little hints about your midwestern life, (which doesn't sound too bad, really). That is fine, because I am not all that good at answering questions, and usually attempt a joke. I appreciate that you like some of the stuff I've written, and while I didn't have you specifically, or anybody, in mind but was just trying to amuse myself and earn a modest living, it makes me happy to know this. If I ever come to Iowa, which is not out of the question--it's happened before--would you take me out for fried mush? You drive, I'll treat for the mush. (It's not that I think fried mush is so good, just I've only had it once, and, I mean, it's called fried mush, how entertaining is that? Plus it's unknown where I live in New York state.) I hope this answers all your questions.


what to do with an eggplant

September 7, 2020

Mr Pinkwater,

So, I grew a small crop of eggplants this summer because I enjoy watching them grow. Now I have to figure out how best to prepare them for eating. I remember you admire eggplants yourself. What is your go to eggplant dish?

Best wishes,


Daniel replies:

You want to EAT them? Eat an eggplant? I've always enjoyed them as pets. I suppose you could eat one if you wanted, but it seems a little cruel. And these are eggplants you've cultivated and known personally. Seems to me that would make you too sad. I suggest you forget all about it and maybe get a couple of lobsters.

bh in maryland

Good for you!

August 29, 2020

Hi Mr. Pinkwater, just FYI that you were mentioned in a very complimentary way, in a recent Washington Post Books-section article:–and-their-adults–entertained/2020/08/26/5e83db5e-e6de-11ea-97e0-94d2e46e759b_story.html

Way to go!

Thanks for your many terrific books over the year that have kept me entertained for four decades!

Daniel replies:

That article was written by Michael Dirda, who for a number of years was the only source of information to tell me that anyone cared if I wrote books or not.


In the footsteps of Young Larry

August 25, 2020

My wife and I just dropped our son off at college, and like his big brother before him we (gently) knocked him on the head and told him it was time for him to fend for himself, as Larry’s mother did to Larry and Roy. Your books have been such a big part of the life of our family. Thank you Daniel and Jill!

Daniel replies:

It is for us to thank you. Those books would be as nothing if nobody read  them, let alone liked them, and named their sons Larry and Roy.

Robert Allwright

Fan letter

August 25, 2020

I am writing about how much I love your books. My favourite one is either Lizard Music or The Snarkout Boys and the Baconburg Horror. I love the surreal stories and the quirky subjects. I managed to convince the teacher at my school to add one of your books to the school library, and my friends have agreed to try your books out. I am 12 years old and live in England and my american mother introduced me to your books.

Daniel replies:

There are many of my books available as audio downloads on this very website. They are all read by the author, but on the other hand they are free of charge.  Interesting that you live in England and have an American mother, whereas I live in the U.S. and had an English mother. Actually, on second thought, it's not very interesting, after all. Thank you for liking stuff I wrote and taking time to tell me so.

G g

Thanks for all the books.

August 25, 2020

Much thanks for the body of work you’ve shared over the years!

Read Lizard Music as a brat. Decades later hunting it down again had me smiling from the first page to the last. Going on from that to discover the rest of your body of work has been a treasure haul for me and my pockets of free reading time. Norb was great!

Hope this message, and life overall, finds you well; cheers!

Daniel replies:

Understand that I wrote all that stuff to amuse myself and earn a modest living. It has always surprised me when people turn up who have read and even liked some of it. The very cool thing is that those people are always so nice! I don't know if it's people who read my books, or just people who read books. I don't know...but it's an honor to have anything to do with you.

Janet Harrison

Thank you for The Blue Moose

August 23, 2020

Dear Daniel Pinkwater,

I have been doing a beloved project with third grade students for decades based on your story, The Blue Moose.  Often I’ve had students return to visit me, and they invariably ask, “Are you still doing The Blue Moose, Ms. Harrison?!”


I would love to send you one of the activity books that a student did…now that I will soon be retiring after 32 years.   Loads of creative and artistic pages….


Please let me know where to send.

Janet Harrison


Daniel replies:

I suppose you know there exist a couple of hard, but not impossible, to find titles: RETURN OF THE MOOSE, and THE MOOSEPIRE. I believe there are instructions for mailing to me somewhere on this website, but maybe you can take a couple of pictures of an activity book, and post them here, so everybody can enjoy. Thanks for being a loyal moosist.


New book question

August 17, 2020

My family and I love your books and even have named our cat Neddie after the neddiead book. We have read nearly all your novels and have been wondering for a while weather you are still going to make The Adventure of a Dwergish Girl as a sequel to The Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl. We have enjoyed the book so much and would love to read another.

Daniel replies:

Not a sequel, and not a pre-quel as such, but you might recognize the protagonist. Characters of mine have a way of migrating from one book to another, and bits of story, not precisely matching up, do seem to fit together, sort-of. So somewhere in the future may be a book set in Poughkeepsie, where...let's call the character Molly...has not been thrown into the loony bin, and has never yet met anyone with cat whiskers. BUT....maybe that book will take place 40 years in the past, or in the future, so it couldn't be a quel of any sort. At the same time, I'm thinking about a book wherein someone with cat whiskers, who's been traveling in space with her doppelganger, comes back. If any of this confuses you, you should try being me. 

Edith P Hicks

looking for a book you reviewed years ago

August 17, 2020

Mr Pinkwater – I was introduced to you thru Weekend Edition and so loved listening to you and Scott Simon talk about children’s books.  You have a soothing and playful voice and just hearing it calmed me.

You reviewed a book years ago about a father and son who went into space.  I think the son went first and the father followed the son.  Somehow they got separated – the son took off further into space alone (my memory of the story is so vague, my description of it may be way off) .   The son had only been gone a short period of time from his perspective but what he didn’t realize was when he returned to find his father it was actually years and years in the future and is father had already died because time had passed much more quickly for the father relative to the son’s experience of time.    The story taught kids about the complex concept  of the space/time relationship – in particular that an object in motion experiences time at a slower rate than one at rest and the closer an object gets to the speed of light, the slower the rate times passes for the object.

I have been obsessed with finding that book  off and on for 20+ years.  Do you remember it?  I don’t even know if it is in print anymore.  At this point, I would just like the know the name of the book and the author.

Any help you can provide would be appreciated.

Daniel replies:

Not only do I not remember that book, I am pretty sure I never read it or discussed it on the air. It sounds like quite a good book, not unlike something I would like to have written, only I don't remember doing that either. Maybe Scott talked about it with someone other than me. Maybe he wrote it. 

Josh Pachter

Alan Mendelsson?

August 15, 2020

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

I am a dad in Virginia with a grown daughter in Arizona. When Becca was small, we read many of your books aloud together. Now, with the virus raging, we can’t visit each other, so we’ve been spending time reading old favorites aloud by phone. She recently read Borgel to me, and I’m now reading Alan Mendelsson, Boy From Mars to her. We wonder if there’s any chance you might ever consider revisiting either of these two marvelous sets of characters, and we wish we knew if the Fafner in both books is the same dog.

Thanks very much for the pleasure you have brought us in the past. We’re looking forward eagerly to Vampires of Blinsh and The Adventures of a Dwegish Girl  (which we just pre-ordered).

Stay safe! Keep writing!

Regards from Josh and Becca

Daniel replies:

As accomplished readers, (of mine!), you have noticed that characters sometimes migrate from one of of my books to another. So, I can reply to your question with, "anything can happen." More to the point, thanks for sharing the charming account of yours and your daughter's telephonic read-alouds. I have always known that while I may not be such a great writer, for some unknown reason I get the greatest readers.

Kathy Jackson

Sleepover Larry StoryWalk in Athens, NY

August 4, 2020

Hi Mr. Pinkwater,

Our library has started a StoryWalk at our beautiful Riverfront Park on the Hudson River.  We just installed one of your books, Sleepover Larry.  I’ve heard you’re often in the Hudson Valley and thought you might like to see how we’re making picture books accessible to kids during this difficult time.  We are changing out the books a couple of times each month so there’s something new for families to read together.  The backdrop of our StoryWalk is the beautiful Hudson River.

Be well and Stay safe!

– Kathy Jackson

President, D. R. Evarts Library, 80 Second St, Athens, NY

Daniel replies:

I didn't know exactly what a storywalk is, so I googled and looked at pictures. I think it's a brilliant idea, and I am very much delighted a book of mine (and illustrated by the great Jill) is used in this way. If storywalks become a thing I might like to write something to be used this way on purpose. I have been in and around Athens, NY, and it is a neat town in a neat part of our neat state. Neat library too, apparently.

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