Leonard Klepner

November 30, 2000

Post #1235 – 20001130

Dear Mr. Pinkwater:

The fourth grade classes, including my son, Stephen’s, at the Peter Muschal School in Bordentown, New Jersey, are now reading a number of your works. They are now reading The Hoboken Chicken Emergency and will then immediately read Fat Men from Space. I am pleased to say that Stephen and I already read those two long ago.

In fact, Stephen and I have been reading your works together for many years, we have purchased them for our school’s library, Stephen has come to read your books on his own, and now the whole school is attuned to you. Although we approve of their choice and their “discovery” of you, we can no longer flaunt the acumen of our own taste in having you all to our own.

To enhance and ground the intensity of the children’s experience of your work, I wonder whether there would be any possibility of your spending a brief time one day at the school. I know that you appreciate the energy that the children would derive from experiencing the author of the books they’ve been reading. I am only a parent (and another adult) who, like the children, laughs and learns from your work, including the longstanding commentary, observations and children’s book reviews with Scot Simon on Saturday mornings (in this area from WHYY-FM in Philadelphia).

However, I must admit that, at his bedtime this evening, as Stephen and I reveled in fact that your books are being read by all of the fourth grade classes, in my own excitement, I wondered aloud whether I could contact you and whether you would consider being a guest at our school. I said good night to Stephen and promised to contact you and offer the invitation, but I told him to keep it a secret between ourselves until I learned whether there was any real opportunity for this to occur. I certainly did not want Stephen to proclaim throughout the school that his father had invited Daniel Pinkwater and then not have this occur.

Consequently, I offer this invitation in no official capacity, but the school has a worthy tradition of bringing authors to the children, and the results have been most beneficial to the children’s zeal for reading and writing. Accordingly, if you believe that there is any possibility of a visit by you, I would be pleased to seek the formal invitation or other arrangements you require.

Thank you for your consideration, and best wishes.

Leonard Klepner

Daniel replies:

It is not unknown for me to visit a school or library, though I do it but seldom. And I charge money for such an appearance, amounting to 1,000s of dollars. It's money better spent on books. Maybe the two of you can maintain your reputations as forward-looking tastemakers by becoming acquainted with the novels of Jill Pinkwater.