Sharon Wallsten

August 22, 2008

Post #2281 – 20080822

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

I thoroughly enjoy your book commentaries and readings on NPR. I also enjoy your books! However, one book that I almost thoroughly enjoy, I also find rather disturbing.

I bought the book “At the Hotel Larry” for my 4 year old grand daughter. The story and pictures are wonderful. When I read the part describing the polar bears enjoying cigars after dinner, my grand daughter looked at me with a shocked expression and said, “If the author would have been to the Bodies Exhibit, the bears would not be smoking.” That lead me to look at the copyright and I saw that it was a fairly recent book. Therefore, I was even more surprised that you would include smoking as a means of R & R after dinner, even if the bears were doing it. Seeing my grand daughter’s expression and our later discussion about smoking, I was impressed by the impact that well written books have on children. Now, every time we read that book, she reminds me that the bears should not be smoking.

I wondered if you gave any thought to that scene prior to including it in the book!

Nevertheless, I enjoy your books and commentaries. The latter provides me with tips about books to purchase for my granddaughter, nieces, and nephews.

Daniel replies:

You are quite right. It was an error--I saw the big comfortable bears, looking more or less like myself, and enjoying cigars, much like myself, and did not consider. Editor missed it too. The book may be of recent copyright, but I am not. Any child who later, as an adult, takes up smoking cigars because of the bears may blame me--and should they write me before becoming addicted, I will tell them that it is not worth it. You can't get the good ones any more--even the Havanas are not what they were when Larry and I were young.