Bushman Lives!

Daniel Pinkwater, illus. by Calef Brown. Houghton Mifflin, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-547-38539-6
One hot summer in Chicago, 17-year-old Harold Knishke heads out for his regular flute lesson and winds up on a meandering, never-dull journey of self-discovery. Knishke isn't sure what he wants out of life, but after his flute teacher insists it shouldn't involve music, Knishke sells his flute, buys art supplies, and takes up drawing. Pinkwater then does what Pinkwater does best: make up crazy stuff and weave it into something resembling a story. Knishke joins an art class where he sketches nudes and sometimes a stuffed gorilla; befriends a Dwerg named Molly (seen in Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl); leases space in a weird translucent house; and eventually sets sail for a mysterious island in Lake Michigan hoping to find the possibly dead Bushman, a legendary gorilla from the Lincoln Park Zoo. Pinkwater's talent for odd but unforgettable characters continues apace, and his storytelling ability is legendary. There aren't any huge revelations by book's end, not that Knishke or anyone else expects any. Like Knishke, readers will just be glad to tag along for the adventure. Ages 10–14. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/27/2012
Release date: 10/09/2012
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