cover image Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl

Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl

Daniel Pinkwater, illus. by Calef Brown, Houghton Mifflin, $16 (282p) ISBN 978-0-547-22324-7

The best thing about Pinkwater is his untamed imagination, and like those in this book's predecessors, The Neddiad and The Yggyssey, his loveable, absurd characters feel like they've been drawn straight from the minds of elementary-school children. The story picks up after the events of The Yggyssey, with narrator Big Audrey, the partly feline girl from another plane of existence first seen in that book, getting mixed up in a series of belief-defying adventures. Leaving Yggy, Neddie, and Seamus in Los Angeles, Big Audrey hitches a ride to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., with Marlon Brando (yes, that Brando), finds a job in a paranormal bookstore, befriends a pair of mental patients, and searches for clues to her past with the help of the wise Chicken Nancy and a horrific monster/puppy, the Wolluf. Pinkwater meanders all over the place in his storytelling, weaving together nonsense and humor with bits of actual history and science. The story is fast-paced and laugh-out-loud funny, and though the ending, if it can be called that, doesn't let up on the weirdness, readers will find reasons to delight on every page. Ages 10–up. (June)