Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lizard Music

by Daniel Pinkwater.
New York Review of Books, 2011. 157 pgs. Fiction.

When Victor's parents leave him with his older sister while they are on vacation, he worries about having to take care of her, but she soon leaves for the beach with her hippie friends leaving him on his own to sleep in, eat TV dinners, and stay up late to watch Walter Cronkite, Roger Mudd, and B movies. One night when all stations should have signed off, he sees a jazz ensemble of lizards playing really good music, but when he calls the station to find out who they are, they've never heard of such a thing. When Victor takes the bus into Hogboro he meets the Chicken Man, also known as Charles Swan, Lawrence Lawrence, and Herr Doktor Professor Horace Kupeckie, Plt. D. (Doctor of Poultry), who eventually takes him to the invisible island of the lizards, who are mostly named Reynold. Daniel Pinkwater is a loon of the highest order, and this reissue of one his early books a rare delight. Those of us who remember Walter Cronkite and Roger Mudd with fondness ("And that's the way it is" is Victor's mantra), will enjoy this book more than the whippersnappers for whom it is now newly available, but who could resist a kid who gets to stay home by himself eating pizza with anchovies and drinking grapes soda, and who gets to go on an adventure to the island of the lizards with Herr Doktor Professor and his really, really smart chicken?

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