Friday, December 10, 2010

29. A Blast to Read

Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl, by Daniel Pinkwater, Houghton Mifflin, $16, ages 9-12, 288 pages. In this wacky-fun followup to Pinkwater's The Neddiad and The Yggyssey, Big Audrey says good-bye to her L.A. friends Iggy, Neddie and Seamus, and the shaman Crazy Wig, and embarks on a quest of self-discovery that will have you devouring Pinkwater's words as if they were candy. Through a chain of wildly entertaining and serendipitous encounters, Big Audrey, a 14-year-old girl with cat whiskers, gets closer to solving her parents' disappearance -- a mystery she hadn't even thought about solving until a telepathic loony in Poughkeepsie named Molly read her mind and told her she should. With the help of Molly and a sacred stick, Big Audrey finds her true self and dances her way into understanding what she's looking for. Along the way, she jumps into another plane of existence and runs into other colorful characters who reach out to her the moment they meet her. Among them, a loco Marlon Brando who gives her a ride -- as he drums bongos, and downs cakes and carrot juice --, and a Vassar professor who divides his time between teaching classes and going crazy.

(Once a year, Professor Tag is admitted into Poughkeepsie's insane asylum for wearing a dress and for thinking he's an earl.)  For those who are new to this crazy good series, Big Audrey arrived on Earth as we know it from another plane of existence in the second book, The Yggyssey, and became fast friends with Iggy, Neddie and Seamus in L.A., -- rooming together in a ghost hotel while she worked at an all-night doughnut shop.  Irreverent, fun and breezy to read, Pinkwater's third book is like nothing else -- strange and wonderful, like a stream of consciousness that comes out perfectly. If you ever wondered if a book could be a blast, read this book, and the two before, though thanks to a quick synopsis at the beginning of this one, you could easily read this one by itself. To read my favorite quote from Audrey, scroll down to my quotation feature -- a few clicks of the return button and to the right of this post

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