Adam Stower (Illustrator); Daniel M. Pinkwater
All children hope to find a bit of magic in their own backyards. Maxine and Nick actually do when they discover the cozy abode of Mrs. Noodlekugel, her cat Mr. Fuzzface, and four farsighted mice hidden behind their apartment building.
Maxine and Nick have not been in their apartment long when they notice, by looking out the window at a particularly peculiar angle, that there is a backyard and in that yard, a cute little house. When the Maxine and Nick tell their parents, they ask the children to leave Mrs. Noodlekugel alone. Of course, the children cannot resist. They search and find her house. There they are enchanted by a cat, Mr. Fuzzface, who talks, dances, plays piano, and serves tea; four farsighted mice (children will be squealing over this play on the three blind mice); and, of course, Mrs. Noodlekugel. Best of all, they all bake gingerbread cookies together for which the four farsighted mice serve as cookie cutters! The children are properly concerned and question whether this is sanitary. In a perfect example of Daniel Pinkwater's deadpan humor, Mrs. Noodlekugel asks if the mice have washed their paws, and Mr. Fuzzface, just like any child, gives an evasive answer: "What?" No matter. Following nursery-rhyme tradition, the gingermice run away!
Warmly illustrated by Adam Stower and told in ten short chapters, the story mixes just the right amount of normal with fairytale throughout. The characters follow motif but are still wonderfully original. Mrs. Noodlekugel appears plump, light-footed, and infectiously cheerful, and her pets are marvelously animated. Pinkwater excels at writing for this age group: using dialogue, he inserts just enough word repetition yet stretches young readers with some new vocabulary. Readers will cheer, just like Maxine and Nick, when they learn that Mrs. Noodlekugel will be the children's babysitter, ensuring more adventures to come!
Reviewed by : JMcD
Themes : ANIMALS. BROTHERS AND SISTERS. CATS. CURIOSITY. FANTASY. HUMOR. MICE.
CRITICS HAVE SAID
- Stower’s (Snowball Fight!) illustrations have an old-fashioned sweetness, while Pinkwater, ever the effortless storyteller, adds just enough bite with his signature deadpan, loopy humor. Much like Grace Lin in Ling & Ting, Pinkwater works narrative magic within the grammatical confines of the early reader format readers should find Mrs. Noodlekugel’s world delightful and instantly familiar, and look forward to future installments.
- It is, to quote the children’s reaction to the gingermice, “extremely entertaining–and weird.”
- Told in 10 short chapters, this funny book has a good-size font and plenty of whimsical illustrations. It would be a good choice for children who have enjoyed Pinkwater’s previous works, and the likes of Roald Dahl.
–School Library Journal
- The book is quite short, even for the genre, but it’s full of odd twists and amusing turns that will get new readers giggling. The cover art is so delicious readers will immediately pick this up and, when done, happily await the next Mrs. Noodlekugel adventure.
IF YOU LOVE THIS BOOK, THEN TRY:
Parish, Peggy. Amelia strongedelia Collection. Greenwillow strongooks, 2003. ISstrongN-13: 978-0060542382.
Pinkwater, D. Manus. The strongig Orange Spot. Scholastic Paperstrongacks, 1993. ISstrongN-13: 978-0590445108.
Rocco, John. stronglackout. Hyperion strongook CH, 2011. ISstrongN-13: 978-1423121909.