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Monday, February 10, 2014

Top Ten Reasons to Read Daniel Pinkwater's _Bushman Lives!_

Pinkwater, Daniel  (2012)  Bushman Lives.  Boston:  Houghton Mifflin.



1.  It is always fun to spend time in Pinkwater's world.  It is the sort of world where there can be a house constructed solely of paint, and Chicago is a fascinating playground of amazing food and odd happenings (actually, that part is like our world.)

2.  It is sometimes nice to read a book where you really don't have to worry about keeping the plot straight.  This one is a bit like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- you'll enjoy the book best if you do not know where you have been or where you are going. 

3.  It's got moments like this:  "I looked around for a hot dog stand.  Here is one of the great things about Chicago -- if you have between thirty-five cents and a half-dollar, you can get first-class nutrition practically anywhere.  There are hot dog stands all over, and the standard Chicago hot dog comes with everything you need to sustain life ... until the bright green pickle relish catches up with you and you die."  (p. 39)

4.  Like many Pinkwater books, this is a description of what, in an ideal world, Education would be like.  The main character, Harold Knishke discovers the world through a combination of inquiry learning, odd and quirky mentors, and wonderfully random encounters with miraculous beauty.  I wish Pinkwater were Secretary of Education.

5.  It's got Latin phrases in it and a lot of cool stuff about art.  You'll learn stuff.

6.  It is a fun and clever book.

7.  Another typical quote:  "These tattoos were on the captain's upper arms.  Down one side of his body were portraits of the five women he had been married to.  On the other side was a list of sandwiches he had especially enjoyed and the date on which he had eaten them."

8.  A stuffed gorilla that was a mainstay of the Field Museum is also a main character. 

9.  It has some good stuff to say about the meaning of life and potatoes and work and stuff.

10,  Pinkwater has a huge pile of other wonderful books -- so once you can get a quirky kid hooked on this stuff, you'll be able to recommend The Education of Robert Nifkin;  Alan Mendleson Boy form Mars; Young Adult Novel, The Hoboken Chicken Emergency; Lizard Music; and The Snarkout Boys and the Avacado of Death. 

11.  Not for the profoundly unsatisfying ending.  Sigh.  I don't know what Pinkwater was thinking.  We never even got to the island.

(and, in the interest of full warning, there are a couple of vulgarities in the book.  Nothing major, though.  Probably bet for sixth and up.)

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