Member Reviews

Wow, such a good story. This sci-fi and fantasy book from Daniel Pinkwater was the first book I have read from this author. I have been wanting to read his work in so long, and now that I did I'm so impressed. Thanks to Netgalley I received this ARC of this book.

This story follows a Dwergish girl that goes by the name Molly. She is confident, smart and very independent. She decides to move out of her hidden town that only Dwergish can find. She ends up working for a pizzeria and living behind it. Here Molly meets Leni, a girl from the school she was attending. Leni knows her way around New York and even caves. Molly's simple life becomes complicated after finding out that some might be coming after the Dwergish coins of gold worth so much. Molly meets various characters as she embarks on the adventure to save Kingstown from a possible torching.

This is a great read and an easy read. I enjoyed every moment of it. If you like The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman you will love this book as well. I highly recommend this book. #AdventuresofaDwergishGirl #NetGalley

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Take a bit of the Catskills, embed some Dutch culture, add Molly the dwerg who wants to see what's outside her “golden” dwerg world, fold in ghosts who stroll the streets after dark and a few gangsters, and you have Pinkwater's newest. Quirky settings and and jaunty dialogue--the description of Port Authority and Molly's reaction to New York City was spot on! Perfect for the upper middle grade reader who appreciates a subtlety wacky storyline.

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This is the story of Molly Van Dwerg. She is a Dwerg. It's the Ducthc word for dwarf. They are actually taller than drawrf, but not by much. They live in the Catskills in a place no one can find. Some of the Dwerg girls go to the Engel's schools. Engel is what they call English people. When she goes to school her name is Molly O'Malley. Molly decided to move to the Engel's city and gets a job at a pizza restaurant. She lives in the woods behind the restaurant and spends her nights talking to the local ghosts. Some know she's a Dwerg, though most people don't know if the Dwerg really exist. Stories say the Dwergs are rich with gold which leads us to the ghost gangster, Leg Rhinestone, who wants to steal the gold with the help of his living gangster friends. I will stop there so you're able to leaen how this story ends on your own. It's a whitty and fun read and I highly suggest you do so. I am giving this a solid 4 star review. Enjoy! Thank you netgalley, Daniel Pinkwater, and published for allowing me to read for free in exchange for an honest review.

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When I first saw Adventures of a Dwergish Girl, I was struck with the cover, then I read the description and struck again. A Dwergish girl gets bored with her dull life and what lays in her future and decides to leave her in-forest-home for the city? And her family just lets her? And supports her? Just give me that.

It is amazing what a cover and just a little bit of information can do to a reader...

Like The New York Times Book Review snippet says: Daniel Pinkwater does not write about greatness (or big and hearty adventures; he creates a magical world and sweet moments and lovely characters. Funny dialogues. And fantastic characters with ordinary voices).

What I loved about this book that, usually most children's book starts to the action right away, but not Adventures of a Dwergish Girl. It is sturdy, like Molly. Pinkwater slowly builds the world and between the lines, emerges our lovely, smart, fearless and confident narrator. And the mysterious soldiers who eat ridiculous things. Ghosts... As an adult reader, I loved these long pages, and their creativity and narration, but I am afraid that small readers will get bored with that. And this is heartbreaking.

Writing for children is a tricky business. Many fall on the category of being didactic. But I cannot say this for Pinkwater entirely. Though some history notes is just told to inform and this broke the magical world, in general it has a sense of wholeness.

It is a good read and pizza lovers will feel an elevated love for this book. I also hope that this is a beginning of series as the end of the book suggests.

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I just didn't really get the point of this book. The writing style was pleasant and the main character was, at least at first, interesting, but I quickly became bored with the repetition of the same points and the extended explanations of Dwergish life vs city life. Not for me, personally, but I can easily imagine someone who would enjoy this book

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Adventures of a Dwergish Girl by Daniel Pinkwater ~ Reviewed on July 11, 2020

Molly is a Dwerg girl (Dwerg is a Dutch word.) The Dwergs live in upstate New York in The Catskills, in a hidden place you cannot find. They have gold mines, however, girls are not allowed to work. In fact, girls have limited things they are permitted to do.
Molly believe she is missing something and decides she needs to ‘get away’ and live among the English people and find out what the rest of the world is all about. She is sure she will miss the activities around the community oven and her mother’s delicious bread.
So first thing that attracts Molly is the smell of Pizza! This also got my attention.

This is cute story for middle schoolers and many adults will enjoy make believe stories of goblins.
The ending is also cute and now off to Poughkeepsie!

Want to thank NetGalley and Tachyon Publications for this early release granted to me in exchange for an honest professional review. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Publishing Release Date scheduled for September 25, 2020

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This was a fun little jaunt through history, following a Dwergish (possibly related to dwarvish) girl who moves from her comfortable home in the mountains into the city to learn about humans. The story is fine, and it could appeal to kids who like history. The author pauses to fill in the reader on local history several times and creates a fun little mystery that our hero has to solve. The writing is a little simplistic, with a lot more telling rather than showing. I found myself rather bored several times, but the end was cute and had a clever twist.

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Perfect for all the Goblins lovers. The characters are interesting and the writing is good. Even though a Children's fiction many adults will still enjoy it. I definitely did!

Molly is an interesting character. She is brave and intelligent and adventurous. She is a Dwerg, Dutch for a dwarf. She seeks a new life and goes to the nearest town.

The story revolves around how she adjusts to her new life and friend. How she saves the town. I like the humorous parts in the story. The characters are good. I felt the ending was a bit abrupt. Overall an interesting read.

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Daniel Pinkwater was an author of my childhood, and I loved his witty, playful books that embraced absurdities and creative problem-solving. It was a pleasure to return to his writing, and I loved Adventures of a Dwergish Girl. Molly is not human, but a Dwerg, belonging to the large but mostly unseen Dwergish community in the Catskills. Attracted to the human world and all of its facets, she decides to live for a bit in the nearest human town, where she discovers pizza, makes friends with humans and human ghosts, goes to New York City for papaya juice and to meet with a witch, and with the help of her friends--human, Dwerg, and ghost--saves the town. It's a fun romp of a novel that would be perfect for parents and kids reading out loud to each other. Have some papaya juice an da pizza or hot dog along with it, and you've got a great book party.

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I received this ebook in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book was okay. I feel like my students would not stay engaged through the book. The world building was done well and I enjoyed hearing about it. The main character was somewhat monotone.

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This book will be published in September, 2020--I received a copy from NetGalley--and what I mostly have to say is: I HAVE READ THIS AND YOU HAVEN'T HAHAHAHA!

If you don't know Daniel Pinkwater, then nothing I can say will prepare you for his books. If you do know him, then I need say nothing. That being said, people would probably appreciate some context for the happy burbling in this review.

Indulge me for a paragraph while I go back a few decades. I encountered Pinkwater's Alan Mendohlson: The Boy from Mars and its frumpy, unpopular, misunderstood narrator Leonard Neeble a few years after its 1979 publication, when I was a frumpy, unpopular preteen girl convinced that nobody understood, and, naturally, imprinted hard on the book. Its out-of-left-field humor, thwarting of authority figures, windows into other, fantastical, worlds and the triumph and eventual self-possession of the narrator while not changing any of the traits I shared with him meant it was the right book the right time. (See #2 and #3 of S. R. Ranganathan's Five Laws of Library Science.) The two things I wished at the time that Alan Mendohlson had were: (1) more info about Alan Mendohlson and where he came from, and (2) a girl.

Enter Adventures of a Dwergish Girl. Molly O'Malley is a Dwerg, one of a reclusive race of people who live in the Catskill mountains. She's unsatisfied with her life and the expectations of her future, so decides to head out to The Big City and see what happens. What happens is that she encounters pizza, makes friends, discovers papaya juice, ghosts and historical re-enactors, and saves both the day and her people while being, emphatically, herself. Even when she's not sure what to do, she comes up with a plan.

Had I encountered Molly O'Malley at the same age I encountered Alan Mendohlson, I think I might have actually liked her better. It was terrific fun to watch Alan Mendohlson do amazing things, but it's better to be Molly O'Malley doing amazing things. We get to know where Molly comes from and who she is while at the same time having a view from the driver's seat. I admit that the questions that Alan Mendohlson left me with, and the particular weirdnesses of that book, made me love it and speculate long and hard on it (I was unaware of the concept of fanfic at the time, probably for the best as I would have been a terrible writer). But while AM was a sharp, hard, fizzy concoction, AoaDG is a more rounded dish with umami at the base and careful seasoning on top.

Adventures of a Dwergish Girl has a strong voice which, I admit, is Pinkwater's voice and much the same in all of his books but I never get tired of it.It's also packed full of Pinkwater's usual run of weird and quirky characters. The end teases a continuation of the story, and should that come to pass I would absolutely love it.

Highly recommended. I'm going to buy a hard copy when it's published so I can throw it at my nephew when he's old enough to appreciate it.

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Adventures of a Dwergish girl by Daniel Pinkwater: a review
Genre: Children's fiction

With thanks to NetGalley and Tachyon Publications for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest feedback.

When I was just learning to cook, I had once tried making a lettuce salad using varied ingredients. Its flavour turned out to be pretty decent but the feedback I received from my family was, "You have tried to put a little bit of everything, but haven't kept any dominant ingredient. Putting equal quantities of each of the main ingredients just messes with the overall flavour." I have always kept that advice in mind because it did seem to make a lot of sense.

The author of this book seems to have made the same amateurish mistake. He has tried to put in fantasy, horror, thrill, humour, adventure, bad guys, good guys, evil guys, silly guys, clever guys,... all within a 192 page book. At the end, there is no dominant idea and the book just ends up as the book version of a jack of all trades and master of none.

Does that mean that the book is boring and not worth reading? Not at all. It does have its positive points also. Here's a brief review about the book that tries too hard and doesn't quite succeed.

Molly van Dwerg is the eponymous Dwergish girl, Dwerg being Dutch for "dwarf". She is quite fed up with her routine life in her village with the other dwergs and hence seeks to go to the nearest town of Kingston to live her life fully and freely. What she discovers there, how she adjusts to life amid humans, and how she uses her Dwergish powers & friendships to save the town forms the rest of the story.

- Molly is a character whom children will love. She is a girl to look up to as she is brave, intelligent and willing to try new things instead of sticking to convention. She would be a good role model for young girls.
- There are a few really humorous scenes in the book. So the fun element that children always enjoy reading is taken care of.
- The dwergs seem to be an interesting race and their characteristics will definitely keep children intrigued.
- The dwergs' attempt to fit in at the local school can teach children about how we must accept strangers who are different to us in appearance. There are a few such allegorical lessons peppered throughout the book.
- Special mention to the cover. It is so colourful and appealing.

- The ending is too abrupt. I have a feeling the author deliberately kept it like that in order to leave some scope for a sequel, but it should have been written better. It's like a car that was going at a steady 80kmph and then suddenly braking to a halt without a warning. You are caught unawares.
- Like I mentioned above, the author tries too hard and too much. I wish the author could have focussed on any one or two dominant elements and kept the story structured around those.
- The historical description given for the places that Molly visits is written in a very drab and stretched-out way. As the main target audience is children, this aspect should have been tackled more like brief interesting tidbits rather than a detailed history lesson.

In short, the book could have been much more, if only the author had decided to keep on track rather than desperately trying to cover as many ideas as could possibly fit within his story.

My rating: 3.25/5

#AdventuresofaDwergishGirl #NetGalley

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Somehow, I missed Pinkwater’s works when I was growing up. I rectified that not long ago when Sarah B. pointed me towards Lizard Music, a delightfully weird young adult tale of a young teen who is left on his own for the first time and end up exploring the city around him. ‘Adventures of a Dwergish Girl‘ reminded me very much of that book, only, oddly, both more and less well-written. I think I’d recommend that one over this, odd and perhaps less-accessible as it may be.

Though Dwergish Girl is ostensibly young adult, the beginning is very text-dense, with a great deal of descriptive world-building. It is as if someone had a homework assignment that said, “create a not-quite-human society that lives alongside the current human one” and proceeded to describe social, physical and economic structure. In fact, it isn’t until Chapter Four, or the 10% mark, that the action and dialogue of the book actually begins. I couldn’t help but contrast that with Lizard Music, which even though similarly began with a first-person young person narrating, there were phone calls, goodbyes, small adventures, and narrations of actions that broke into the thoughts that oriented the reader to time and place. On the more positive side, Dwergish has a more modern feel about it, with greater care toward avoiding potentially socially confrontational topics.

“It’s not as though I sneaked out of my ho use in the middle of the night, stole some coins, and left my family a pathetic note. It wasn’t like that at all. It was less dramatic. I told my mother that I couldn’t stand living in the quaint little hidden village anymore, and wanted to give the outside world a try. She said she understood” (13%)

Narrative voice was actually quite challenging, because so much of it was passive. That first conversation at 10% isn’t followed until another at 14%, and that just doesn’t fly in a young adult book. Perhaps if you are writing Island of the Blue Dolphins, but not when you are a Dwerg girl leaving home to explore a human town.

Speaking of which, let’s talk about the ‘dwerg’ in the room. I’m almost certain it is supposed to be a fantasy-version of ‘dwarf,’ with the emphasis on mining gold, and “little men, short ugly guys with beards, big heads, and little pig eyes.” There’s a big explanation for ‘Dwerg’ in the story, about it being a Dutch word and such, and the relationship with the English, but I couldn’t help wondering, ‘why?’ and that’s not a story question that often occurs to me. What is this story trying to accomplish? Preserve some New England mythology? Introduce it? Why have the ‘dwerg’ device at all, except to have someone who had gold and was moderately alienated from modern culture? The alienation is occasionally played for laughs, but really, because the dwerg girls could go to school, Molly fits in relatively easily. In fact, she’s so competent at everything she tries that I’d easily take her for an eighteen-year-old age group. About the only magical thing that Molly does do is talk to ghosts.

There is a lot of history in here about Kingston, New York, the general area, the Natives who were there and then the settlers that came. Once the ghosts are introduced (at 25%), even more history gets brought in. Again, had more of it been done through dialogue or action, perhaps it would have been more entertaining. As it was, it looked like paragraphs were lifted off encyclopedia articles.

I’ve hesitated for a long time in writing this review. I tend to feel terribly guilty when I don’t like a book that I was excited to read, particularly when it’s an advance review copy. But in this case, I’d say don’t let it write you off Pinkwater entirely. I happened to enjoy the very curiously weird Lizard Music.

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I have been enjoying the books of Daniel Pinkwater for probably 35 years. I still remember my favorite book of his fondly: Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars. It was a book about an unpopular outcast and I felt very seen. I loved the fact that he got to find a friend and have adventures and smoke cigars and travel to another plane of reality. I enjoyed all of his books that I read, including Young Adult Novel and The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death. Didn’t he have fantastic titles? And I’ll never forget listening to Car Talk with my dad and realizing that it was Daniel Pinkwater calling in. If memory serves, they decided to use a new method of measuring car seat size for ample rumps “the “Pinkwater”. Recently, I’ve been finding some of his books geared for younger kids for my own children. My eldest really enjoyed the Hoboken Chicken Emergency.

So I was very excited to get an eARC of Adventures of a Dwergish Girl from NetGalley. It envisions a community of Dwergs, people resembling fairy tale dwarves, living in update New York. But, like many a Pinkwater book, it doesn’t dawdle. It quickly sets our protagonist, a Dwerg who goes by Molly, off on a series of wacky adventures, which include the most loving description of a papaya-based New York hot dog eatery you have ever or will ever read. It really made me nostalgic for when I lived on the Upper East Side.

Like many Pinkwater books, this one is filled with zany characters that seem so unrealistic that you know they must be based on real people. Also, like many Pinkwater books, the plot zigs and zags with many unexpected turns that could easily give you whiplash, they are so abrupt.

Is this book perfect? No. But it captures that classic Pinkwater vibe. And that’s good enough for me!

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I have to see a really enjoyed this weird middle grade book. I did find the first few chapters very boring. I think their has to be a better way to tell the readers what Dwergs are then how it was done in the first few chapters. The main character we follow is a Dwerg named Molly. She leaves where the Dwergs lives to go out into the world. The rest of the book is about her being out in the world. I love the book after Molly left where Dwergs lives. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher or author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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A Top Notch Pinkwater Heroine

Pinkwater writes great characters, but many of his narrators and central characters are boys. Robert Nifkin, Arthur Bobowicz, Alan Mendelsohn, Neddie Wentworthstein, Walter and Winston - the list goes on. He sometimes gives us strong girl sidekicks, (the Cat-Whiskered girl, Rat from the Snarkout books), but they are rarely the featured attraction. Until now.

Molly, the Dwergish Girl with a taste for adventure and life outside of her boring Dwerg village, is an absolutely grade-A Pinkwater heroine. She is calm, collected, sublimely in charge of every situation, totally unflappable, and completely impervious to any sort of con. She truly sees and understands everything she observes, and is bemused by most of it. She is the girl you would like your granddaughter to be.

Pinkwater spares no effort in surrounding her with a fine cast of classic Pinkwater characters. There are no less than a dozen distinct and interesting adult supporting players here. Molly even gets a sharp, deadpan girl sidekick/pal to round out the action and provide her with a buddy.

The plot isn't as antic/silly as in some Pinkwater books, but it's goofy and unpredictable enough to keep young readers on their toes.

I could go on and on, but that would just be fanboy gushing. Note that the book starts a bit slowly; I was getting concerned after the first chapter. But that was just Pinkwater getting warmed up. By chapter two you'll be off and running. For what it's worth, the book is a complete story arc, but it ends with a note that promises further Molly Von Dwerg adventures, which would be just fine by me.

(Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)

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I liked how this felt like someone telling you their story. However, I just didn't care too much for the actual story. I'm not sure exactly what it was, but I thought it wasn't the most interesting and I didn't care for the main character that much, so I didn't connect with her story.

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