Adventures of a Dwergish Girl
by Daniel Pinkwater
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Pub Date 25 Sep 2020 | Archive Date 09 Nov 2020
Bestselling author Daniel Pinkwater (Lizard Music, The Hoboken Chicken Emergency) returns in classic form with the illustrated, middle-grade adventures of one young Molly O’Malley: a dwarf (well, dwarf-ish) girl who just won’t settle for a boring mountain life.
"A Pinkwater whirlwind in all its glory.”—Booklist
“Daniel Pinkwater’s books don’t strive for greatness; they don’t seem to be trying at all. That’s the magic of them.”—The New York Times Book Review
Molly O'Malley is a clever, adventurous girl. She is also a Dwerg. Dwergs are strange folks who live very quietly in the Catskill mountains, have lots of gold, and are kind of like dwarves (but also not!).
Molly isn’t interested in cooking and weaving, as she is expected to be. So, she sets off to see the world for herself. Which means a new job, a trip to New York City, prowling gangsters, an adorable king, a city witch, and many historical ghosts. More importantly, it means excellent pizza, new friends, and very quick thinking.
Now someone is pursuing the Dwergs for their gold. Can Molly O’Malley save the day?
A Note From the Publisher
Pinkwater lives with his wife and several dogs and cats in a very old farmhouse in New York’s Hudson River.
Aaron Renier (Illustrator) is the author of three graphic novels for younger readers; Spiral-Bound, Walker Bean, and Walker Bean and the Knights of the Waxing Moon. He is the recipient of the Eisner award in 2006 for talent deserving of wider recognition, and was an inaugural resident for the Sendak Fellowship in 2010. He teaches drawing and comics at universities in Chicago.
“Gr 3-6–Written in Pinkwater’s unique offbeat style, this novel is part legend, part modern(ish) personal narrative. A Dwergish girl (of Dutch descent) who calls herself Molly O’Malley recounts days at home and her community life before telling of her adventures outside of that isolated, peaceful place in the Catskills where Dwerg life has remained the same for generations. Molly leaves her Dwerg village to go to the city of Kingston, NY, where she sells a couple Dwerg gold coins, gets a job in a local pizza shop belonging to a man from Sierra Leone, and sets up a tent of string and garbage bags in the woods behind the shop. On one late night walk in the old town stockade, Molly meets a ghost who becomes a friend and helps Molly understand an apparent plot to use androids to reenact the burning of Kingston from 1777. Molly and her (living) friend, Leni, take a bus trip to New York City to have hotdogs and papaya juice, which Molly later revisits to see the Yorkville witch who can help her solve the mystery. Witty, unorthodox, and highly entertaining twists and turns abound as Molly uses the wisdom of the Dwergs, the help of the local genius DJ, magic parsnips, and her Uncle Norbert’s guidance to save Kingston. Small ink drawings open each chapter with a bit of entertainment and some information about the story. VERDICT Those who enjoy a good mystery with an unusual plot, strong characters, and smart language will find connections between this unbelievable story and the incredible adventures of real life.”
—School Library Journal
“Pinkwater is arguably Pratchett-for-kids, Wodehouse-for-new-millennium-juniors. Or, if you like, Rocky and Bullwinkle in written form, with equally zany illustrations. His stories charm, educate, and thrill, and if you happen to be the lucky adult called upon to read them aloud – just to be sure they’re okay for your kids—you find them packed with jokes for the adult reader . . . This book is just so darned nice that it could cure your whole day. Let Molly and her Dwergish ways bring order to your chaotic world.”
—Green Man Review
“The story is Pinkwater in classic form, full of kooky characters and an unpredictable plot that flings readers in unexpected directions. Despite occasional breaks for history lessons and papaya juice amongst the humorous chaos and exquisite descriptions, the story maintains an old-fashioned directness while still incorporating modern elements. An abrupt ending is disconcerting, but established fans know where it leads. A Pinkwater whirlwind in all its glory.”
“Captivating, cool and crazy!! This story is an inspiration to us all: Be brave. Have adventures. And, most importantly, follow your dreams.”
—Sam Lloyd, author of Mr. Pusskins
“Adventures of A Dwergish Girl is a book with every single thing I love about Pinkwater novels. Reading Daniel Pinkwater—as a kid and as an adult was hugely important to my development as a writer and a human being. Meeting another Pinkwater fan is always a sign that you are among good people.”
—Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother
“Adventures of a Dwergish Girl by Daniel Pinkwater has that rare sense of wonder that makes you feel as if you have entered into a magical kingdom.".
—Joe R. Lansdale, author of Of Mice and Minestrone
“Teen Molly O’Malley is a Dwerg who lives in New York’s Catskill Mountains. Like all Dwerg families, Molly’s has extraordinary wealth from mining gold. As a female Dwerg, Molly is expected to tend goats and vegetables and marry a “slob male Dwerg,” but she is also permitted to attend school in nearby Kingston. After a year and a half of high school, Molly knows two things: that Dwergs, though exceedingly boring, possess magic, and that she needs to live on her own. After getting a job at a pizza place, Molly meets the usual, delightful assortment of oddball characters who show up in stories by Pinkwater (the Hoboken Chicken series)—here, the cast includes an 18th-century teenage ghost and the Catskill Witch. With their help, Molly must stop androids disguised as British Redcoats from burning New York City, as well as gangsters from stealing the Dwergs’ gold. Molly is curious, practical, and resourceful, and despite her desire for independence, she remains connected to her Dwerg family and heritage. The comically absurd ending is an enjoyable wrap-up to this fast-paced, unexpected adventure that combines history, folklore, and nonsensical fun.”
Praise for Daniel Pinkwater
“Daniel Pinkwater is so obviously the funniest writer of children’s books that he should be made a Living National Treasure.”
—Washington Post Book World
“Pinkwater is the uniquest. And so are his books. Each uniquer than the last . . . A delight in oddness. A magic that’s not like anyone else’s.”
“Daniel Pinkwater [who] is, in my opinion not only one of the best YA writers ever, but also a life-changing force in the life of a reader.”
“The most perfect manufacturer of weird and absurd stories this side of Karel Čapek (with whom he seems to share a thing for lizards) or maybe Douglas Adams (with whom he shares an interest in sardonic aliens and travel through spacetime).”
Praise for Lizard Music
[STARRED REVIEW] “Funny, properly paranoid, shot through with bad puns and sweet absurdities, and all about a baffled kid intent on tracking reality (as slippery as lizards) in a media-spooked milieu.”
“A writer for smart kids . . . Pinkwater writes for, and about, people who are not ashamed to look at life a little differently.”
Praise for The Hoboken Chicken Emergency
“An uproariously funny and surprisingly sophisticated book.”
“The story has vitality and rock-the-boat humor.”
—School Library Journal
“An uproar of a book. You’re so busy laughing.”
—Children’s Book Review
Praise for The Neddiad
“What makes this book so delightful—apart from the zaniness of the storyline—is the author’s lively, humane wit.”
—Wall Street Journal
“Neddie’s pitch-perfect rendition of that ’40s voice—a tad formal, a smidgen hardboiled, faintly tongue-in-cheek—should charm even the most jaded 12-year-old.”
*Promotion and major trade and genre conventions TBD
*ARC distribution/giveaways on NetGalley, Edelweiss, Goodreads, Instagram
*New York, national, and online events and appearances TBD
*Author readings and radio/podcast
*Advertising in print and online / co-op available
Average rating from 39 members
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!
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.
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.
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
I just knew I was going to love this book as soon as I read the blurb. It sounded like such fun. It was. I thought it was going to be aimed at a younger audience, maybe middle grade but I think it would suit a slightly higher age-group. I loved this book. I had a lot of fun reading it. The history of Molly and Dwergs was a lot of fun and very entertaining. Molly is a great character, well fleshed out and I liked how she develops across the book. I thought this was a great book. I need to read more of this author’s work.
Daniel Pinkwater is at his best, most charming and delightful in this tale of a girl from the Dwerg people – you know, the “little men” responsible for Rip Van Winkle sleeping for twenty years? The ones you can never find, no matter how hard you look? The ones who mine gold in the Catskills, can run unbelievably fast, practice domesticity on a level capable of boring any young person to tears? Such is Molly Van Dwerg’s world until she decides to leave home, armed with a couple of Dwergish gold coins and irrepressible self-confidence. Her gift for making friends is rivaled only by her appetite for pizza and papaya juice. When the nearby town of Kingston is menaced by bad guys after the gold and willing to burn down the town to get it, Molly enlists her friends and her wits to save the day.
Charming reading for the entire family.
Molly is a Dwerg whose people live magically hidden in the Catskills, tending goats and mining gold. Dwergish girls sometimes go into the nearby town to go to school and Molly has seen enough of the outside world to know she wants to see more and that a life of weaving, cooking and tending goats doesn’t really interest her. So Molly goes in to Kingston, gets a job at a pizzeria and starts to make friends with the residents of Kingston; both the living and the dead. When Redcoats, not actually living or ghosts, are seen to around town committing crimes, Molly finds out that it is part of a larger plot to find the Dwerg’s gold. Can Molly stop them and still keep the Dwerg’s existence secret?
Aimed at middle school readers this is a delightful story that will please both the young and adult reader. I look forward to more of Molly’s adventures.
13 year old daughter read this for me and enjoyed it. Funny book with a touch of adventure. Lessons in friendship and not being afraid of learning new things.
STORYLINE: A wonderful blend of folklore, magic, and history – early American history, that is. Envision the dwarfs that lived with Snow White. The character of this book are like these legendary dwarfs and they live in a mostly invisible village. One day, a young girl, named Molly, a Dwerg (that is what these little people are called) decides there is more to life than living in this village. She tells her family this; they wish her well; and she takes off on adventures into the big outside world. She lands in Kingston, New York.
TEXT: Take a bit of magic, pizza, hotdogs, and papaya juice. Mix this with ordinary people, ghosts, dead and alive British soldiers and gangsters, a radio DJ, the witch of the Catskill Mountain, the bee waggle and a cave, and you have an adventuresome mystery of a book!
ILLUSTRATIONS: Black and white illustrations to begin each short chapter peak interest.
*The book lends itself to a geography lesson of this Catskill Mountain region
*The book references American history and folklore of the region
CONS: Story ends and readers want more. A book #2 would be nice!
HOW BEST ENJOYED: This would be a great read-aloud for third and fourth graders. Stoytimes of this nature stick in the memories of children when they grow up.
IN CLOSING: Have you ever thought about your destiny? Molly learns her destiny in this story!
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