Crazy in Poughkeepsie

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Pub Date 10 May 2022 | Archive Date 09 May 2022

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Description

The inimitable Daniel Pinkwater (The Hoboken Chicken Emergency) brings his zany wit and wisdom to a gentle middle-grade adventure following a kid’s off-the-beaten-path journey, featuring an unfocused spiritual guide, a not-quite-dwarf, a graffiti “artist,” a ghost whale, and mystical shenanigans galore.

Crazy in Poughkeepsie is a ludicrous romp reminiscent of the Muppets! Weirdness is positive, wonderful, and everywhere in Pinkwater’s writing. This is a book that will make you laugh, grin, and maybe look for more whimsy in your own world.”
—Beth Cato, author of
The Clockwork Dagger

Mick is a good kid, but maybe he can use just a little guidance. But it’s unclear who will be guiding whom, because Mick’s brother came home from Tibet with the self-proclaimed Guru Lumpo Smythe-Finkel and his dog Lhasa―and then promptly settled both of them in Mick’s bedroom.

(The thing about this kind of guru is that he doesn’t seem to know exactly what he’s trying to do. He sure does seem to be hungry, though.)

Anyway, Mick agrees to something like a quest, roaming the suburbs with the oddest group of misfits: Lumpo and Lhasa; graffiti-fanatic Verne; and Verne’s unusual friend Molly. Molly is a Dwergish girl―don’t worry if you don’t know what that is yet―and she seems to be going off the rails a bit.

Along the way, the gang will get invited to a rollicking ghost party, consult a very strange little king, and actually discover the truth about Heaven. Or a version of the truth anyway, because in a Daniel Pinkwater tale, the truth is never the slightest bit like what you’re expecting.


The inimitable Daniel Pinkwater (The Hoboken Chicken Emergency) brings his zany wit and wisdom to a gentle middle-grade adventure following a kid’s off-the-beaten-path journey, featuring an...


A Note From the Publisher

About the author: Daniel Pinkwater is the author and in some cases illustrator of more than one hundred (and counting) beloved books, including The Neddiad, Lizard Music, The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death, Fat Men from Space, Borgel, and picture books including the million-selling The Big Orange Splot. He illustrated many of his own books until that task passed to his wife, illustrator and novelist Jill Pinkwater and other wonderful illustrators including Tomie DePaola, James Marshall, D.B Johnson and Calef Brown. For twenty-five years, Pinkwater was a popular commentator on National Public Radio, and has been spotted on the pages of the New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Saveur, OMNI, and many other publications. He has received the Blue Ribbon for Fattest Author at the Dutchess County Fair five times. Pinkwater lives with Jill, a world-class genius rough collie called The Peach, and certain cats in a centuries-old farmhouse in New York’s Hudson River Valley. About the Illustrator: Aaron Renier 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.

About the author: Daniel Pinkwater is the author and in some cases illustrator of more than one hundred (and counting) beloved books, including The Neddiad, Lizard Music, The Snarkout Boys and the...


Advance Praise

“Mick returns home from summer camp to find ‘a little old man’ named Guru Lumpu Smythe-Finkel occupying his bedroom in Pinkwater’s (Adventures of a Dwergish Girl) jovial novel. Though Mick’s older brother Maurice brought Lumpu and his dog Lhasa home from his trip to the Himalayas, the guru takes Mick on as his apprentice. During their daily hikes, Lumpu—who insists that destiny led him to Poughkeepsie, N.Y.—teaches Mick to appreciate the innate oddness of his hometown. The pair are joined by Vern, Mick’s environmental activist friend from summer camp, and Molly, a new arrival from the Catskill Mountains who describes herself as ‘crazy... I’m not myself.’ After encountering a ghost whale named Luna, the group embarks on a quest to guide the cetacean to her final resting place at the “whaley pearly gates.” . . . . This caper offers comical adventure, and Renier’s b&w illustrations exude classic comic strip aesthetics, admirably complementing Pinkwater’s straightforwardly told absurdist humor.
Publishers Weekly

“The Pinkwaterverse is a place of delight and camaraderie, wordplay and weirdness, magic and epic sojourns. Each Pinkwater novel is a novelty and unmistakably part of his vast literary legacy. Crazy in Poughkeepsie is a trip to whale heaven, an afterlife that we can all aspire to.”
—Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother

“Molly, a previously met character belonging to a secretive people (which ‘rhymes,’ the author hints, ‘with schmeprekon’) joins reluctant young narrator Mick and a motley group of fellow travelers in a tricked-out 1958 Buick convertible, complete with built-in toaster, to deliver a ghostly cetacean to the “whaley pearly gates,” also known as Whalhalla, Mount Whalympus, or Flukes of Glory. Naturally, there are many surreal encounters along the way, but bombinating (look it up) as they “stooge along,” guided by a surprisingly knowledgeable dog, the intrepid road trippers complete their mission, only to be rewarded by being all-too-briefly drawn in to the mystical, whirling dance of the massed whale spirits. Renier’s intermittent spot art provides an added visual element, and the climactic experience is likely to affect readers as deeply as it does Mick and his compatriots, making an unexpectedly lovely capper for this typically, and distinctively, daffy journey.
—Booklist

“Daniel Pinkwater has written a very clever and funny story that will keep middle graders, even reluctant readers, fully engaged and turning pages right through to the end. The characters are fully formed and fascinating. The story is very compelling and the writing is superb, with snappy dialogue and excellent description.”
—Seattle Book Review

“A remarkably sweet-natured mystical fantasy about helping a beloved ghost whale find its way to whale heaven. But throughout, it remains a characteristic Pinkwater tale of unexpected turns, hilarious sidebars, and above all a celebration of the outsider—or at least of the quirks and obsessions that make us all outsiders at one time or another. And, as always, it’s wickedly funny.”
—Locus

“A simple story with tiny bits of adventure all around, but I think that’s what many of us, me included, need often right now. I recommend this book to those who want a quiet adventure and a bit of funkiness in their lives.”
—A. Siegel

Crazy in Poughkeepsie is a ludicrous romp reminiscent of the Muppets! Weirdness is positive, wonderful, and everywhere in Pinkwater’s writing. This is a book that will make you laugh, grin, and maybe look for more whimsy in your own world.”
—Beth Cato, author of The Clockwork Dagger

“Daniel Pinkwater’s new novel is a magical ‘bombination,’ which is to say a slow hum that starts soft and then wraps around you with snappy wit and ghostly music that makes you dance. It’s a hum that gathers all together-short, tall, odd, activist, artist, teen and guru-until you realise that you’re at the party of your life.”    
—Jewelle Gomez, author of the Gilda Stories

“Opening the pages of Crazy in Poughkeepsie was like buying a ticket back to the all the weirdness and wonder of being a kid. I’m pretty sure we passed the Phantom Tollbooth during the road trip!”
—Jacqueline Carey, author of Starless

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.”
—Neil Gaiman, author of Coraline

“Daniel Pinkwater 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.”
—Leah Schnelbach, Tor.com

“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).”
Forward

“Daniel Pinkwater helped to shape me as a storyteller and his books have delighted generations of young readers. We’re so lucky to have him as a guide to all the realms of the beautifully weird and whimsical.”
—Charlie Jane Anders, author of The City in the Middle of the Night

“Pinkwater’s in on a great secret: if you want to communicate wisdom to young readers, first make them smile. Or giggle. Or run wild in Poughkeepsie, as the case may be.”
—Deborah J. Ross, author of The Seven-Petaled Shield





“Mick returns home from summer camp to find ‘a little old man’ named Guru Lumpu Smythe-Finkel occupying his bedroom in Pinkwater’s (Adventures of a Dwergish Girl) jovial novel. Though Mick’s older...


Marketing Plan

• Promotion and major trade and genre conventions
• ARC distribution/giveaways on NetGalley, Edelweiss, Goodreads, Instagram
• New York, national, and online events and appearances
• Author readings and radio/podcast
• Advertising in print and online / co-op available

• Promotion and major trade and genre conventions
• ARC distribution/giveaways on NetGalley, Edelweiss, Goodreads, Instagram
• New York, national, and online events and appearances
• Author readings...


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781616963743
PRICE $16.95 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

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Send to Kindle (MOBI)
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Average rating from 17 members


Featured Reviews

Mick's brother, Maurice (pronounced, ‘MAW-riss, ’and not ‘Mo-REECE,’) is an average and standard older brother. He loves him, of course, but there’s nothing particularly unusual or interesting about him, except that he took a trip to the Himalayas to find a guru. Now, Mick has a new roommate with his dog! The Guru and Lhasa!
They are on an adventure with Molly, a girl, and a friend (not girlfriend) to Whales heaven. The mission is to save a very lovely whale ghost who has very much love to dance.

This was a short, cute and funny story for young readers with the motto's "Help Save the Planet". An enjoyable read with nice illustrations.

Many thanks to Tachyon Publications and Netgalley for giving me chance to read Crazy in Poughkeepsie by Daniel Pinkwater and illustrator by Aaron Renier, I have given my honest review.

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Mick’s brother brings home a guru from the Himalayas and Mick is opened to a world of ghosts and whales and circus wagons and small people with stashes of gold,.. This is a frolicking set of quests complete with excessive bombination, ghost flutes and juvenile delinquents and I loved every moment. The Guru is a fantastic, mysterious, yet down-to-earth character and Lhasa, the dog, is the best. Great, entertaining middle grades novel.

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Llasa Come Home

So, there's Pinkwater for little kids, (the Larry books and "Mrs. Noodlekugel"), for elementary kids, ("Werewolf Club"), for middle graders, ("Hoboken Chicken Emergency"), for advanced middle graders, ("The Neddiad...", "Lizard Music"), and for young adults, ("The Education of Robert Nifkin", "Alan Mendelsohn, Boy From Mars"). This book struck me as middle middle grade, along the lines of "Adventures of a Dwergish Girl", (with which it shares a few characters, especially Molly), and the Snarkout Boys series.

The preceding paragraph is mostly to help you place this book on the Pinkwater spectrum. I hope you don't need any encouragement in the matter of whether or not to read this particular book, or to read any Pinkwater. But if you do need encouragement, (maybe you're new to Pinkwater), here goes.

Daniel Pinkwater is the patron saint of boys and girls who are a bit weird, or off-kilter, or just proudly independent and idiosyncratic. His heroes are, indeed, heroes, and they are always smart, perceptive, deadpan, gimlet eyed, wise beyond their years, unfazed by anything, and completely undeterred by lack of precedent. They take weirdness in stride and as it comes, and welcome the odd, the absurd, the enchanted, and the ineffable. Why? Because life is an amusing and unpredictable adventure, and you might as well get on with it. In short, the goofiness is almost always the point.

I could go on with all sorts of superlatives and exaggerated compliments, but who am I when you already have a Neil Gaiman blurb on the cover? So, here's the skinny on this particular book -- we are reacquainted with Molly, the Dwergish girl from "Adventures of a Dwergish Girl". While our deadpan and unflappable narrator, Mick, is nominally the main character, Molly runs a close second, mostly because she always seems a step ahead of everyone else. A cryptic guru keeps the action moving in a forward direction, (with lots of room for digressions), but even with that the action is pretty random and episodic. Once ghosts and whales show up, we are in a more fanciful realm than what I think of as usual for Pinkwater, but that doesn't detract at all from the fun.

Lots of funny bits, and lots of sneakily wise throwaway lines and observations made this a satisfying treat. I wouldn't put it in my top five, but that's just because there are so many good books among which to choose.

(Please note that I received a free 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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Daniel Pinkwater takes us to the east bank of the Hudson River, and slides the reader into the world of Mickey, the son of a Poughkeepsie pet food manufacturer, and brother of Maurice, whose burning desire is to become a guru. A lucky inheritance provides Maurice with the money to travel to Tibet, or maybe it was Pakistan or India, he wasn't sure. Amazingly he found a guru who was overdue on the rent for the cave he called “home”, so Maurice brought the guru and the guru's dog back to Poughkeepsie, and ensconced them in his brother Mickey's room, which is where Mickey found them when he arrived home from camp. This is just the beginning of a zany adventure that takes off like a verbal spontaneous problem from the Odyssey of the Mind program, with each of the 5 main characters contributing scenarios such as a ghost rave in an old factory, a campground, a circus wagon. The guru adopts Mickey as his student, Maurice becomes the chauffeur, Vern becomes a graffiti artist to spread various social messages, and Molly from Pinkwater's Adventures of a Dwergish Girl (2020)[ returns! This is a complete “out of the box” plot with dialogue that reflects each character's confusion, disbelief , commitment, or “yah, this is totally normal”. Never fear, there is a goal which involves a ghost whale.
Highly recommend!
Thank you to Tachyon Publications and Netgalley forthe opportunity to read Crazy in Poughkeepsie.

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Mick’s older brother heads off for Tibet to find a guru while Mick goes to summer camp. When he returns from camp he finds his brother is home, there is a guru - with a dog - sleeping in his room and soon he will be on a sort of quest. Mick, the guru, Guru Lumpo Smythe-Finkel, and his dog, Lhasa, are joined on their quest by Verne (a friend Mitch made at camp) and Molly, a mysterious girl who sleeps in a tree ( return character from Adventures of a Dwergish Girl). There are ghosts, including a ghostly whale, circus people, hidden villages and a bit of activism all rolled into a wonderfully silly and delightful adventure.
This was an incredibly quick and fun read with nice illustrations. Sure to entertain readers of all ages. I look forward to seeing more of these characters.

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Crazy in Poughkeepsie by Daniel Pinkwater
First of all, any book that has a character named Mr McShwartz and a guru who is behind rent on his cave in the first 40 pages is going to keep me reading. I dare say this would be the case for most of the book’s target audience, which must be middle grade eccentrics and middle aged persons who once lived in Poughkeepsie.
I have a troublesome habit of forgetting I’m not at home when I read elsewhere and this book earned me enough concerned glances from coworkers when I was reading it on my lunch break that I can provide proof that it is funnier than I expected, even past page 40.
I don’t want to give anything away, but this book will almost certainly be a hit with fans of Rob Buyea or David Walliams. While the language and prose style feels vintage in some way I can’t put my finger on, it’s a pleasing vintage that makes me think of dust motes in sunlight in a grand used bookstore. This is a book of circus wagons and ghosts, lots of stops for food, and it feels both old and contemporary.
I spent time in Poughkeepsie, although I was a student at Vassar, and not in the City of Poughkeepsie nearly as often as reading this book makes me wish I had been. It’s an old city with a long but quiet sort of history; Daniel Pinkwater takes that and makes it fascinating and funny. Still, I can see the abandoned factories and the ghosts of whales, the stores and schools he conjures here.
I don’t want to spoil the story and it’s impossible to give an outline or idea of what the story’s about without spoiling it. But every character is interesting, and not like the people in anything I’ve read. Luckily, it’s not a spoiler to tell you that this book will tell you how to change the slips with the fortunes on them in fortune cookies without breaking the cookie. That’s the sort of thing you will find in Crazy in Poughkeepsie.
Please read this book – laugh when it’s funny and wonder at how self contained and neat it is, it’s as well made and tangible and true, and absolutely worth your time.
I received an advance copy of Crazy in Poughkeepsie from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Funny, thoughtful, and sometimes simply bizarre. I really enjoyed this book and think others will too, although I could see some readers (probably more adults than kids) being put off by the absurdist humor. Personally it made me want to read more by Pinkwater!

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It’s difficult to find words to describe a Daniel Pinkwater book because they are a unique breed that defies the usual literary terminology: they’re enchanting (often literally), playful, spontaneous (as in combustion, upon occasion), and hilarious-yet-insightful. In other words, a Daniel Pinkwater book provides the occasion for parents wrestling the copy from their kids, and vice versa, so why not avoid bloodshed, or paper-shred, and read them aloud together?

Mick’s ordinary life comes to a screeching 180 degree turn when his older brother returns home from Tibet with Guru Lumpo Smythe-Finkel and his dog, Lhasa, and Mick finds himself—how, he’s never entirely clear—the guru’s new disciple. Guru, disciple, and magical dog set off on a quest that’s as notable for its vagueness as its unpredictability. They acquire fellow travelers, graffiti-fanatic Verne and Molly, a Dwergish girl (sort of like leprechaun trolls with hidden goals, magical powers, a gift for making friends, and a charmingly madcap sense of humor). Soon they’re cavorting with a ghost whale who is the essence of love, as well as other wacky and memorable characters.

Pinkwater’s in on a great secret: if you want to communicate wisdom to young readers, first make them smile.

Or giggle. Or run wild in Poughkeepsie, as the case may be.
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