Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Review: Mrs. Noodlekugel by Daniel Pinkwater (Cybils Nominee)

Mrs. Noodlekugel. by Daniel Pinkwater. April 24, 2012. Candlewick. 80 pages. ISBN: 9780763650537

Mrs. Noodlekugel lives in the mysterious little cottage in back of the apartment building where Nick and Maxine have just moved. Their parents ask them not to bother her, but the kids can’t resist and they go knocking on her door anyway. What they discover is that Mrs. Noodlekugel is not just any ordinary neighbor. She has a talking cat, several vision-impaired mice friends, and the ability to bake magical cookies.

I know that Daniel Pinkwater is a creative author with an absurd sense of humor, so I had high expectations for this book, but overall, I was disappointed. Mrs. Noodlekugel seems to me like a rip-off of well-known characters like Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and Mary Poppins. She has a whimsical personality, which is endearing, as are her relationships with her talking animals, but there is nothing about this story to make it stand out from the others. The kids aren’t developed as characters at all, so there is no real connection between the reader and the protagonists, and Mike the Janitor, who is well-described seems to have no real purpose in the plot other than as the adult who makes it possible for the kids to find the way to Mrs. Noodlekugel’s door.

This book will appeal to kids who like gentle stories filled with magic, warmth, and animals, but many other titles will fulfill their reading desires just as well - including Hamster Magic, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, and Stuart Little.

I borrowed Mrs. Noodlekugel from my local public library. 

For more about this book, visit Goodreads and Worldcat

NOTE: This book was nominated for the 2012 Cybils Awards in the Easy Reader/Early Chapter Book category. I am a first-round panelist in this category, but this review reflects my opinions only, not those of any other panelist, or the panel as a whole. Thanks! 

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