- Enter For A Chance To Win 2 “Kaijudo: Clash of the Duel Masters” Competitive Decks – Giveaway!
- Wizard World Philadelphia Is A Place To Meet Heroes And Create Memories
- Power Rangers Super Samurai: Secret of the Red Ranger – Volume 4 – Exclusive Giveaway
- Hottest Toys In 2013 – Early Holiday List Thoughts
- Aedin Mincks Talks “A.N.T. Farm” and His Co-Stars – Exclusive Interview!
The Yggyssey by Daniel Pinkwater – Review
The ghosts of the La Brea Tarpits Woman, Rudolph Valentino, and Harry Houdini have gone missing. Yggdrasil Birnbaum, the heroine of The Yggyssey,is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, stop more of the ghosts of Los Angeles from disappearing, and bring them back from wherever they’ve gone. To do this, her adventures will take her to an alternate dimension with her friends where she will encounter – ghosts, witches, Labrador retrievers who are cops, a girl with cat whiskers named Big Audrey, a tyrannical ruler called Uncle, and four-foot-tall elderly people who wear tie-dyed clothes and have flowers in their hair and call themselves “hoopies.”
Going along with her on her fun-to-read adventures (or Odyssey) are Neddie Wentworthstein, the main character of the first novel in the author’s trilogy, The Neddiad,and their mutual friend, Seamus Finn (the son of a famous swash-buckling Hollywood actor). The book is entertaining even before ten-year-old Iggy and her friends go on their Yggdyssey (Odyssey) - in search of the missing ghosts of L.A. Iggy, like her friend, Neddie, also has rich parents. His father made the family fortune through selling shoelaces during WWII, and her father (who had been a movie star first in silents than in talkies) inherited his from Iggy’s grandfather, Colonel Horatius Birnbaum. Colonel Horatius Birnbaum invented “the first modern super-adhesive,” named “Alpenglue.” She and her family live in a once-grand hotel in Hollywood, where many of the ghosts in the story reside, including her best friend, a black ghost bunny, Chase, who can change sizes at will.
The novel is set in the 1950′s, and there are various references to music of the era, like anti-Communist hillbilly songs, the song “Nature Boy,” and the children’s concern about atomic bombs. They eat five-cent meals at the well-known Clifford Restaurant, and go to a movie theater on Saturdays that’s just for kids that shows movies the entire day. The children can stay and watch as long as they want to, and are bribed to leave with free copies of (coverless) comic books. They eat donuts, drink coffee, and have adult friends who are somewhat off-the-wall, like a vegetarian guy called Gypsy Boots, and Neddie’s Shaman mentor, Melvin. Two other restaurants in the novel are “a mushroom burger place,” that’s run by “Hindu swamis” and the “Zen Pickle Barrel.” The ”Zen Pickle Barrel” specializes in serving “Japanese pickles as served in Buddhist monasteries,” and various ice cream desserts, “like a butterscotch-pickle-sundae.”
Iggy goes to a progressive school called Harmonious Reality, where the “teachers are polite, and the kids, while confused and illiterate, are mostly friendly.” Her mother is a psychiatrist to the stars and Neddie and Seamus attend a military school called Brown-Sparrow Military Academy. Neddie tells her the academy ”has one hundred rules for every one,” that Harmonious Reality has in place. Iggy’s school doesn’t have many rules, and kids can even leave during the day on their own if they want.
What I really like about The Yggysseyis Daniel Pinkwater’s humor is the fact that he understands the expansiveness of children’s minds and imaginations. He also writes about the strange characters the kids meet and places they travel to in a matter-of-fact way. The children accept these things as a part of their reality, so the readers should, also. Going to an annual ghostly parade that’s generally led by the ghost of the magician and escape artist Harry Houdini, but this year is being led by Theodore Roosevelt’s ghost, as Harry’s has gone missing. This is all a part of Iggy and her friends’ fun around Halloween and what’s so unusual about that?
The black ghost bunny, Chase, like all of the other ghosts, is sworn to secrecy about where the exact location the ghosts are disappearing to is, but she does tell Iggy that they’re headed to “a big supernatural wing-ding” in “Old New Hackensack” on a mountain known as “the Devil’s Shoestring.” Iggy has Neddie and Seamus follow the bunny throughout the hotel, whistling on Oscar Meyer Weiner whistles whenever they spot the rabbit, until they eventually follow Chase to a bomb shelter with an elevator in it. Pressing the “Down” button, when the door opens, they find themselves in an entirely different plane of reality, an alternate universe where Neddie promptly gets arrested by the Labrador retriever cops I mentioned earlier in this review. Iggy, Seamus, and Big Audrey, whom they meet in New Yapyap City (where they have traveled to), have to rescue Neddie from Juvenile Hole, where they try to make children into better consumers by sitting them in front of televisions and making them watch programs with a lot of commercials in. They do this to try and brainwash them into wanting to buy the stuff advertised.
Neddie’s friends must rescue him from the Juvenile Hole before they can continue on to the Devil’s Shoestring. They now have to find Chase once again, besides locating the missing ghosts, so that they can travel back to their own world. They have no other way to return to L.A. They have adventures with the hoopies, a witch “with a million cats” who feeds children hot apple pie that changes them also into cats, and they meet and help a man who is trying to get a magical amulet of a turtle so he can use it to stop the evil magic of a council of witches. These witches have taken over power, in the guise of being advisers to the land’s ruler, Uncle.
The Yggessey is a funny, wonderful sequel to Pinkwater’s novel, The Neddiad. I highly recommend it.