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Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl
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Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl

4.1 8
by Daniel Pinkwater

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Big Audrey is a girl . . .
with cat’s whiskers . . .
and sort of cat’s eyes.
But, is there an other cat-whiskered, sort of cat-eyed girl?

Big Audrey waves goodbye to her friends Iggy and Neddie, Seamus, and Crazy Wig, in Los Angeles and hitches a ride with bongo-playing-while-driving Marlon Brando across the country to Poughkeepsie, New


Big Audrey is a girl . . .
with cat’s whiskers . . .
and sort of cat’s eyes.
But, is there an other cat-whiskered, sort of cat-eyed girl?

Big Audrey waves goodbye to her friends Iggy and Neddie, Seamus, and Crazy Wig, in Los Angeles and hitches a ride with bongo-playing-while-driving Marlon Brando across the country to Poughkeepsie, New York, city of mystery. She finds she has questions needing answers—and a bit of inter-plane-of-existence traveling to do.

Big Audrey and her telepathic friend Molly zigzag off on an incredibly strange and kooky adventure, and solve the mystery of the cat-whiskered doppelganger.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Well stocked with the usual oddball characters and fabulous throwaway lines ("Doughnuts are not unknown where I come from, but they are not used as food"), the book sails along in an airy and vastly entertaining way to an appropriately daffy resolution. Pinkwater is definitely on a roll—or in this case a fritter."--Kirkus

"Mixing the absurd with the profound, Pinkwater's odd narration will have even the most serious readers laughing at the chaos. As Audrey notes, "Very often when crazy people are not actively being crazy, they are less crazy than regular people who are a little bit crazy at all times."--Booklist

"Pinkwater meanders all over the place in his storytelling, weaving together nonsense and humor with bits of actual history and science. The story is fast-paced and laugh-out-loud funny, and though the ending, if it can be called that, doesn't let up on the weirdness, readers will find reasons to delight on every page."--Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly
The best thing about Pinkwater is his untamed imagination, and like those in this book's predecessors, The Neddiad and The Yggyssey, his loveable, absurd characters feel like they've been drawn straight from the minds of elementary-school children. The story picks up after the events of The Yggyssey, with narrator Big Audrey, the partly feline girl from another plane of existence first seen in that book, getting mixed up in a series of belief-defying adventures. Leaving Yggy, Neddie, and Seamus in Los Angeles, Big Audrey hitches a ride to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., with Marlon Brando (yes, that Brando), finds a job in a paranormal bookstore, befriends a pair of mental patients, and searches for clues to her past with the help of the wise Chicken Nancy and a horrific monster/puppy, the Wolluf. Pinkwater meanders all over the place in his storytelling, weaving together nonsense and humor with bits of actual history and science. The story is fast-paced and laugh-out-loud funny, and though the ending, if it can be called that, doesn't let up on the weirdness, readers will find reasons to delight on every page. Ages 10-up. (June)
Children's Literature - Susan Treadway M.Ed.
The Neddiad and The Yggyssey are companion stories to this zany tale which may or may not carry readers into worlds unknown, although visions of extraterrestrial aliens might appear. With unfettered imagination and memorable characters, Big Audrey, Yggy and the gang are in Los Angeles again, but not for long. Poughkeepsie looms large in Audrey's life as she pursues a vision quest after the famous actor Marlon Brando chauffeurs her in a signature convertible. Might working at a particularly odd bookstore be a predictor of things to come? Will a telepathic friend provide reliable insights at critical moments during their loony escapade? There are distinctive personalities with corresponding unique ways such as friend Molly who is part Dutch leprechaun. She is able to bring bloodthirsty demons out of Christmas trees. Chicken Nancy is a very old, wise local who remembers it was Abe Lincoln who thought of putting cream cheese and lox on bagels. She is the one sending the young girls on their quest for bigger and better revelations about Audrey's past. Even as Clarinda Quakenboss (proprietress of the bookstore) whips up prize-winning apple fritters, UFOs regularly make a stop every Wednesday night outside the big stone barn. Harold, quite a polished tiny giant, has a degree from Vassar in Classical Accountancy. Additional characters such as Professor Tag join forces as they pass through different dimensions to solve mysteries. Audrey and Molly lead the way to uncover surprises that in the end turn out to be not so surprising after all. For inquiring students and language buffs, splendid references are integrated throughout from classic lines, Dutch names and phrases, and expressive twists. Delightfully free of traditional constraints, a brave young girl winds her way along a personal journey which culminates in wonderful success, an enjoyable genealogical cat dance, of course. Reviewer: Susan Treadway, M.Ed.
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Big Audrey, the cat-whiskered girl who returned with Iggy, Neddie, and Seamus to their plane of existence at the end of The Yggyssey (Houghton Harcourt, 2009), takes center stage in this adventure. Wanting to see more of this plane, she sets off on a road trip across the country and ends up in Poughkeepsie, NY. Audrey mingles with the locals—a quirky cast of characters that includes a wise woman who shows her a picture of a 19th-century girl who looks exactly like her, cat-whiskers and all. Audrey is the only one convinced that she and the girl are not the same person, and solving this mystery takes her and her new friend, Molly, on another inter-dimensional adventure. Pinkwater once again exercises his trademark irreverent humor complete with puns and literary allusions. Short chapters adorned with spot art keep the story moving, and the fact that Audrey and Molly are rarely—if ever—fazed by anything that happens allows readers to breeze through this lighthearted tale that never takes itself too seriously. It is not necessary to have read the earlier titles as Audrey is the only character who makes a repeat performance. As with the first two books, the narrative rushes to a conclusion and ends somewhat abruptly with promises of future adventures. Nevertheless, it is sure to be enjoyed by fans of Pinkwater's unique talent.—Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, IL
Kirkus Reviews
Pinkwater shifts locales from Hollywood to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., for this not-exactly-a-sequel to The Yggyssey (2009), but he continues to festoon his newest determinedly errant plot with thinly disguised literary and cultural references. Considering herself just an ordinary girl who happens to have cat eyes and whiskers, Big Audrey fetches up in a town where aliens land behind a certain barn/cafe for apple fritters on Wednesdays, a mansion built by a colonial "patroon spittoon tycoon" behaves skittishly and strange but somehow familiar figures like a scary Muffin Man and recognizable Wild Things ("Hudson River trolls") wander through. Naturally (naturally!), a quest ensues to track down a terrifying spirit dubbed the Wolluf and to discover the connection between Big Audrey and a seemingly identical 19th-century lass who vanished suddenly. Well stocked with the usual oddball characters and fabulous throwaway lines ("Doughnuts are not unknown where I come from, but they are not used as food"), the book sails along in an airy and vastly entertaining way to an appropriately daffy resolution. Pinkwater is definitely on a roll-or in this case a fritter. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.70(d)
720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt


i. Explaining

It surprises me how many people don’t know there are different planes of existence. Well, it’s not really surprising that you don’t know if no one ever explained it to you, so I will do that now. Imagine that you live in a house that is all on one level: no upstairs,
no downstairs, no attic, no basement, no crawlspace underneath. You live there, and you go in and out,
and everything seems normal. Now imagine that it is really a three-story house, and you live on the second floor, with people living above you and below you . . .
but you never know it! You never see the people living above and below, you never hear them, you don’t know anything about them—and they don’t know anything about you. There are three families living in the same place, at the same time, and each family thinks they are the only one.
 It’s like that, only it’s not houses, it’s whole worlds.
And there is one other thing to imagine. Imagine the three floors of the imaginary house all squashed together,
so it’s only one story again, but the people still have no idea they are not alone. This part is tricky to imagine.
Let’s say you are in your bedroom, listening to music, lying on your bed, and bouncing a rubber ball offthe ceiling. At the same time, in the same space as your bedroom, someone you can’t see or hear is giving the dog a bath, and someone else you can’t see or hear (and the dog-bather can’t see or hear) is preparing vegetable soup.
 It gets more complicated. While you are bouncing a ball offthe ceiling, and someone else is bathing the dog, and someone else is making soup, a highway with traffic is running right through your bedroom,
or there is a herd of buffalo wandering around, or there’s a river with water and fish in it. All at once,
and all at the same time. But if you are in any of the worlds all going on at once, it looks and feels to you like there is only one.
 Now imagine this: sometimes it is possible to go from one world to another. It’s really rare, but it does happen. There you are bouncing a ball offthe ceiling,
and next thing you know you are in the middle of a herd of buffalo. Or, if you were to catch a momentary glimpse of someone from another plane of existence,
you’d probably mistake them for a ghost. I know about all this—I myself came from another plane of existence to this one.
 A skeptical person might think I was making all this up, or that I was crazy if I believed it myself. Of course, anyone can say she comes from another plane, or planet, or that her mother is the queen of Cockadoodle
(which is not a real place, as far as I know). Well, it’s true that I can’t absolutely prove I come from another plane. However, if you go to the library and get ahold of encyclopedias and National Geographics and certain books, you can find an article with pictures of a typicallooking Inuit, a typical-looking Northern European, a typical-looking Mongolian, a typical-looking Bantu,
Korean, Australian, Moroccan, and so on . . . all different types. All different in minor ways, and all similar in most ways. It is interesting. What you will not find is a picture of a girl with cat whiskers and sort of catlike eyes. That is, until they take a picture of me.

ii. Where I’m From and Where I Was

Since practically nobody even suspects there are other planes of existence, there would be no reason to name the one you live on. Besides, if the one I came from had a name, nobody on this one would have ever heard of it. I lived in a city, an ordinary city, with my uncle, Uncle Father Palabra. He’s a retired monk and a professor of mountain-climbing. I don’t remember my parents very well—they went away a long time ago.
I liked living with my uncle, and I was reasonably happy, but for some reason I developed a strong desire to travel to other places and see things. I met three kids, Yggdrasil, Neddie, and Seamus, who had managed to get offtheir plane and onto mine. We got to be friends, and when they went home, I went with them.
My name is Big Audrey.
 Yggdrasil (or Iggy), Neddie, and Seamus live in a city called Los Angeles. I stayed with them for a long time, and I even got a job in an all-night doughnut shop. Doughnuts are not unknown where I come from, but they are not used as food. I had fun working in the doughnut shop, and got to observe the many varieties of life-forms that came there, especially late at night.

iii. Where I Went

I went to Poughkeepsie, New York. I said goodbye to my friends Iggy and Neddie and Seamus, and also to Crazy Wig. Crazy Wig is a friend of theirs. He is a shaman,
which means he can see visions and knows things of a mysterious nature. The first time I met Crazy Wig,
he grabbed my head with both hands, closed his eyes,
and made odd sorts of singing noises while continuing to hold my head. Then he said, “Daughter, your destiny is not here. You must travel. You must go on a quest. You must go . . . the vision doesn’t say where,
but you have to go there.”
 A couple weeks later, Crazy Wig arranged for me to go as a passenger with this movie actor he knew, a guy by the name of Marlon Brando, who was driving his car to New York, which is all the way on the other side of the continent. I had been thinking I should see more of this plane of existence than just Los Angeles anyway, so I quit my job at the Rolling Doughnut,
threw my few belongings into a bag, and took off with Marlon in his big convertible.
 Marlon was extremely handsome, and crazier than a bat. He talked incessantly about health food and played bongo drums while driving. He drove fast, and we went nonstop. Marlon had plenty of fruit, wheat germ, and bean curd in the trunk (and also a dozen large chocolate cakes, which did not seem like health food to me), so we never stopped at restaurants—just to gas up the car. When he got tired, he’d pull over,
eat about half a chocolate cake, wash it down with carrot juice, crawl into the back seat, and sleep for a couple of hours. I’d curl up on the front seat with my coat over me. I made it almost all the way to New York City with him, but about the time we reached Poughkeepsie, I’d had all I could stand and told him I’d be staying there awhile. Marlon gave me a bottle of papaya juice, wished me the best of luck, and bongoed offin a cloud of dust. He was a nice guy, but he got on my nerves.

Chapter 1

The UFO Bookshop

I woke up in my little room behind the shop, washed,
got the big electric coffee percolator started, and got ready to open the shop. This had been my routine since I first hit town. Mr. and Mrs. Gleybner had hired me on the spot when I walked in the door, carrying my bag and my bottle of papaya juice.
 “Oh! Look, dear!” Mrs. Gleybner, who was short and round, said.
 “Oh! Yes, dear!” Mr. Gleybner, who was also short and round, said.
 “You are just the employee we have been wishing for,” Mrs. Gleybner said.
 “You will like working here,” Mr. Gleybner said.
 “Do you come from . . . a long way away?” Mrs.
Gleybner asked.
 “Yes. Los Angeles,” I said. “My name is Big Audrey.”
 Mr. and Mrs. Gleybner looked at each other.
“Los Angeles, she says.” They smiled and nodded knowingly.
 The UFO Bookshop specializes in books about flying saucers, visitors from other planets, space travel,
aliens who live among us, radio messages from space,
and secret government conspiracies to conceal the truth from the people. They also have books about the abominable snowman, Bigfoot, crop circles, the Bermuda Triangle,
mystery spots where gravity works backwards,
secret cities underneath the surface of the earth, and chickens who can foretell the future. They didn’t have any books that told about other planes of existence,
but except for that it seemed they had plenty of stuff that would appeal to intelligent people.
 The store also had a small selection of binoculars,
special notebooks with boxes printed on the pages for noting characteristics of flying saucers you’d see, pens that had a little flashlight built in, and cards with pictures of different kinds of spaceships on one side and different kinds of space beings on the other, for quick identification. There was also the Gleybner Helmet,
which was something like a colander with wire spirals sticking out of it and a chinstrap—this was to enhance the reception of telepathic brainwaves from the space people. Mr. Gleybner made them in the basement.
 Naturally, the Gleybners had assumed I was an extraterrestrial alien because of my appearance. I tried to explain, but their minds were made up. They wanted me to work for them, paid me the same as I had gotten working at the Rolling Doughnut in Los Angeles, and threw in the room in the back for me to live in. I liked the store, and I liked them. Also,
once I got started working there, I found out that Mrs.
Gleybner brought delicious homemade sweeelves in the morning, and wonderful soup for lunch. Suppertime,
they would send me to the delicatessen or the Chinese restaurant, and we would eat at the table in the back of the store.
 During the day, I would dust and vacuum, unpack books, and wait on customers, and when nothing was happening I could read. Mrs. Gleybner spent a good part of each day visiting with other shopkeepers on the street, and Mr. Gleybner would read, work at his desk, and take naps in his rocking chair. There was a store cat named Little Gray Man, and he and I got to be very good friends.
 The best thing about working in the UFO Bookshop was the customers.
 “The finest and most interesting people in all Poughkeepsie come into this shop,” Mr. Gleybner said.
 Of course, I did not know all the people in Poughkeepsie,
but the ones who came into our shop were mostly very satisfying to observe and talk with.

Meet the Author

Daniel Pinkwater lives with his wife, the illustrator and novelist Jill Pinkwater, and several dogs and cats in a very old farmhouse in New York’s Hudson River Valley.

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Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book really interested me it showed me that adults could still have an imagination and thats really important when it is a fiction book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes. Smiles.
Olivia Middleton More than 1 year ago
this is a very akward book ( creepy) wouldnt reccomend to anyone i would put a zero but i cant so they got lucky this time no offense
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I overall enjoyed the book. He did a good job desribing and not telling. The book is about a girl with cat wiskers named audrey who meets two officialy crazy people. Those the group then goes to chicken nancy who sends them on crazy adventures. Overall a delightful read though a little far fefetched.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What age is this reccomended for? Just asking couse i am nine
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not sure if I like it because.