B Is for Beer

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Overview

A Children's Book About Beer?

Yes, believe it or not—but B Is for Beer is also a book for adults, and bear in mind that it's the work of maverick bestselling novelist Tom Robbins, inter-nationally known for his ability to both seriously illuminate and comically entertain.

nce upon a time (right about now) there was a planet (how about this one?) whose inhabitants consumed thirty-six billion gallons of beer each year (it's a fact, you can Google...

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B Is for Beer

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Overview

A Children's Book About Beer?

Yes, believe it or not—but B Is for Beer is also a book for adults, and bear in mind that it's the work of maverick bestselling novelist Tom Robbins, inter-nationally known for his ability to both seriously illuminate and comically entertain.

nce upon a time (right about now) there was a planet (how about this one?) whose inhabitants consumed thirty-six billion gallons of beer each year (it's a fact, you can Google it). Among those affected, each in his or her own way, by all the bubbles, burps, and foam, was a smart, wide-eyed, adventurous kindergartner named Gracie; her distracted mommy; her insensitive dad; her non-conformist uncle; and a magical, butt-kicking intruder from a world within our world.

Populated by the aforementioned characters—and as charming as it may be subversive—B Is for Beer involves readers, young and old, in a surprising, far-reaching investigation into the limits of reality, the transformative powers of children, and, of course, the ultimate meaning of a tall, cold brewski.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In his "children's book for grown-ups"/"grown-up book for children," Robbins (Even Cowgirls Get the Blues) takes readers on a whimsical tour of all things beer, written in the language of a bedtime story. Factoids about everything from how beer is made to the number of gallons of beer sold globally each year (36 billion) are woven into this story about six-year-old Gracie Perkel, who craves time with her beer-guzzling Uncle Moe. When Moe disappoints Gracie, she reaches for a drink and is visited by the Beer Fairy, who flies her through the "Seam" and offers an education about life and, of course, beer. The drive to inform the reader about malt and hops is sometimes relentless, and the language can be frustratingly dumbed-down ("If you're unfamiliar with the word podiatrist, you're not alone. Fortunately for Gracie [and now for you], Uncle Moe was quick to define podiatrist as a doctor who investigates and treats disorders of the feet. A foot specialist"). Still, the premise and execution of this unique book lends itself to moments of real humor. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
New York Post
“…whimsical, absurdist.”
Denver Post
“Kids at heart, and anyone bemused by Robbins’ previous novels, will guzzle down Robbins’ latest brew.”
The Barnes & Noble Review
Here is the story of beer, as told by Tom Robbins -- a man dedicated to the playful exercise of free will, ribaldry, and the phantasmagoric -- for a young audience. Go on, guffaw; Robbins would approve. Here, as well, is a beer story, one that artfully gnaws upon the truth of that "elixir so gassy with blue-collar cheer, so regal with glints of gold, so titillating with potential mischief." Those words come from Uncle Moe, radical trickster graybeard relative and guide to Gracie Perkel, kindergartener, who seeks to understand why adults quaff the bitter stuff. The setting is one Robbins knows and draws so well: Seattle, where at 6 p.m. in October the "stars are striking wet matches in an attempt to mark a path through the gloom," where the constant drizzle erases the fine line between this world and that other, parallel one. Moe takes Gracie to that fine line, then the Beer Fairy -- an iconoclastic, dragonfly-size, wisecracking Old Soul straight out of Flatbush -- assumes her charge; together they slip through the Seam to the other side, there to mull upon the riddle of beer without parental interference. A brewing lesson follows -- barley to malt to mash to wort, add yeast (freelance alchemist) for fermentation ("where the rabbit jumps out of the hat") -- spun with the same pizzazz that Moe laid out beer's history: "The Egyptians could have invented lemonade -- but they chose to invent beer instead." Trust Robbins's fairy to sing the joys of beer, a vehicle capable of providing a rapturous peek at the Mystery, the old "hi de ho." But alcohol is notoriously unreliable transport, he cautions: the mean get meaner, dumb dumber, alcoholism may lurk, drunk driving kills. And if Robbins wraps up this sweet entertainment in too giddyap a fashion, as if he had been dawdling, whereas dawdling is much of the message, thank him for giving kids a life-saving/life-giving beer manual, one they'll likely actually read. --Peter Lewis
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061719080
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/21/2009
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 2 CDs, 2 hrs.
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 5.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom Robbins

Tom Robbins is the author of eight novels. When not roaming, he lives in the Seattle, Washington, area.

Biography

So much mythology swirls around Pacific Northwest novelist Tom Robbins that sorting fact from fiction is a daunting challenge. Born Thomas Eugene Robbins in 1936 in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, he was raised from age 11 on in a suburb near Richmond, Virginia. He attended Washington and Lee University but did not graduate. Instead, he quit college and spent a year hitchhiking, settling for a while in New York City.

Robbins enlisted in the Air Force in 1957, just one step ahead of the draft, and served three years in Korea. Upon discharge, he moved back to Virginia to attend art school at Richmond Professional Institute (now Virginia Commonwealth University), graduating in 1961. During this time he worked as a copy editor for the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

According to Robbins, the South's hidebound racism -- perfectly mirrored in the newspaper's policy -- prompted him to move as far away from Richmond as possible "while still remaining in the continental United States." He ended up in Seattle in the early 1960s, enrolled in the University of Washington to pursue his Masters, and went to work for the Seattle Times. If we are to believe the story, it was around this time that he first sampled LSD (not yet an illegal substance). Blown away by the experience, he chucked both grad school and his job at the paper and spent the rest of the decade bouncing between the East and West Coasts -- writing, working as a DJ in alternative radio, and partaking liberally of the countercultural smorgasbord of the day.

Towards the end of the '60s, Robbins began working seriously at his writing, culminating in 1971 with the publication of his first novel, the comic absurdist tale Another Roadside Attraction. A failure in hardcover, it nevertheless sold well as a paperback, prompting publishers to release his next book -- 1976's Even Cowgirls Get the Blues -- in both formats simultaneously. Although he has not been a hit with most mainstream critics, Robbins has achieved rarified cult status with successive generations of 20-somethings who adore his goofy, upbeat satirical fiction. He claims to never read reviews but is pleased to have enjoyed a steady string of bestsellers starting with Still Life with Woodpecker in 1980. In 2005, he produced Wild Ducks Flying Backward, a volume of shorter works, including poems, stories, essays, articles, and reviews.

Rumor has it that Robbins polishes each sentence to perfection before moving on to the next. Whether or not that's true, he does admit to being a slow writer -- and to needing a long period of rest and recuperation (usually involving travel to some exotic place) in between books. All of which explains why his output is surprisingly slender, especially for a writer who inspires such passionate, fanatical devotion!

Good To Know

Here are some fun facts (and perhaps some fun fiction, as well!) about Tom Robbins:

  • An accomplished artist, Robbins is one of only a handful of writers to have cover design built into their book contracts.
  • When Elvis Presley died of an overdose in his bathroom on August 16, 1977, there was rumored to be a copy of Another Roadside Attraction on the floor beside him.
  • While working as a journalist and DJ in Washington state, Robbins attended a 1967 Doors concert in Seattle. He claims that the origins of his unique writing style can be found in that piece.
  • Robbins has enjoyed friendships with a group of widely people, from '60s countercultural icons like Alan Ginsberg and Timothy Leary to mythologist Joseph Campbell (with whom he once traveled to South America.
  • Robbins has appeared in several films, including Made in Heaven, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, Breakfast of Champions, and Gus Van Sant's 1993 adaptation of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.
  • Read More Show Less
      1. Hometown:
        LaConner, Washington
      1. Date of Birth:
        July 22, 1936
      2. Place of Birth:
        Blowing Rock, North Carolina

    Customer Reviews

    Average Rating 4
    ( 38 )
    Rating Distribution

    5 Star

    (14)

    4 Star

    (12)

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    (7)

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    (2)

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    (3)

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    See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
    • Posted October 26, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      Tom Robbins Strikes Again!

      This book is a wonderful little bit of Tom Robbins. It is exactly as the cover implies - A Children's Book for Grownups/ A Grownup's Book for Children. It is a comical tale of a little girl, who wonders why adults like beer so much. She embarks upon a journey with the Beer Fairy to learn all about it - including why too much is a bad thing. In the tradition of a good fairy tale - it has a happy ending! As usual, Mr. Robbins has a way of being profound in a humorous manner. This is a child's length book, and can easily be enjoyed, start to finish, in a day.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted April 13, 2014

      A work of unadulterated whimsy

      Only the mind if Tom Robbins could make this work. A must read for fans.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted June 21, 2013

      Tom Robbins Humor Strikes Again

      A quick and fun read for anyone who enjoys precocious children or beer. Filled with fun "facts" that will send you scurrying to Wikipedia to see if by chance they are true, Tom Robbins' descriptions are always unique. "Do you know about drizzle, that thin, soft rain that could be mistaken for a mean case of witch measles? Seattle is the world headquarters of drizzle, and in autumn it leaves a damp gray rash on everything, as though the city were a baby that had been left too long in a wet diaper and then rolled in newspaper." How does he think of this stuff? Robbins' books always have passages that make me laugh out loud.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted January 26, 2013

      Nursery

      Twilightstar

      0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted January 7, 2013

      Bererrdgcjffyftc

      .....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted March 12, 2012

      WOW

      11th commeent!

      0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted July 30, 2011

      more from this reviewer

      Gather 'round and you shall hear a quirky tale of a girl and beer.

      This was a fun, quick read that was better than I had expected having not been familiar with the author.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted February 8, 2011

      it is a great book

      i love how it is funny and it taught me many things

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    • Posted February 21, 2010

      more from this reviewer

      Not Worth It

      If there was ever a Tom Robbins book to skip - this is the one.

      0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted January 4, 2010

      more from this reviewer

      Well worth the price of a six-pack of micro-brew

      Educational, fun, inspirational, and a great way to bond with children over what used to be a white or pink elephant nightmare of a subject. Hooray for Tom Robbins and THANK YOU for writing this book. Bottoms up!

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted July 19, 2009

      Easy reading and fun for all who want a quick book to read.

      The cover states it is a children's book for grown ups and a grown up book for children. That sums it up entirely. Simple enough for anyone to read, this book had me interested from cover to cover. As a beer lover, this was a fun story to read based around beer. The main character, 6 year old Gracie, was fun to follow in her "Christmas Carol" like journey through the times and around the world discovering the mystery of beer. Although I would not recommend this book to small children in general, I would encourage it for those that are questioning their parents' love for beer. All in all it was a good book. Tom Robbins is my favorite author and although this book was more censored than his normal writing style, it was still entertaining.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted June 29, 2009

      For kids at heart!

      I loved this book! As a kid at heart, I loved the storytelling, as an adult I loved the story. Fun, funny and even a little poignant.

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    • Posted June 20, 2009

      Another Tom robbins original

      This is a fun and insightful message about not just beer and drinking, but about society and the choices we make. Maybe intended for kids but great for adults. I think that preteens and teenagers should read this book. Quirky and fun.

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    • Posted June 16, 2009

      You don't have to be a fan

      If you either love Tom Robbins, have a sense of humor or are just not politically correct, you should like this book. If you have never read anything by the author, this short book is a great introduction to his style. It is a blend of story lines similiar to some of his other books with a simple fairy tale theme. You can also see that he is in touch with a small child's pysche and concerns. Some of his paragraphs will have you laughing till tears are running down your face. I recently became a grandfather for the first time and bought this for my Granddaughter. It was very appropriate as my daughter loves Tom Robbins, my son-in-law likes beer, and they both have a sense of humor. Not sure if I would actually read it to a small child but then, it would depend on the child I suppose.

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    • Posted April 10, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      This book is for you readers, who enjoy an ultra lighthearted fantasy filled with amusing factoids

      Six years old Gracie Perkel looks forward to spending time with her Uncle Moe as her parents are never there for her while he tries to give her time; especially after he has had a six pack. Moe is the king of beer drinkers. However, this time Moe fails Gracie, leaving her depressed with a need to drink away her loneliness just like adults do. --------------------

      When she goes for a drink, the Beer Fairy visits her and offers to teach about life especially the importance of beer. So begins Gracie swim in the suds realm.------------

      Written like a children's fairy tale, B IS FOR BEER is an odd, often humorous look at beer through the eyes of an elementary school kid. The irreverent story is set from the beginning when Gracie asks her mom what is that stuff that looks like pee-pee that her dad drinks especially while watching sports. This book is for you readers, who enjoy an ultra lighthearted fantasy filled with amusing factoids, will toast Tom Robbins with a six pack.----------

      Harriet Klausner

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      Posted January 18, 2010

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      Posted May 8, 2013

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      Posted December 31, 2011

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      Posted May 20, 2009

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      Posted January 16, 2011

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    See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews

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