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The Agony and the Eggplant: Daniel Pinkwater's Heroic Struggles in the Name of YA Literature
     

The Agony and the Eggplant: Daniel Pinkwater's Heroic Struggles in the Name of YA Literature

by Walter Hogan
 
The Agony and the Eggplant is the first book-length study of author, illustrator, and radio personality, Daniel Pinkwater. Pinkwater began writing and illustrating children's books in 1970 and has been a prolific author for three decades. He has written over 70 books altogether: more than fifty picture books, a dozen books for middle-grade or intermediate readers,

Overview

The Agony and the Eggplant is the first book-length study of author, illustrator, and radio personality, Daniel Pinkwater. Pinkwater began writing and illustrating children's books in 1970 and has been a prolific author for three decades. He has written over 70 books altogether: more than fifty picture books, a dozen books for middle-grade or intermediate readers, half a dozen books for adolescents, an adult novel, and several books of nonfiction. Pinkwater is a humorist, and many of his stories involve science fiction or fantasy themes. He is often compared with Douglas Adams and Kurt Vonnegut; his style is often likened to Monty Python and Mad magazine. Pinkwater's fiction has often been described as "wacky" and "zany;" The Agony and the Eggplant will go beyond those cliches to place Pinkwater as a classical satirist, an American humorist, and a master of children's literature. Sprinkled with quotes and observations from Pinkwater, Hogan gives us a highly entertaining look at the man responsible for some of the most unique young adult fiction on the market.

Editorial Reviews

Library Review
If you like or collect Pinkwater, Hogan's book is for you.
Catholic Library World
As entertaining as the works of this tongue-in-cheek-author...This title should be in all secondary libraries, as should Pinkwater's philosophy, "Think for yourself, educate yourself, form you own opinions, and don't let the 'experts' tell you what when or how to think."
The Book Report
Any high school student who must do a report on an author, will find this book an engaging and enjoyable resource. Highly recommended.
VOYA
This text contains in-depth analysis of Pinkwater's laudable body of work, focusing particularly on his young adult novels but also commenting on his picture books and intermediate chapter books. Biographical information is included but contains some Pinkwater-signature slippery truths. The bottom line seems to be that immersing oneself in Pinkwater is somewhat like attending a philosophy lecture taught by Woody Allen, Voltaire, and the Three Stooges. Innumerable artistic and literary allusions—some too obscure for the intended audience—underlie much of the wit and kooky humor. "It is our duty to correct anyone so ignorant as to allude to any of these master's gifts to civilization as a 'zany romp...' They are classically molded exemplars of that venerable genre, the Menippean satire, as any educated person should recognize." Hogan's writing wavers between humorous idol worship and scholarly haughtiness. The struggles mentioned in the title are unclear—possibly publisher pressure to turn out picture books instead of young adult novels or his artistic finesse with consistently successful humor. So what is the audience for this book? Ironically, the best potential use might be in young adult literature classes at the educational institutions of which Pinkwater is so critical. Loyal fans will relish the detailed examination of their favorites and will find themselves laughing at footnotes. Creative high school teachers—that Pinkwater would approve of—could use the book to enrich discussion of humorous literature, satire, fantasy, or science fiction, but will they? Similarly ironic is the very idea of a textbook analyzing Pinkwater's work to the point at which it isno longer enjoyable—just as poetry is ruined for too many students—when the philosophical core of most of his books is free thought, self-education, and finding your own happiness. This rare funny and fascinating book will force its few readers to track down more Pinkwater than their nearest library holds. Index. Biblio. Chronology. 2001, Scarecrow, 176p. PLB $26.95. Ages Adult. Reviewer: Elaine McGuire
School Library Journal
Hogan does an admirable job of getting behind the humor, zany remarks, and fabrications of Pinkwater. He includes sufficient biographical information, but the most important part of the book is the evaluation/criticism of his subject's work. Subtitle and series name aside, the various chapters follow Pinkwater's career from writing picture books to young adult novels. Quotations from him on various aspects of his writing are interspersed as Hogan skillfully combines critical comments and allows the creativity and genius of his subject to shine forth. The bibliography includes the author's work chronologically and by genre, as well as secondary sources, Web sites, and reviews. This well-researched and well-footnoted volume offers librarians new insight into this popular author's work. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Hogan, a librarian who teaches at Eastern Michigan U., discusses the books of author, illustrator, and radio personality Daniel Pinkwater. The emphasis is on Pinkwater's young adult fiction, including , and . Hogan's text is interspersed with quotes and observations from Pinkwater. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810839946
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
03/21/2001
Series:
Studies in Young Adult Literature Series , #5
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.82(h) x 0.77(d)

Meet the Author

Walter Hogan is Associate Professor and Librarian at Eastern Michigan University.

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