From the Publisher
"Once again, Pinkwater combines a goofy plot, myth and fairy tale references, and an obvious affection for yesteryear Los Angeles in a supernaturally funny read."Booklist
"In this amiably goofy sequel to The Neddiad (2007), sharp-tongued Yggdrasil (Iggy) Birnbaum takes center stage . . . Iggy breaks her narrative off abruptly in the midst of the happy ending, promising a further sequel to readers who find trips into Pinkwater’s odd noggin diverting."Kirkus Reviews
"Nobody does this kind of witty confection better than Pinkwater, the original point-and-click mind."Horn Book
"Like The Neddiad, this sequel packs wacky characters, absurd plot twists and improbable outcomes—and every page offers goofy, offbeat fun . . . With his trio once again victorious, Pinkwater serves up another dose of lighthearted entertainment."Publishers Weekly
"The latest Pinkwater is nothing special, only the usual wonderful . . . There is fun all along the way . . . in short, another Pinkwater, and that is enough."New York Times Book Review
The latest Pinkwater is nothing special, only the usual wonderful…a screwy odyssey through childhood's greatest hits, including "Hansel and Gretel," "Pinocchio," "The Wind in the Willows" and quite a few others…The action is episodic, and perhaps more could have been made of the ending, but these are the tiniest of gripes. There is fun all along the way, with old hippies and odd boats, wise village idiots and skunks the size of cows, and delicious doughnuts, five for a nickel. The Yggyssey is, in short, another Pinkwater, and that is enough.
The New York Times
Like The Neddiad, this sequel packs wacky characters, absurd plot twists and improbable outcomes-and every page offers goofy, offbeat fun. The starring role this time belongs to the previously met Iggy Birnbaum, who proves a more level-headed narrator than Neddy, her predecessor, but the adventures of Iggy and her posse are just as far-fetched and comical. Iggy vows to find out why the ghosts that benignly haunt Hollywood have disappeared. After learning about a big supernatural shindig in a parallel universe, Iggy, Neddy and Seamus Finn head for the portal to that other world-and to whatever danger, mischief or world-saving awaits. As the title implies, the trio encounters an odyssey's worth of characters, among them Mama Banana and her dwarf-like, aging hippies; a feline-loving witch who seduces them with apple pie and threatens to turn them into purring, whiskered captives; and a sorrowful garlic farmer. With his trio once again victorious, Pinkwater serves up another dose of lighthearted entertainment. Ages 10-up. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Michelle Tuten
The title of this book plays on the idea of The Odyssey, much like its prequel, The Neddiad, plays on The Illiad. Like The Odyssey, this book takes the reader on a journey. Yggdrasil and her two friends notice that all of the ghosts in the haunted hotel are slowly going missing, and no one seems to know why. With help from a ghost bunny, Chase, the group finds out that the ghosts are headed to a party in another dimension. Chase cannot tell the group how to get to the party but hints that they can follow her. When the group reaches the other dimension, they end up losing Chase. The kids must find their way on their own, which leads to some interesting encounters with a cat girl, a witch, a curse, and a few other exotic characters and elements. Children will love this playful book even if it is educational. Pinkwater slips in information from various cultures like the Hispanic holiday, Day of the Dead, and the Norse World Tree, the Yggdrasil tree. The book, however, disappoints with its abrupt ending and the various elements that seem to have no purpose or that remained unresolved in the end. Despite these flaws, the book provides a happy, light read. Reviewer: Michelle Tuten
School Library Journal
In this independent sequel to The Neddiad (Houghton, 2007), Yggdrasil Birnbaum is determined to find out why all the ghosts in early 1950s Los Angeles seem to be vanishing. Iggy and her friends Neddie and Seamus, all of whom see and talk with the city's numerous ghosts on a regular basis, visit Olvera Street, Clifton's Cafeteria, and other famous spots to solve the mystery, but it takes a visit to an alternate world called Underland, filled with an assortment of curious characters, to discover what those ghosts have been up to. Pinkwater's trademark tongue-in-cheek humor is very much in evidence, as is his penchant for odd names and eccentric folks. His version of 1950s L.A., filled with aging movie stars and health-food fanatics, is authentically and delightfully kooky. The story takes a while to get going, but once these young heroes reach Underland, the action picks up, and readers will speed happily through to the goofy ending.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library
In this amiably goofy sequel to The Neddiad (2007), sharp-tongued Yggdrasil (Iggy) Birnbaum takes center stage to find out why the ghosts of Hollywood are disappearing. Though she usually considers the specters haunting the Hermione Hotel nuisances, Iggy finds cause for concern when so many turn up missing that the festive (if silent) Day of the Dead parade is visibly smaller. Learning that they're all slipping away to an otherworldly version of Hackensack, N.J., Iggy and buddies Neddy and Seamus follow. Along the way, they encounter a reckless Toad and a few other strangely familiar characters, are repeatedly warned not to piss off a witch and then do it anyway, undertake a dangerous quest for a talismanic bunny and finally help the good witch Shmenda drive off a coven of evil witches who have taken over the local government. Iggy breaks her narrative off abruptly in the midst of the happy ending, promising a further sequel to readers who find trips into Pinkwater's odd noggin diverting. (Fantasy. 11-13)
Read an Excerpt
CHAPTER ONE Room Full of Spooks
When I got home from school, my room was full of ghosts...again! They were being invisible, but I could feel the cold spots in the air.
“Did I speak to you ectoplasms about this, or did I not?” I asked the empty room.
Silence. The ghosts were dummying up.
“Rudolph Valentino! I can smell your lousy cigar!” There was a faint smell of cigar smoke, the trademark of the ghostly Valentino, so I knew he was among them. And my bedspread was rumpled. Probably they were sitting on my bed, playing cards.
“Look, you spectres—this is a young girl’s bedroom, not a club! Why do you have to hang out here all the time? You have an eight-story hotel to haunt. There’s a complete apartment reserved for your personal use. Why don’t you stay there? It’s the nicest one in the whole building.” The management had sealed off a large apartment because it was way too haunted for living guests to put up with. The hope was that if they gave the ghosts their own space they wouldn’t haunt the rest of the hotel so much. Some hope.
“We get bored,” Rudolph Valentino said. “It’s nothing but ghosts there.” “So you crowd in here so you can bore me, and stink up my room,” I said. I was mad. I really liked most of the ghosts, but a woman is entitled to some privacy. Grumbling and mumbling, the ghosts climbed out my bedroom window, made their way along the ledge, and climbed into the window of the apartment that had belonged to Valentino in 1927. I had been in the apartment lots of times. Like the ghosts, I had to climb out my window and go along the narrow ledge to get in, which was a little scary to do if you weren’t already dead.
The Hermione is not a regular hotel in the sense that people check in for a couple of nights or a week. It’s all apartments, some tiny and some quite large. People live in it for months at a stretch, or all the time. It was quite the fancy address when my father first came to Hollywood in the days of the silent movies.
You can see what a deluxe sort of place it was. It has architecture all over it. There are rough plaster walls, old-fashioned light fixtures made of hammered iron, fancy tile floors, and dark, heavy woodwork with carvings and decorations on it. There are tapestries that hang from iron things that look like spears, and a couple of suits of armor standing around. It looks like a movie set. It’s a combination of old Spanish California and the Middle Ages, with some Arabian Nights thrown in.
I have lived in the Hermione all my life. I know the old hotel from top to bottom. I have been in all of the apartments, the basement, the laundry, and the restaurant that’s been closed for years, and I know about the deserted tennis courts and the second, unused, and hidden swimming pool where the enormous turtle lives. I know things about the hotel that Mr. Glanvill, the manager, does not know. Chase, my favorite ghost, was the one who showed me where to find the master key someone had mislaid a long time ago. It opens every door in the place except the one to Valentino’s apartment where all the ghosts hang out, because the door lock is rusted solid. Chase is not the ghost of a person. She is the ghost of a black bunny rabbit. She has been sort of my own personal ghost since I was a baby. We are able to talk, which is something you can’t do with a living bunny. Chase changes size. Usually, she is bunny-size, but I have seen her get to be as large as a German shepherd dog.
Rudolph Valentino is the ghost most people would know about, because he was a big movie star in the 1920s—but the oldest ghost, and the one who should be most famous, really, is La Brea Woman. Valentino doesn’t compare to La Brea Woman for being distinguished. She is the only human whose bones have been pulled out of the La Brea Tar Pits. She lived about nine thousand years ago. She is the oldest human ever found in Southern California. Plus, she was murdered—someone knocked her on the head with a rock. We are all proud of La Brea Woman. And she’s a nice ghost. She’s shorter than I am, in her early twenties, and always has her hair in curlers and wears sunglasses with pink frames and fuzzy pink slippers. She is friendly and cheerful, and talks a blue streak in some ancient dialect that hasn’t been heard on earth in thousands of years.
I don’t know exactly how many ghosts live in the Hermione—at least a dozen, maybe more. Not all of them like to communicate—they just haunt, appear and disappear, walk the corridors—some of them moan, or cry, or make ghostly laughter. Chase is the only ghost with whom I can have a conversation. Valentino will exchange a few words with me—but that’s just his polite nature. Alsso, he may be nice to me because he knew my father in the old days.