Author: Daniel Pinkwater
Illustrator: Adam Stower
Maxine and Nick have just recently moved into a high-rise apartment building, surrounded by . . . other high-rises. So it’s with great surprise that they discover a small, individual house set in a small, green yard nestled behind their apartment building. Some well-placed questions lead to the knowledge that the house belongs to Mrs. Noodlekugel, who may or may not be a witch, and who may or may not hate children. It also leads to their being forbidden to go to her house or bother her in any way. With an ultimatum like that, what child wouldn’t sneak out to see her? The siblings are greeted at Mrs. Noodlekugel’s porch by her talking cat . . . and the encounter gets weirder from that point.
Reading Mrs. Noodlekugel was an interesting experience for me. I first discovered (and found I loved) Daniel Pinkwater when I read Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl, which is written for a young-adult audience. Mrs. Noodlekugel is more focused on an early-elementary readership–actually, I’d consider it an easy reader–yet it is filled with the same funky, whimsical oddness and sense of fun as the other book. It’s a fun story with fun characters, and while the happenings are extremely odd and unlikely (read: impossible), the story is all relatively safe and sedate in an enjoyable fashion. The art is cute and fun also–black and white and ever-so-slightly old-fashioned, but amusing also. I would definitely recommend Mrs. Noodlekugel to children (and teachers and parents of children) who are just getting more comfortable with reading and are looking for something interesting but not too taxing. But I think it’s a cute story, even for older, more accomplished readers.