Saturday, June 23, 2012


Nick and Maxine move into a new apartment with their parents. When they spot an old-fashioned house out the window, they have to visit. There they find Mrs. Noodlekugel, a kindly old woman with a talking cat, friendly mice, and superior baking skills. This is the whimsical premise to Daniel Pinkwater's Mrs. Noodlekugel.

This story is cheerful and sweet, evoking memories of other children's classics like Amelia Bedelia, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and even a little Hansel and Gretel minus the witchy component. The description of her house reminded me of Miss Honey's house in Roald Dahl's Matilda. Overall, this is a warm almost-fairytale. Nick and Maxine are sneaky only in that they go to visit Mrs. Noodlekugel when they're told not to and their parents exist in the background of the story. It's all about the magical world Mrs. Noodlekugel inhabits.

The dialogue in this story, if read aloud, sounds very stunted and weird: "She is nice," Maxine said. "We know she is nice." It's not the meatiest, most scintillating conversation. That being said, this is a beginning chapter book for early readers, and the repetition is useful. Read the same word enough times and you will learn it!

I love the illustrations drawn by Adam Stower. Although I felt the book could have ended less abruptly, Mrs. Noodlekugel and Four Blind Mice is slated for 2013. I'd give this to kids who are beyond Biscuit but still not quite ready for longer books.

This book was published by Candlewick Press and is available now.

Ex libris,


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