Pinkwater takes his fey brand of humor into early chapter books with this story about a jolly little lady who lives in house within a circle of high-rises. Siblings Maxine and Nick discover the house and are determined to find out who lives there. Mike the janitor tells them that buildings grew up around the house—which is owned by nice, old Mrs. Noodlekugel—and that you can get there through the boiler room. Their father orders them not to go near the house. But of course they do, and soon the kids are having gingerbread cookies and tea with Mrs. Noodlekugel—and her cat, the piano-playing Mr. Fuzzface; and the mice, who serve as cookie cutters; and the gingerbread mice who seem to have a life of their own. The book is quite short, even for the genre, but it’s full of odd twists and amusing turns that will get new readers giggling. The cover art is so delicious readers will immediately pick this up and, when done, happily await the next Mrs. Noodlekugel adventure. Grades 1-3. --Ilene Cooper
Stower’s illustrations have an old-fashioned sweetness, while Pinkwater, ever the effortless storyteller, adds just enough bite with his signature deadpan, loopy humor... Pinkwater works narrative magic within the grammatical confines of the early reader format—readers should find Mrs. Noodlekugel’s world delightful and instantly familiar, and look forward to future installments.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Daniel Pinkwater does not deal in pathos but in nutty good humor, and he has pitched the gently zany tale of MRS. NOODLEKUGEL at 5- to-7-year-olds who are just getting confident with chapter books... With occasionally tricky vocabulary, such as "ventriloquist" and "sanitary," this is just the sort of book to make a young reader feel adept.
—The Wall Street Journal
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle meets Mary Poppins.
In novels and picture books we’ve seen Pinkwater in a variety of modes—absurd, satirical, anarchic, deadpan, funny-melancholy. In this offering, an early chapter book, we see yet another color in his palette: cozy... Stower’s pencil drawings perfectly echo the joyous insouciance of this benign—if surreal—backyard world.
—The Horn Book