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Uncle Boris in the Yukon and Other Shaggy Dog Stories Hardcover – Deckle Edge, November 6, 2001


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

inkwater, author of children's books (The Hoboken Chicken Emergency; Lizard Music) and a commentator on NPR's All Things Considered, delivers a witty rumination on his experiences with dogs. Uncle Boris, one of the many colorful and dysfunctional adults of Pinkwater's childhood, gave his parents a Pekingese named Bobby shortly before the author's birth. Uncle Boris made a living selling fake purebreds and assured Pinkwater's father that "a dog lik dis is all deh rage in deh best parts of Brooklyn." Bobby's sole redeeming feature was that he appointed himself the new baby's guardian, thus protecting Pinkwater from his "precivilized" parents. Also featured here are other family pets, such as the asthmatic terrier Bootsie and Pedro the psychotic parrot. After Pinkwater married, he and his wife Jill (who has illustrated a number of Pinkwater's books) began acquiring malamutes; as a result of the training challenges that ensued, they established themselves as experts who taught people "how to better enjoy dogs." They published what they learned in the 1977 book, Superpuppy, but even this latest volume contains a few tricks of the trade. From anecdotes about an aging wolf named Matilda to reflections on how dogs have shown him "a lot about how it's possible to live this life," Pinkwater's light and extremely entertaining read will please animal lovers of all stripes. Drawings by the author.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Is it any wonder that an author known for his comic and outrageously imaginative children's books would write about his experiences with man's best friend in an unconventional, albeit engaging, way? Pinkwater here remembers all the dogs that have passed through his life, from the shaggy Pekinese given to his family by Uncle Boris (who supposedly encountered Jack London in the tailor shop that Pinkwater's father once owned in Warsaw) and Stan the Irish setter, acquired without his father's knowledge, to Juno, the Alaskan malamute that Pinkwater bought after he was smitten by the sight of two large sled dogs in Manhattan, and Arnold, the puppy. Pinkwater does not intend this as a how-to-train book; he covered that base in Superpuppy, aimed at children, after reading hundreds of training manuals and deciding that much of what had been written about canines had no foundation in reality. The reader must decide how much of this humorous and creative reminiscence is fact and how much is fiction. Sure to be popular where dog books and the author's other works are enjoyed, this is recommended for larger public libraries and young adult collections. Edell M. Schaefer, Brookfield P.L., WI
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (November 6, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684856328
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684856322
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #798,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Daniel Pinkwater lives with his wife, the illustrator and novelist Jill Pinkwater, and several dogs and cats in a very old farmhouse in New York's Hudson River Valley.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 12 customer reviews
This book is charming and hilarious.
N. Forrester
This collection of stories about family, dogs, and the bonds that make life worthwhile contains much of the Pinkwater magic and whimsy.
Joseph D Baptist
I ended up reading this book one chapter at a time before bedtime, and each night I'd go to sleep with a smile.
Howard Weinstein (author of "PUPPY KISSES ARE GOOD FOR THE SOUL & Other Important Lessons You & Your Dog Can Teach Other")

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Susan G. Hamilton on November 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Former professional dog trainer, author, humorist, and commentator on National Public Radio, Daniel Pinkwater introduces the tale of his Uncle Boris, a small time hoodlum from Warsaw, Poland, as a jumping off point about the author's life-long relationship with dogs. According to Pinkwater, Uncle Boris left Europe to pan for gold in the Yukon. During those long stretches away from civilization, Uncle Boris' only companions were his team of malamutes, especially his lead dog Jake, with whom he would carry on two-way conversations in Yiddish. Unsuccessful in his hunt for gold, and later a talking dog act, Boris ends up settling in Brooklyn, New York. A life long dog fancier, "making a profitable side line of faking and selling purebreds", he brings to his brother a sort of Pekingese. When the newborn Daniel arrives on the scene, Bobby, appoints himself the infant's guardian, protecting him from being eaten during that period of his life when Pinkwater described himself as resembling a meatloaf. According to Pinkwater, Bobby "and the other dogs, taught me what I needed to know about becoming a human being."
Uncle Boris in the Yukon and Other Shaggy Dog Stories is devoted to the accounts, both hilarious and poignant, of Pinkwater's journey to and through adulthood, and the critters that have shared and shaped his life and outlook: the dogs he and wife Jill have owned, among them three Alaskan malamutes and an Akita cross, as well as the hundreds they encountered as professional obedience instructors; also Matilda the Wolf and an Inuit Sled Dog named Puggiq, described as the happiest being ever encountered. Currently the Pinkwaters share their home with Maxine, an aging Labrador retriever and Lulu, a five year old Inuit Sled Dog.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christina Birdsong on December 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Anyone who knows Daniel Manus Pinkwater's work is destined to buy this book for the sheer pleasure of carefully digesting every syllable he writes, as always. In this autobiographical book he bears his huge soul, his comical side (that we all know and love) and his uncanny, campy, unusual way of looking at the world, all as it relates to his many relationships with Canines.
Buy it! You will not be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joseph D Baptist on December 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This collection of stories about family, dogs, and the bonds that make life worthwhile contains much of the Pinkwater magic and whimsy. As a long time Pinkwater reader and fan, I feel like this time he's not telling a story, but simply sharing his life - one friend to another.
My dog, Gracie, also recommends this one as a "dog & person" snuggle read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Pawl VINE VOICE on January 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
For those of you unfamiliar with the works of the great author, Daniel Pinkwater, this book is definitely a great introduction to his warm wit, insight and great personality (it can't help but pop off of the page). This book is really a Valentine to all of the dogs that have come and gone in Pinkwater's life. This starts all the way back during his formative years, as a young boy, when his Uncle Boris gave his family a "purebred" Pekignese, up until his acquired Matilda, his elderly wolf hound, when he was already married to his wife, Jill Pinkwater (also a wonderfully talented writer).

Though I haven't read this book in two years, the material is still fresh in my memory. Not ony did these dogs teach Pinkwater how to be a better master, but also brought him some wonderful life lessons, through his companionship with them. I feel that he really had dog lovers in mind, when he penned this book of short stories, but it definitely will appeal to people who have never even owned a pet dog. The stories are so engaging, funny and (even) tender.

I definitely reccomend this....five bones out of five......
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Karen K. Hart VINE VOICE on April 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book was not quite what I expected when I bought it. My first thought when I saw it on the shelf was, "Oh, a new Daniel Pinkwater novel! I better get that." About halfway through the first story, though, I began to be suspicious. "This isn't a novel. . .or is it? Is he kidding, or is he serious? Is this nonfiction?" This is one of the great things about Daniel Pinkwater--he keeps you on your toes, always trying to guess what is next to come. By the time I'd finished the book, I'd learned some neat dog-training tips (in case I should ever need them). I'd laughed guiltily and hysterically at the idea of a parrot being frightened to death by the misconception that it was being cooked, and I'd thought a lot about how funny life can be. This book is good for reading over one long sitting or for digesting one anecdote at a time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By N. Forrester on October 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is charming and hilarious. I have given it to many, many people, all dog lovers. The first half is about his childhood and crazy relatives, and the second half is about his experiences (with his wife) training dogs. He is wonderful at describing the dogs personalities. The illustrations, by his wife, are delightful.
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