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Lizard Music Paperback – January 29, 1996

4.7 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"No author has ever captured the great fun of being weird, growing up as a happy mutant, unfettered by convention, as well as Pinkwater has. When I was a kid, Pinkwater novels like Lizard Music...made me intensely proud to be a little off-center and weird — they taught me to woo the muse of the odd and made me the happy adult I am today.  The NYRB edition of Lizard Music is a beautiful... hardcover, a testament to Pinkwater's influence on generations of readers. It's one of those books that, in the right hands at the right time, can change your life for the better and forever."  —Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing

Lizard Music is. . . funny, properly paranoid, shot through with bad puns and sweet absurdities, and all about a baffled kid intent on tracking reality (as slippery as lizards) in a media-spooked milieu.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Wildly imaginative. . . . This is a natural high.” —Booklist (starred review)

“A writer for smart kids. . . . Pinkwater writes for, and about, people who are not ashamed to look at life a little differently.” —Kathy Ceceri, Wired.com

“I do believe that Daniel Pinkwater is my favorite writer, living or dead.” —Cory Doctorow

“Pinkwater is the uniquest. And so are his books. Each uniquer than the last . . . A delight in oddness. A magic that's not like anyone else's.” —Neil Gaiman

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Daniel Pinkwater has written about one hundred books, many of them good. Lizard Music was almost the first one he wrote, and remains his personal favorite. It is entirely his own work, and the story that it was discovered as a manuscript inserted in a bale of banana leaves, probably to increase the weight, is merely legend, and without foundation in fact.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 790L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling (January 29, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440413192
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440413196
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.3 x 5.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,445,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Victor's parents leave him and his sister alone for a week or two while they go off to get their heads and their relationship together. However, things really begin to get interesting when Victor's sister ALSO up and leaves to go with her friends on some sort of hippie camping trip! (yeah, the book is a bit dated...) Victor, then, is left alone to fend for himself for the next two weeks.
He's a bright kid, and perfectly happy NOT to have his crazy older sister or his doting parents around. He takes care of himself just fine, and one night over a TV dinner, he sees something verrrrry strange on the tube: a band of lizards playing music! What sort of program is THIS? he wonders-- it's not in the TV guide.
Giant lizards having an unreported jam session on late nite TV is just the beginning of the high weirdness, though. Soon he runs into a gentleman known as the Chicken Man because of his dancing chicken that lives under his hat (apparently he gives one-man/one-chicken shows on public busses and dispenses wisdom-- By Appointment Only-- from the depot). This Chicken Man character appears in the strangest of places and goes by some impossibly funny names and hints at Victor that he knows something about these lizards.
For a short time, the book turns into a sort of weird detective novel as Victor sets out to find out WHO the Chicken Man is, and WHAT are all these lizards doing?? Are they real?? How come no one else (including the manager of the TV station) knows anything about them?? Just what IS going on here??
Daniel Pinkwater is the author of a dozen books or so, many from the 1970's, of which almost all are still in print today ("The Hoboken Chicken Emergency", "Fat Men from Space", "The Big Orange Splot" and this title to name a few).
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Format: Paperback
Looking back at all the books I read as a kid, I fondly recall several books which did more than tell a wonderful story...they truly made me think differently about the world around me. The L'Engle books, the Dahl books, and the Pinkwater books fall into this category. But most of all, Lizard Music. It's the book that made my kid-self reorganize his brain to accomodate a world with talking lizards and lesser kudus. It's still one of my favorite books of all time.
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By A Customer on November 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is one of those books that you read, and because of its originality, it makes a lasting impression and you never forget it. I, like many other reviewers first read this book in the third or fourth grade. Our little private Catholic school got two D.M. Pinkwater books added to the library, and everybody in my class wanted to read them. I actually wanted the other, Fat Men From Space, but it was taken, so I picked up Lizard Music. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made! This book is amazing, it's funny, fascinating, and very strange. Everything from the Chicken Man to Raymond the Lizard(s), to some island made invisible because of... refraction of light... or something. (It's been a while.) Anyway, my point is, this book has made a great and long-lasting impression on me, and if you like strange and semi-eerie things, or just great fiction... this is a MUST READ!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am always struck, when reading blurbs, reviews and comments about Pinkwater books, by the emphasis on the fantasy, the absurdity, and the loopiness. Lots of authors can do that. Very few authors besides Pinkwater can do that and yet also touch moments of stunning authenticity.
Once the lizards show up in this one the book just becomes a finely amusing fantasy. But, before that, when our hero is puttering around his empty house, or working on his model, or taking a public transit bus to a neighboring town, or just generally scheming to keep his parents from getting suspicious, that is where Pinkwater shines. He creates the most self-reliant, self-possessed, competent kids in literature.
Good for him. Great for the reader.
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A Kid's Review on November 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
My dad and i together have read a lot of daniel pinkwater's stories. i found that lizard music next to the snarkout boys collection is my favorite book of his. it's imaginative and dazzling. it expresses the meaning of being a child and takes you into a new world full of odd names and lizard music.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bottom Line first;
Not my favorite Danial Pinkwater preteen novel. The lead in is as good as his best. The payoff was something of a let-down. It is a tight bit of storytelling; meaning that there is little in the way of complex plotting , and therefore not much padding. Start to finish in a brisk 157 pages. Note my copy is the hard back NY Review Children's' Edition. Absent one relatively unnecessary reference to a woman's over use of cleavage it is family friendly. This is a minor bit of satire that may have some parents re thinking this selection but over-all Lizard Music is a good choice for bed time or for the 9-12 Yr old readers. Likely boys will like it better than the girls, but mostly because the main character is a boy.

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Having just finished a classic pulp who done it, Lizard Music impressed me with Daniel Pinkwater's ability to draw you into a mystery that does not require the usual violence or high risk threats that even the old Hardy Bros, Nancy Drew mysteries tended to employ. Our hero a 12 yr old tells us the story of the previous summer when he had a few weeks, home alone. He lives in a small town near Hogboro on the shores of Lake Mishagoo. (Most of the intended readers will get these references so let's not spoil their fun) Unaccustomed to late nights and getting to indulge his taste for anchovies on his pizza, he finds himself watching very late night TV , after the end of the broadcast day. The surprise is that after the local station s, all of them sign off he can watch a very fine set of performances by a band of musical lizards.

Herein are a number of problems for the modern readers. The copyright for Lizard Music is 1976. Pre Cable. Younger readers will not know abot things like the end of the broadcast day.
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