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Mrs. Noodlekugel Hardcover – April 24, 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Mrs. Noodlekugel Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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

Review

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.
—Kirkus Reviews

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
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 4
  • Lexile Measure: AD580L (What's this?)
  • Series: Mrs. Noodlekugel
  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763650536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763650537
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,134,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book would have been ideal for my newly emerging readers: it has a kid-appealing story with just enough fantasy, folly, and humor (and plenty of charming black-and-white illustrations by Adam Stower) to keep a beginning reader's attention, in addition to great cover appeal (for girls, anyway.) But be aware that this book has a limited readership, given that the text is overly simplistic (quite Dick-and-Jane-ish, just in longer chapter form.) It is, in effect, a long beginning reader, when the child has mastered the basics but still needs some help.

The problem is that the publisher's info page of the book makes no mention of the ages for which it's suited. Upon further research online, it is listed for the 5 to 10 age group, but again, just be aware that this is for young beginning readers. They will likely be the only ones excited about the story. (Both my older girls tried reading the book. My nine-year-old brought it back to me after a couple of pages, declaring it a book for babies and utterly annoying. My seven-year-old persevered to the end, declaring it a cute story, but written for "little kids." She hadn't heard her sister's scorn of the book, as she was asleep the night her sister tried to read it.)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
FUN! This is classic Daniel Pinkwater with characters stating the obvious in a wry tone, absurd happenings interspersed with everyday activities, and a wild sense of fun!

The text is accessible for those on the cusp of attempting chapter books. It is also much more appealing than typical books at this reading level. I don't know if he intended this but, Pinkwater has managed to craft this story in a manner that is gender neutral. As a classroom teacher, this is something I value. Many books aimed at this audience are clearly targeted for a specific gender which limits its usefulness.

The illustrations remind me of Chris Van Duesen's work in The Circus Ship as well as the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and Mrs. Pickerell Miss Pickerell Goes to Mars of my childhood.
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Format: Hardcover
MRS. NOODLEKUGEL is a sweet and funny early chapter book, with great illustrations by Adam Stower (who also did the KEEPERS OF THE SCHOOL illustrations which I was a fan of as well). It is short - but of course, it is for little kids who are just starting to read. And the door is open for many more books featuring these fun characters.

In the tradition of MRS PIGGLE-WIGGLE and MARY POPPINS, this is a charming and delightful "magical babysitter" story.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mrs. Noodlekugel lives in a cute little house in the middle of the city surrounded by skyscrapers and is quite delighted to make the acquaintance of two children who are drawn to her house. She is a good cook, and has three blind mice as friends. Although there isn't a strong story line, this is a very cute book to read aloud to the under 6 crowd. Just the right length!
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Format: Hardcover
Reason for Reading: My son read to me as his reader. I have always enjoyed Daniel Pinkwater as an author, though I've only read a few of his books.

First as to age appropriateness. The publisher recommends this to age 5+ and that is an appropriate age as a read-aloud. I think the perfect reading level group would be 7-9. However, my struggling reader is 12 and he found the story funny, not babyish at all. This is the extreme age range though.

This is a light-hearted quick read. Mrs. Noodlekugel is more reminiscent of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle than Mary Poppins. She's not exacly magical but her world is eccentirc and filled with magical realities such as a talking/walking pet cat and mice who help bake cookies. The story is simple enough in that Nick and Maxine discover Mrs.N's house and go for a visit. The only thing troublesome is that they sneak over when their parents have expressly told them not to and the janitor shows them the secret entrance to the backyard while then promptly saying "not to tell their parents". This raised eyebrows in my son as he knows that when a grown-up says not to tell your parents, that is a bad sign and you should immediately tell your parents what that grown-up does not want you to tell. He also wasn't impressed with the children's outright disobedience. This and the parent's eventual cover-up that they tricked them into sneaking over there slightly spoiled the story for us, but otherwise we both enjoyed the tale. It was cute and silly; Mrs. NoodleKugel is a dotty, otherworldly, friendly old-lady who makes a fun babysitter.
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Format: Kindle Edition
No one does deadpan absurd better than Daniel Pinkwater. From early readers through YA high schoolers these are books for the hippest and most tuned-in of kids.

The Larry the Polar Bear books and the Irving and Muktuk books are ideal for starting readers who can follow the slightly skewed action. "The Werewolf Club" is for a slightly older crowd. You have the Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl series for even older readers, and The Education of Robert Nifkin is one of the best YA titles around.

This book falls into a middle grade category, I think. It is informed by Pinkwater's signature narrative style - an oddly formal yet whimsical approach that treats even the most unusual situations as perfectly normal and unremarkable, which has the effect of transforming the mundane, trivial and commonplace into something strange and magical. Who knew that cheerful oddness could be so refreshing and revealing?

All of this works because of the characters Pinkwater favors. Regardless of the ages all of his protagonists are capable, resourceful, unflappable and mildly bemused by events. They are armed with keen insight. They are also curious and courageous, and completely attuned to the absurdity around them. Whether it's a giant chicken, a lizard musical band, a cat-whiskered girl, or an alien hamburger stand, these heroes and heroines bravely step forward to see "what the heck this is all about".

A whole lifetime of books about embracing life, living it fully, and enjoying the experience.
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