277. Mrs. Noodlekugel by Daniel Pinkwater
US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)
Finished: Oct. 17, 2012
First Published: Apr. 24, 2012
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: children, early chapter book, humour, fantasy
First sentence: "A tall building, with one apartment stacked on top of another - that is where Nick and Maxine came to live with their parents."
Publisher's Summary: "Nick and Maxine live in a tall building with one apartment on top of another. So when they look out their window and see a little house they never knew was there, of course they must visit (especially when their parents tell them not to!). Going through the boiler room, they're amazed to find to a secret backyard with a garden, a porch, and a statue of a cat. And they're even more amazed when that cat starts to talk. . . . Welcome to the world of Mrs. Noodlekugel, where felines converse and serve cookies and tea, vision-impaired mice join the party (but may put crumbs up their noses), and children in search of funny adventures are drawn by the warm smell of gingerbread and the promise of magical surprises."
Acquired: Received a review copy from the publisher, Candlewick Press.
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 but 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.