“All my books were easy to write — doesn’t it show?”
~ Daniel Pinkwater
How could I not like Daniel Pinkwater?
Whenever I see his name I smile. I was thinking how this is a strange, conditioned response. I don’t know how or why it happens. Sure, he’s written around 100 books. And to be honest, it’s not like I’ve read dozens and dozens of them. I’ve read maybe ten. But they got to me. So much so, that whenever I see his name on a book, I put my Ugawawa mocassins on the wrong feet, step slightly to the left of center, and shift into giggle-and-snort mode. I just know it’s going to be good.
Hello. How could I not like a man who writes about polar bears and blueberry muffins?
So far, there are five titles in the Irving and Muktuk, Bad Bears, picture book series (ages 5-8). Trust me. This 9-foot tall pair with slitty, sneaky side eyes and galompo feet will have you rooting for them after the first page. Their main crime? Well, they do cheat each other at cards. But mostly they are motivated by the quest for muffins and more muffins, which results in questionable behavior, like, um, stealing.
In the first book, Irving and Muktuk: Two Bad Bears (Houghton Mifflin, 2001), we are introduced to the arctic town of Yellowtooth, which holds a Blueberry Muffin Festival every New Year. After Officer Bunny sees the bears trying to break into the muffin warehouse, he lures them into his station wagon, and has them airlifted by helicopter far above the Arctic Circle. The following New Year, the duo returns to Yellowtooth disguised as very large penguins. They are airlifted again and return three more times with different disguises, until Officer Bunny finally makes arrangements to have them relocated to the Bayonne Zoo.