When shoelace heir Neddie Wentworthstein and his family take the train from Chicago to Los Angeles in the 1940s, he winds up in possession of a valuable Indian turtle artifact whose owner is supposed to be able to prevent the impending destruction of the world, but he is not sure exactly how.
Oh, Daniel Pinkwater, I love you so. I would totally run away with you (in a chaste way) to go live on an island populated by reptiles. I think if anyone else tried to do what he does with his wacky plots, it would come off as contrived and trying too hard and gimmicky. Somehow his books end up great. While going from Chicago to LA on the Super Chief in the 1940s, Neddie Wentworthstein is given a small turtle by a Navajo shaman that starts him off on a series of strange adventures involving Hollywood, the film industry, a ghost bellboy, and his military school. My favorite line was when his teenage sister refused to continue touring around LA with their parents, and declared she wasn't going to keep driving around like the Grapes of Wrath. There were some of the usual nods to the rest of the Pinkwater universe, like the fat men from outer space and the game show host Eddie Eft.
Recommended: Entertaining middle reader with boy and girl appeal, and would be a good read-aloud. Excellent for fans of turtles, and 1940s era Hollywood.
Neddie lives in Chicago, but he would really like to eat hamburgers at the Brown Derby in LA one day. He tells his dad and his dad agrees that would be cool. So on a whim the family packs up and moves to LA. On the way there an Indian shaman (who can be multiple places at once) gives Neddie a stone turtle and tells him it is really important. Neddie misses his train and goes on a crazy road trip to LA, where some creepy man tries to steal his turtle. What if Ned's turtle really is the key to saving the world from total annihilation? Throw in a ghost, some prehistoric creatures, a circus, a military school, a man with blue gums, and some alien policemen; and you have yourself a story like none I have ever read before.
This was an awesome book. It is a fun and quick read, with surprising depth. The characters are all quirky, funny, and interesting. I liked every single one of them. Billy the Ghost was great and I really enjoyed Iggy. The road trip they go on down route 66 was very interesting and really made you wish that we were still in the good ole' America of the past. Much of the book is a young boy's view of nostalgic America, and is most amusing. This book was just a riot from beginning to end. The chapters are short but compelling; making the book very hard to put down!
This is one of those books that is hard to describe. It is a mixture of adventure, nostalgia, humor, fantasy, and just all out good ole' craziness. It would be suitable to read to kids of any age and I think adults of all ages will get a kick out of it too. After I finished this book I really wished that I had the Yggyssey to read. This book completely wraps up the story but it was just so much fun I wanted more!!! I am kind of disappointed that I got it from the library because I want to keep it; so I guess I will have to buy myself a copy.
I found that the story didn't really pick up until the end of disc 2 or the beginning of 3. I found myself drifting off a lot. It does get better toward the end and there are definitely snorting moments. Good if you can make it past the beginning. Also, I think this is one where I would have enjoyed it more in its book form than the audio.