Mrs. Noodlekugel and Drooly the Bear

illus. by Adam Stower. 96p. ebook available. Candlewick. May 2015. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780763666453.
K-Gr 2—Fans of Mrs. Noodlekugel's delightfully wacky and whimsical world will rejoice in Pinkwater's newest offering. The latest installment welcomes new characters Drooly Bear along with Captain Noodlekugel, Mrs. Noodlekugel's "mister" who is usually "lost at sea." During a rare stint on land, the captain treks home and declares that he has given up a life on the water in the hopes of becoming an animal trainer. Young neighbors Nick and Maxine spend a whole four days in Mrs. Noodlekugel's care—their father is competing in the speed-knitting world championship and their mother is going along—and they tag along with the captain as he attempts to train Drooly. Antics and hilarity ensue as readers follow Nick, Maxine, and the captain on their journey to train the bear, all the while grappling with Drooly nodding off and wandering away during training. Readers should know that the captain acquired Drooly (along with a canoe) from an "Inuit fellow" while shipwrecked on a piece of flotsam. The Inuit man takes a great liking to the captain and explains that he is poor and has difficulty feeding the bear, who also fights with his husky dogs. The inclusion of this unfortunately stereotyped character is both odd and unnecessary. Readers encounter the Inuit man only in this brief scene. After trading the bear to the captain for a "Mexican dollar," a gold watch, and a fish, the Inuit man paddles away on a piece of driftwood.
VERDICT Pinkwater presents another silly glimpse into the world of Mrs. Noodlekugel and her talking cats and mice, but here's hoping the archaic stereotypes get lost at sea in the next installment.

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