So this whole Daniel Pinkwater/New York State test thing had our family talking this weekend, though the conversation hasn’t been just about the test.

“What the heck,” my kids wanted to know “was Daniel Pinkwater doing writing about a hare and a pineapple? Everybody knows the story is supposed to be about an eggplant.”

Well, maybe not everybody, but we’ve listened to the audio of Borgel about a thousand times, and we’re very familiar with the story of the rabbit and the eggplant. That fable (among others) and the moral (among others) is one of our favorite parts of the book. My kids talk like Borgel (or at least like Pinkwater talking like Borgel.) So was it a rough draft? they wanted to know. Was he ripping himself off? What was going on?

Fortunately, we found a story where Pinkwater explained everything, including the fact that the state of New York changed his original prose.

You can hear Pinkwater’s side of the story here.

You can read the response to the story from Ken Jennings, the longest-reigning champion on Jeopardy, right here.

And you can find the test excerpt, with the corresponding test questions, here.

My kids weren’t in complete agreement about the answers, with each other or with me. (We also disagreed with Ken Jennings from Jeopardy. There was so an owl. Though not in Pinkwater’s original.)

In a planets-allign sort of thing, my son was completely unaware of Jennings until yesterday, when a friend took him to a live taping for Jeopardy Power Players week. He came home talking about a guy who had won 74 times, and suddenly, there was that same person talking about an author he knows and loves. (If there had been a Pinkwater category on Jeopardy, my son would have done pretty well. He wouldn’t have done as well naming all of the power players. Or the host. “I think his name was Alex somebody,” he said.)

Hope: All of this attention to the Pineapple and the Hare will get more people to read Borgel.

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2 Responses to Kerfuffle

  1. madelyn says:

    It DOES sound like a Pinkwater book. (We have invoked the Biology Notebook from the Snarkout Boys a bunch this year for reasons I shouldn’t mention until the school year is over…) You can listen to Borgel on Pinkwater’s web site. (Snarkout Boys, too!)

  2. Sarah P says:

    First of all, I had NO idea that the pineapple test kerfuffle related to Pinkwater…the whole incident is bit like a real-world Pinkwater book…bizarre (particularly the questions…”annoyed” or “amused”…I was amused).

    Second of all, I can’t believe I have never read Borgel!!! How did I miss that book? I was likely reading Lizard Music for the 800th time.

    Slightly unrelated thoughts: Alex and Ken are likely pod people…

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