I was going to review just one of the 4 Fantastic Novels (Borgel), but discovered that it is not in print except in this collection.
That actually works out well, because at least three of this collection are fantastic. The other, The Snarkout Boys and the Baconburg Horror is not one of my favorite Pinkwater books (I have many favorites.)
One of which, The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death probably set me up to be disappointed by The Baconburg Horror.
His picture books are often wonderful, too. There's frequently a silliness that just makes me laugh.
Aunt Lulu, for example. Or Author's Day. Uncle Melvin.
But like I said...
Borgel is somewhat vague about his origins when he appears and... would have two or three glasses of coffee. They served it in thick, barrel-shaped glasses. Uncle Borgel would put a lot of milk in his coffee and stir it with a spoon. He would also eat a rhinoceros roll. A rhinoceros roll is an ordinary hard roll. In some places they call them kaiser rolls, or kimmelwicks, or stale-o's. At the Star Spangled Banner All-American Cafeteria they called them rhinoceros rolls.
When we went to the Star Spangled Banner All-American Cafeteria we would usually meet Uncle Borgel's friend Mr. Raspelnootzpiki.
Mr. Raspelnootzpiki was also very old. He claimed to be even older than Uncle Borgel but Borgel said he was probably not even a hundred yet. When they met at the cafeteria they would speak in some strange language. It was unlike anything I had ever heard. It sounded as though they were clearing their throats, but they were communicating.
I asked Uncle Borgel a trick question, hoping to get a clue about where he had come from: "Is the language you speak with Mr. Raspelnootzpiki the language you spoke in the Old Country?"
"No. Mr. Raspelnootzpiki doesn't come from my Old Country."
"Is his Old Country anywhere near yours?" I was still hoping to get some information I could use. I could look up Mr. Raspelnootzpiki's Old Country in an atlas and see what countries were nearby.
"His country was next door to mine."
I was really getting somewhere.
"What is the name of Mr. Raspelnootzpiki's Old Country?" I asked.
Uncle Borgel made a sound. At first I thought he was preparing to spit, something he did better than anybody, but I realized he was saying the name of Mr. Raspelnootzpiki's Old Country.
"How do you spell it?"
"Yes. How do you spell it in English?"
"You can't spell it in English."
And anyway, he goes on to ...
a rendezvous with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books, almost.
If you like funny, this is a nice collection. My favorite of the four may be The Worms of Kukumlima, but I don't have a copy nearby to review. Sorry.