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Funnyman Pinkwater has written ""about 50"" children's books and illustrated most of them. For the past few years he's been doing short, laid-back spots on NPR. This book, sprung from the radio pieces, ""turns out,"" he says, ""to be a fragmentary autobiography."" Just don't expect the kind of facts you'd get from Current Biography; Pinkwater has more interest in relating anecdotes, or just observing through his own bemused eyes. And so, in mostly one- to three-page bits suitable for reading in the bathroom, Pinkwater muses on or recollects some odd and ordinary moments from his Chicago childhood and later Zenlike art training there, his ""instructional malnutrition"" as a college art-student, his other spells and travels here and there, and his 12 years in Hoboken, ""my spiritual home for the rest of my life""--a ""quaint"" community preoccupied with crime and politics, ""which sometimes overlap,"" and inhabited by ""da-salt-u-da-eart, with some of the highest-grade eccentrics and loonies mixed in."" Today he lives in an old farmhouse in upstate New York, where he is getting to know the crows, even though ""the guy who owned this little farm before we did had one of those psychoses in which the idea of being in America and killing everything living in the area are mixed in together."" The book is all small stuff: An entry from recent years tells of his panic on hearing a slow-talking radio guy announce an upcoming concert of music by ""Daniel...Pink...ham."" In the end, you might not know what Pinkwater's father actually did for a living...or how he met his wife...or much about his writing. But you might feel fond of this wiggy talent who has at least kept you smiling. And Pinkwater fans can have the fun of recognizing germs of his fiction here and there.

Pub Date: Nov. 21st, 1991
Page count: 175pp
Publisher: Addison-Wesley