THE WORMS OF KUKUMLIMA by Daniel Pinkwater


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A preposterous adventure on the general level of Yogorble (1979), but without that story's hilarious bits, this takes Ronald Donald Almondotter off on an African safari with his millionaire grandfather, salami-snap king Seumas Finneganstein, and Grandfather's older explorer friend Sir Charles Pelicanstein. (Past this point the silly names become easier to take.) Sir Charles' goal is to find the intelligent giant earthworms mentioned in the notes of prospector Gordon Whillikers, who disappeared somewhere near an unheard-of African site he called Kukumlima. With the aid of drivers Hassan and Ali Tabu (one competent, the other a genius for disaster), with the advice of wise man Baba Bambazuka who tells them, guru-fashion, that they can find what they are looking for only by becoming ""utterly, totally, completely and hopelessly lost,"" and with the uncomfortably pressing guidance of a huge herd of moving elephants, the party ends up in a giant crater--but a crater, be assured, that is innocent of the grandiose imagery spewed forth by the one in Keele and Pinkwater's Java Jack. There they find the lost prospector (""G. Whillikers, I presume""), a ground-covering of precious gems, and a whole society of giant talking worms who claim to be from another planet and plan to hold the humans prisoner for life. But Grandfather and Sir Charles engineer a typically Pinkwater escape, via sticky ""footblobs"" and home-made balloons, just as the volcano begins to erupt around them. It's routine Pinkwater, with none of the wonders of Lizard Music or Alan Menclelsohn or even The Last Guru, but still more inventive and nuttier than what most tale-spinners give us at their best.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1981
Publisher: Unicorn/Dutton