The archetypal babysitter introduced in Mrs. Noodlekugel (2012) takes a quartet of farsighted mice to the oculist for an exam in this equally offbeat second chapter.
As Pinkwater fans know to expect, the plot zigzags from one wild twist to the next. On the bus, Mrs. Noodlekugel and her loquacious cat, Mr. Fuzzface, regale enthralled young human charges Nick and Maxine with exploits from her previous career as a railroad engineer. Rising to the challenge of testing four mice who can’t read, the doctor cheerfully whips out a unique eye chart. Then, new eyeglasses merit a celebratory stop at Dirty Sally’s Lunchroom, where the waiter is a monkey and the sugar rush caused by the cheesecake touches off a chase that culminates in an astonishing family reunion. Printed in short, well-spaced lines of easily visible type with much room for spot art (finished illustrations not seen), the outing offers plenty of action, easy yuks and characters—from the visually challenged mice to Mrs. Noodlekugel herself, who plainly carries literary DNA from Mary Poppins, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and perhaps Pippi Longstocking too—who will seem familiar to young audiences.
A savory episode for noodle—er, newly independent or struggling readers. (Fantasy. 8-10)