The Krinkles are one of those innocuously, arbitrarily eccentric families more common in juvenile fiction than in life. Father Smith (his first name) pedals to work, singing opera off-key, on a bicycle equipped with an umbrella. Mother Squirrel jogs indoors in red sneakers when she's not dusting the living room gumball machine. The family pet is a sea urchin and the parents go out for ""backwards dinners,"" proceeding from ice cream to shrimp cocktail. Younger daughter Cindy, embarrassed by paper boy Roger Snooterman's disapproval of her family, is further mortified when a French student who has visited them writes an essay that is reprinted in the local paper: ""I learned [from my host family] that Americans all eat from one pot at dinner. . . . They put the peanut butter on the outside and the bread on the inside [of a sandwich]. Every night the American family gets together and screams. . . ."" Cindy's attempts to ""unweird"" her family fail; but an evening with non-weirdos shows her that other people's families can embarrass them in different ways. And when her Young Blue Jay group, on an outing, finds her family ""fantastic,"" she writes off mean Roger Snooterman and feels ""proud to be part of such a weird, but terrific family."" The Krinkles' antics may yield an occasional giggle, but they are too pointlessly and complacently silly for sustained humor.