Oscar Noodleman is the unwilling accomplice of a mad-scientist cousin in a loony attempt to win a chicken-eating contest (first prize: a million dollars). There are echoes of Daniel Pinkwater here, and the Monty Python school of humor--the cousins travel in a Picklemobile; they meet up with an adversary named Madame Gulbenkian; and the comedy comes from outrageous, comic-book exaggeration rather than witty and stylish prose. Various scientific inventions, magic charms, and coincidences play havoc with the journey of Oscar and his cousin, Professor Prechtwinkle; that they're ultimately successful won't surprise the reader very much. All in all, a loopy story, played more for laughs than logic; it would be tim to read aloud to a classroom of cabin-feverish fourth graders. Though no one will remember it for more than a couple of weeks, it'll cause torrents of amusement at the time.