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The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death (Snarkout Boys, #1)
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The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death (The Snarkout Boys #1)

4.36  ·  Rating Details ·  749 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
Walter and Winston set out to rescue the inventor of the Alligatron, a computer developed from an avocado which is the world's last defense against the space-realtors.
Paperback, 151 pages
Published March 1st 1983 by Signet (first published January 1st 1982)
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Ariana It's an expression that is sometimes used when a story gets to the point where it's so ridiculous that you can't even suspend your disbelief. It came…moreIt's an expression that is sometimes used when a story gets to the point where it's so ridiculous that you can't even suspend your disbelief. It came from an episode of Happy Days where Fonzie jumped over a shark on waterskis that, to many viewers, was the beginning of the end and that the show kept on getting worse from there on out.(less)

Community Reviews

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Apr 14, 2008 Jenne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, favorites
I thought about it, and I decided this is my book that, if you don't like it, you are dead to me.
Feb 25, 2010 j rated it really liked it
Recommended to j by: Sauk School library
This book was written in the early '80s. The following are among the long list of giveaways:

1) The word "retarded" appears twice on the same page.
2) The narrator's science teacher is casually anti-Semitic.
3) In order to find out what movies are playing, the characters need to use a newspaper.
4) One of the movies they go to see is Song of the South, which as far as Disney is concerned ceased to exist around 1984.
5) The main characters, young high school kids, all smoke.
6) Inside of theaters and r
Apr 15, 2008 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a children's book in the same way that Rocky & Bullwinkle was a children's TV show, which is to say, not really. But if you're in the mood for a book about biology notebooks, late night movies, speeches in the park, disappearing uncles, Chinese butlers named Heinz, Commonists, rubber doughnuts, singing chickens, space realtors, wrestling orangutans (don't let them get your feet!), evil masterminded criminal who torture people by making them watch German movies, and - above all - avoc ...more
Jun 24, 2012 Scott rated it it was amazing
My favorite book of all time...I read it at least once a year.

As Jenne has stated in her review (best book review I've ever seen by the way)..."I thought about it, and I decided this is my book that, if you don't like it, you are dead to me." and I couldn't agree with Jenne more.

There is no book in the world that has had a greater impact on who I am than this book, no book that has given me greater joy and laughter than this book, no book that I have recommended to more people than this book.

Jun 08, 2014 Saul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
Like many Pinkwater books, it starts off weird and gets weirder as you read on. The story: Walter Galt and Winston Bongo, they're two regular boys (sort of) who sneak out of their homes to watch late night movies. What could go wrong? They soon meet a girl, Bently Saunders Harrison Mathews (nicknamed Rat), who's introduces them to her uncle Flipping Hades Terwilliger, after which things steadily go off course.

From my perspective, the characters are great. Full of surprises, just reading their na
Matthew Tremmel
Dec 25, 2014 Matthew Tremmel rated it it was amazing
I think I already reviewed this once, but here goes again. Pinkwater tells such a unique story in such a uniquely quirky way, that no junior high student can resist. This is when I fell in love with this book, back when I was in Junior High and after rediscovering it about 10 years ago still come back to it every few years. This book informed, in part, my sense of humor, my love of the silly, and the appreciation of a dry sense of humor. This book is about two boys who sneak out of their houses ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 30, 2010 Karissa rated it really liked it
After reading "The Neddiad" and "The Iggyssey" and enjoying them both immensely I decided I needed to read some more Daniel Pinkwater. So I picked up this book. It was an enjoyable book; I liked it. If you like Pinkwater's writing, you'll like this book. I did notice though after reading three of Pinkwater's book; he has a very distinctive writing style.

Walter and Winston Bongo are two boys who are bored to death in school and decide to Snark Out. Snarking out means that you sneak out of the hou
Apr 05, 2011 Kevin rated it it was amazing
Not just any writer excels at a zany tone. But Pinkwater, who I have been remiss in avoiding until well into my sorry adulthood, is possibly the equal of my long-time favorite Douglas Adams. "Young Adult Novel", the first story of Pinkwater's I've read, was like nothing else I've read: a unique, slightly twisted story from a more than slightly twisted mind.

"The Avocado of Death" is more conventional; uh oh, hey, "conventional" was too good a word there, because the book is in part a comic riff o
Rachel Smalter Hall
When you're a kid, it's comforting to know there are grown ups writing books about radioactive stone fruit and gangs of villainous orangutans. I'm so thankful for this novel about three smartypants 15 year olds, bored out of their gourds in their crummy high school, who invent a sport called "Snarking Out" to save their sanity. Walter, Winston, and Rat "Snark Out" in the wee hours of the night to explore their metropolis of Baconburg and watch B movies at a seedy downtown theater. After a series ...more
Fuzzy Gerdes
Aug 16, 2010 Fuzzy Gerdes rated it it was amazing
I've read Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death several times, and once drove up to Chicago (before I lived here) to see Lifeline Theatre's stage adaptation—it's one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors. This last time through I was listening to the audio version, available free from It's read by Daniel Pinkwater himself, which one of my friends remarked would drive her crazy. It's true that Pinkwater has a fairly gruff and distinctive voice. YMMV.

The story is a cl
Apr 22, 2011 Dave rated it it was amazing
I loved Pinkwater as a kid and I reread him from time to time. This is probably my favorite. Pinkwater inevitably creates great characters with great names (not unlike Dickens), and fabulous sounding restaurants that don't exist but you wish they did. The tension is mild at most, the parents are a bit square and out of touch but in a benign way. He does all a great service by making nerds cool.

Of course he is nowhere near Dickens, but he is similar also in that sometimes his endings don't quite
May 03, 2016 Ariana rated it really liked it
There are many reasons I love this book, and just a few that I don't. I love the pages about their lame-ass school, Snarking Out, Blueberry Park, Captain Shep and his singing chicken, fun establishments like Beanbender's, Bignose's, and Ed and Fred's Red Hots, and meeting new people like Rat. They sparkle off the page and make you want to be part of the party.

What I didn't like was the end. Finding a giant intelligent avocado was not a very compelling motivation for the characters, and none of
Plumbdrumz 7
Dec 28, 2014 Plumbdrumz 7 rated it it was amazing
Daniel Pinkwater's writing style really drew me in to this story and it was a great read. Everywhere their adventures take them there are always really good descriptions of the setting and i felt like was right inside the story. This book is like no other. Just plain and simple, its extremely quirky and has a unique charm. If you look at the cover...yes the book is just as crazy as the cover might suggest. There are some parts of the book that are genuinely funny too. Overall a really fun, great ...more
Jun 14, 2012 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
The first of the Snarkout Boys books. I was introduced to these in my early 20's by a friend, but sincerely wish I'd had them to read as a teenager. I began by reading them aloud in her basement room in the house we rented with two other roommates while she cleaned and went through her closet. And I fell in love. I wish I'd been young enough to "Snark Out" but being an adult living on my own and not in my parents home I guarantee it wouldn't have been as fun. Good fun stories! I have been a fan ...more
Jun 07, 2012 Nick rated it really liked it
In this YA novel, the hero and his buddy Winston Bongo sneak out at night to watch old movies in a local theatre -- snarking out. This unprepossessing beginning leads, of course, to performing chickens, intergalactic super-sleuths, and the Mighty Gorilla, amongst other marvels. Good Pinkwater fun.
Feb 02, 2008 Ketija rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Weird - it's like reading a children's book, where the adults have occupied the kids bodies + now I have a weird sensation of wanting an avocado eclair. As I said - weird, but in a good way. Very easy to read. Being an artist I found my dream resting place- town of Beanbernder's. ;)
+ it makes me realize how boring and non-productive my childhood was. Dang it!!!
Lori Anderson
May 12, 2015 Lori Anderson rated it liked it
Shelves: for-zack
Parts were hysterical, but then got ruined with story lines ramming abruptly into brick walls and chapters ending abruptly I flipped back a page to make sure I hadn't missed something.

The best part was a character's name -- Flipping Hades Terwilliger -- which sounds like something I'd yell after stabbing my toe.
Mary Ellen
Dec 18, 2010 Mary Ellen rated it it was amazing
This book is a delight. I love that Pinkwater treats his young protagonists as thinking, reasoning people. His wordplay is snort-worthy, the story was quirky and fun, and the characters made me wish I lived in Winston, Walt, and Rat's world. PLEASE, Mr. Pinkwater, please write another Snarkout Boys book. Two books are not enough.
Shervyn Von hoerl
I love this book

Daniel Manus Pinkwater is one of the greatest writers of children's literature. And this is arguably my favourite of his books. I read it for the first time when I was 12 or 13 and have been re-reading it periodically for the better part of 30 years. Do yourself a favour and grab a copy, snuggle down and get ready to laugh yourself sore.
Mar 03, 2008 Summer added it
I read this book so many times when I was in elementary school that they told me I needed to expand my horizons. :) It made such an impression on me that I've been trying to find the book again for the last couple of the years. I just want to remember what was so great about it.
Aug 21, 2007 Zab rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young and/or quirky adults
Shelves: outinleftfield
They don't come any quirkier than Pinkwater, and this book in particular is a masterpiece whose protagonists escape teen ennui by entering a wierdly wonderful universe of obscure pop culture parody, urban planning insights, and lots of really goofy humor.
Lynn Buschhoff
Apr 29, 2013 Lynn Buschhoff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ellen Rosenthal
This is a young adult book, but like Don Adam's Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, it has enough wit to make me laugh out loud. Of course i read it when I was inmy late30's, but I still remember that the villains tortured people by making the watch German comedies.
Feb 01, 2017 Amy rated it really liked it
I have read this book probably 15 times since I discovered it in middle school. This time, Age read it aloud to my belly. It was, if anything, more perfect than ever. What a weird, delightful book. One of the most perfect ending paragraphs I have ever read.
Flukeman Carnahan
Mar 27, 2014 Flukeman Carnahan rated it it was amazing
Revisiting cherished artworks from one's youth is usually a bit of a letdown; fortunately Daniel Pinkwater is a bizarre and subversive genius. I've read this maybe a dozen times and it only gets better.
Apr 07, 2012 Darryl rated it liked it
This was a fun little book. But I felt like it might have been developed with a mad-lib generator. It throws together a lot of silly little things. But it also makes me want to sneak out and explore the city at night.
Oct 27, 2012 Anne rated it really liked it
Shelves: youth-mg-ya
This was one of my favorite books as a young kid. Everything about it, title down, was perfect for the aspiring pre-teen uber-geek. Reading it now just takes me right back there, which is great, and awkward.
Apr 24, 2012 Sara rated it really liked it
I gave this book 4 stars based mainly on my remembrances of it as a child. I loved this book and read it multiple times while growing up. I think it needs a rereading as an adult, to decide if my love of it was accurate.
Right up there with The Egypt Game for seductive portraits of childhood independence (but Pinkwater is much sunnier). If I'd gotten to spend my childhood going to Beanbender's and The Snark, I never would've grown up.
Dec 21, 2009 Joe rated it liked it
Starts strong, ends weak. However, it was my 8-year-old son's favorite book of 2009. Note: there is a tiny mention of sex in the story, which you can choose not to read aloud without spoiling the plot.
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Daniel Manus Pinkwater is an author of mostly children's books and is an occasional commentator on National Public Radio. He attended Bard College. Well-known books include Lizard Music, The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death, Fat Men from Space, Borgel, and the picture book The Big Orange Splot. Pinkwater has also illustrated many of his books in the past, although for more recent works that ...more
More about Daniel Pinkwater...

Other Books in the Series

The Snarkout Boys (2 books)
  • The Snarkout Boys and the Baconburg Horror (Snarkout Boys, #2)

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“I changed his name after I saw this old movie at the Snark. It's called Nosferatu, and it's the original Dracula story. It's ten times as scary as the version you see on television. The guy who plays the vampire is really bizarre.” 0 likes
“The thing about Laurel and Hardy movies that you can't get from the chopped-up versions on television is how beautiful they are. Things happen exactly at the moment they have to happen. They don't happen a second too soon or too late. You can even predict what's going to happen—and it does happen—and it surprises you anyway. It doesn't surprise you because it happened, but because it happened so perfectly.” 0 likes
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