Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Lizard Music” as Want to Read:
Lizard Music
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Lizard Music

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  1,963 ratings  ·  227 reviews
When left to take care of himself, a young boy becomes involved with a community of intelligent lizards who tell him of a little known invasion from outer space.
Paperback, 136 pages
Published January 29th 1996 by Yearling Books (first published 1976)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Lizard Music, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Giyogiyo I think absolutely everyone wears watches, even lizards) Because they can complement your image and make you even more stylish.
I personally prefer wea…more
I think absolutely everyone wears watches, even lizards) Because they can complement your image and make you even more stylish.
I personally prefer wearing Richard Mille watches, which you can learn more about at
This watch has an indescribable aura of wealth and luxury and looks simply stunning. With such a watch, you can win the attention of a passer-by, a boss and even a girl you like.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,963 ratings  ·  227 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Lizard Music
Nov 08, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ten year olds, Reynold
Recommended to carol. by: Beth
Though I enjoyed this book, you should probably know that Mr. Pinkwater occasionally reads his reviews and is prone to instructing those reviewers he does not find 'favorable.' Here's the goodreads review page:
and here's my blog page with his comments:

I originally rated this book 4 stars, but in good conscience, such bad, personally directed behavior merits a downrating, because I can never look at this book again
Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
You have not actually lived until you have read this book, in part because the Chicken Man is a necessary and essential guru for true life, and in part because you must learn to find the Lizard Music that is permeating the airwaves all around you when you stay up too late at night, but most of all because truly living most definitely involves absorbing the worldview of Daniel Manus Pinkwater. If you disagree, but cannot articulate why, then you are, I am sorry to say, existing in a soulless void ...more
Erica Ravenclaw
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
The Five Books That Made Me Fall In Love With Reading: #2


Alright so that's a little dramatic, I suppose but it has a grain of truth. I am in my last year of my twenties, and I've come to realize that we are only gifted with a certain amount of vivid childhood memories. I'm speaking specifically of textural memory that swirls into your vision, and floods your senses. I was in third grade and was a student of Mrs. Wright. She was a short and plump Mexican woman
Diana Welsch
Mar 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 10-year old boys
I received this book as a birthday or Christmas gift from my parents when I was a child. We lived in kind of an isolated area, and I couldn't get to the library whenever I wanted, so needless to say I read this book a LOT. I got kind of obsessed with it around 5th grade, not just for the great story, but because I thought the rockin' lizards on the cover were TOTALLY BADASSSSSS!

Lizard Music is a hilarious adventure about a young teenager who is left alone when his parents go out of town. His fri
Brian Kelley
Instead of a current YA novel I reached back to 1976 to find a novel to read and review: Daniel Pinkwater's Lizard Music. My first impression is that the book captures the groovy "anything is possible vibe" of the 1970s. I was 8 years-old in 1976 and playing with my Evil Knievel Stunt Bike while Steve Jobs was busy launching Apple. The Concord flew, an Oil Crisis emerged, and Jimmy Carter became the President. Lizard Music doesn't mention any of it, but the whole feel of the novel was very nosta ...more
This is a hoot, but probably only to those who remember the times: Walter Cronkite on a B&W TV & stations that went off the air after the late movie around 1am or so. It's more of a mood piece filled with Easter eggs. It doesn't really go anywhere, but it was fun & appealed to a young me. Now it just brings back some memories. ...more
Nov 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, after four decades it's pretty dated. Walter Cronkite, and no TV overnight, and the kid doesn't order pizza until his third or fourth night on his own. But do take note; those details reveal aspects of the boy's character and culture. Don't update the book, whatever you do!

Original cover, the one I chose to review, much cooler than the more popular one with the blue sofa and the lizards coming out of the TV.

Anyway, fun adventure, with 'easter eggs' galore (which how could a pre-internet chil
I am not sure why, but when looking through the Children’s Department of a bookstore a couple of years ago, I decided I wanted to read this book. Perhaps it caught my attention because when I saw it, it had been newly published in a gorgeous jacket featuring a black and white hand-cut woodblock picture with red binding tape as part of the New York Review Children’s Collection. I didn’t act on my wish to read it and gift it to a nephew until a friend recently revealed he, too, read children’s boo ...more
As a kid this one didn't click with me the way his other books did. I was a diehard fan (and still am) of THE LAST GURU and ALAN MENDELSSOHN, BOY FROM MARS. It seemed like anyone who read Pinkwater, though, was all about LIZARD MUSIC and had never heard of the others. I read it, and again, it was fine.

Now I've read it aloud to my kids. My kids didn't know who Walter Kronkite was. They've never seen, let alone eaten, a TV dinner. But they laughed and laughed. Yes, I had to stop and explain about
Nick Fagerlund
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LIZARD MUSIC, y'all. I was feeling an urge to re-read, and I'd been drooling over the NYRB's recent maximum class edition with the geometric lizard cover, so I found a copy of that at Powell's.

It's always hard to decide which part of this book to explain to people, so maybe just a cluster of thoughtlets is in order.

* When I read this for the first time (age what, 11?), it seemed subversive as hell. It's about a young kid in a modern milieu navigating the world on his own, caring for himself, doi
Nicholaus Patnaude
Aug 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Lizard Music is a bit of an off-the-radar legend for writers of the fantastic (Neil Gaiman, fr instance, has been heard singing its praises). Its a quick, funny, and surreal read with a voice of a young boy that is spot-on accurate. Lizard Music has the whimsy of books like Stine's Goosebumps, but it is far less formulaic and, somehow, more dangerous despite having less macabre themes--unless of course you consider the thinly-veiled yet predominant theme of insanity. There is an eerie sense of p ...more
Fuzzy Gerdes
Feb 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I've read Lizard Music a couple of times before, and seen the stage version that Lifeline Theater did in 1997. This time I was listening to an audio version, read by the author, which you can download for free from A friend, recalling some of Daniel Pinkwater's NPR appearances, said that to listen to his voice for two and a half hours might kill her. And it's true that it's a gravely voice. But I just get so caught up in Victor's adventures alone in a thinly-disguised Chicago. The ...more
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
This book starts out simple enough. A young boy named Victor from a semi-dysfunctional family, left at home without any supervision. So when musical lizards show up on TV after hours, a mystery begins to unfold. It involves a strange man with a chicken under his hat and late night horror films. Victor can't say what it all means, but he's gonna find out.

My daughter enjoyed reading this together with me before bed. It's a a wonderful Pinkwater tale. One where the story takes on dreamlike qualitie
Nicola Mansfield
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic book of magical realism. I've only read a couple of Pinkwater's books but really enjoyed them. This one has the same type of theme of a fantastical tale taking place in the ordinary mundane world. All sorts of wondrous things happen that I began to find myself waiting for the "it-was-all-a-dream" ending but no, these fanciful events are real as far as anyone is concerned. The plot is pure silliness but so full of incidents that I couldn't begin to explain the plot. Let's just say you ...more
Trixie Fontaine
Mar 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I *adored* this book . . . felt like it was my entre into a world that totally made sense to me that nobody else I knew would "get". I'd love to read it again as an adult to try to see what it was that I loved SO MUCH. It was just bizarre and magnificent.

Update: I reread this last month and was thoroughly transported and reminded of so much I'd forgotten, and who I am and what I love. Lizard bands broadcasting on the tv late at night!!! Communiques only understood by chickens!!! Being rushed up
Natalie Dee
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
What I remember most about this book was that I was OBSESSED with it in the second grade. It was like nothing I had ever read and inspired me to write stories and even though I had access to a library of books, I also kept rereading it.
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book for a book report in fifth grade, after getting into a car accident that put my mother in the hospital and left me solely in the care of my dad, and spent the past 9 years pretty solidly convinced that it was just some weird daydream I made up to deal with whatever that was. cut to a few months ago, when I was going through pictures from elementary school and found a picture of 10-year-old me with some kind of styrofoam volcano with a wooden egg at the top, asked my mom somethin ...more
Hollie Ruthless
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-aloud
This book is a total intro to nonsensical books. I feel like many kids books have to make sense, even if they are based in fantasy, but this book is just so off the wall and that makes it SO enjoyable. I've definitely read too many adult books, because I kept waiting for something explosive and evil to happen, but it's just a weird little story. There are some questionable statements about other races and sexes, etc. that make it obvious that this book is not written in modern times, but it's no ...more
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookclub
It was about a boy trying to figure out why he keeps seeing lizards and what they are and where they are. I liked them trying to go to where the lizards live. It was fantastic. (age 7)
Jun 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The kids agreed that that was good in parts but a bit of a letdown at the end. Alan Mendelsohn was better.
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bottom Line first;
Not my favorite Danial Pinkwater preteen novel. The lead in is as good as his best. The payoff was something of a let-down. It is a tight bit of storytelling; meaning that there is little in the way of complex plotting , and therefore not much padding. Start to finish in a brisk 157 pages. Note my copy is the hard back NY Review Children's' Edition. Absent one relatively unnecessary reference to a woman's over use of cleavage it is family friendly. This is a minor bit of satire
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I began to think I had dreamed this book; I remember seeing one of those Public Television shows that talked about books in the hope of getting kids to read. At the time I would have been about 14, and I remember thinking it didn't sound very interesting.

I was right.

When I ran across it lately, I was surprised to see Daniel Pinkwater was the author. I had never heard of him until the 1990s; he was repeatedly mentioned on the old "Car Talk" radio show. Apparently he was a friend of the Tappet Br
Sep 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Tween boys.
Shelves: favorites
Warning: this rating and review based on severe nostalgia.

One of my all-time favorite young adult books. Weird, funny and creepy all at the same time. Victor the first-person protagonist is an incredibly identifiable character. My favorite moment is when he becomes so overwhelmed with his discovery of the lizards, The Chicken Man and the pod people, his mixture of fear, excitement, and his love of the beautiful lesser kudu he saw at the zoo that he weeps uncontrollably. Pinkwater's wandering ima
Nathaniel Hardman
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was one weird book. In classic Pinkwater style, it's bizzare and outrageous, and there are moments where it's truly hilarious. It isn't always laugh-out-loud funny, but it's always amuzing. Pinkwater has this unique comedic voice that he uses - it's hard to describe exactly, but part of it is that he presents all the madness in a very matter-of-fact way. For example, the main character ends up in this secret city of super-intelligent lizards, and in the city he finds a fountain: "In the mid ...more
Mar 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: chi-fantasy
A re-release form the late 70s.

I am not sure if kids today will have any idea who Walter Cronkite is but aside from that and a little dated language this book is basically an acid trip of a fantasy for kids.

Made me think back to being a kid in the 70s and realizing that there was a general surreal cultural component that permeated life, even in the burbs. I mean the Electric Company was a little crazy, no? This is like that with talking, lizard jazz musicians.
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reading-to-kids
I loved this book as a kid; it's the reason I choose Grape Soda anytime I get a chance.

I ordered a copy for the boys and couldn't resist re-visiting it. The absurd world of Daniel Pinkwater was waiting for me like a comfortable cocoon. As Victor works to unravel the mystery of the Lizards that he's seeing on TV, he encounters the Chicken Man in all his various guises, questions his sanity and has fun adventures.

Can't wait for my boys to read it!
Feb 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf-fantasy
A late night TV show leads a bored young boy on a quest that starts in the city and ends on a magic island.
Starts out with a cool magic in the city vibe and then gets seriously odd at the three quarters mark and feels a bit jarring.
Half of a really good book, then it just gets weird for weirds sake and isn't as much fun.
Apr 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vintage-gems
Mr. Pinkwater may not do it for everybody, but he sure does it for me. (In hindsight, this wasn't the best book to read while recovering from surgery, because I kept laughing. Hard.) I wish I would have discovered Pinkwater when I was younger, as I think it really could have inspired me to be more creative. He's just so quirky and different! ...more
Jennifer Nix
Oct 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book in 6th grade... A long time ago, and I loved it. Found it on the shelf of the library at the school where I teach, and have read it often to my students. They love it too. It's a great 70s flashback, and a intriguing and hilarious story. ...more
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
Ridiculously clever. Ridiculously ridiculous.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death (Snarkout Boys, #1)
  • The Hoboken Chicken Emergency
  • The Snarkout Boys and the Baconburg Horror (Snarkout Boys, #2)
  • Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars
  • Looking for Bobowicz: A Hoboken Chicken Story
  • Yobgorgle, Mystery Monster of Lake Ontario
  • Borgel
  • The Last Guru
  • 4: Fantastic Novels
  • 5 Novels: Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars / Slaves of Spiegel / The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death / The Last Guru / Young Adult Novel
  • Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl
  • Bushman Lives!
  • Fat Men from Space
  • The Yggyssey: How Iggy Wondered What Happened to All the Ghosts, Found Out Where TheyWent, and Went There
  • The Neddiad: How Neddie Took the Train, Went to Hollywood, and Saved Civilization (Neddie & Friends, #1)
  • The Big Orange Splot
  • The Worms of Kukumlima
  • Chicago Days/Hoboken Nights
See similar books…

Related Articles

What will you do when it's your turn to pick your book club's next read? Well, this is what you won't do: panic. Why not? Because we've dug...
79 likes · 17 comments
“Chickens have an uncanny sense of direction.” 12 likes
More quotes…