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The Neddiad: How Neddie Took the Train, Went to Hollywood, and Saved Civilization (Neddie & Friends, #1)
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The Neddiad: How Neddie Took the Train, Went to Hollywood, and Saved Civilization

(Neddie & Friends #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,391 ratings  ·  281 reviews
The old powers try to come back, and the planet is plunged into chaos, and civilization is destroyed, and it gets all violent and evil...the old legends tell that a hero...with the sacred turtle, always...

Los Angeles, California.
Neddie Wentworthstein is the guy with the turtle.
Sandor Eucalyptus is the guy with the jellybean.
Sholmos Bunyip wants the turtle...and he'll stop
Hardcover, 307 pages
Published April 23rd 2007 by Houghton Mifflin
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,391 ratings  ·  281 reviews

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Start your review of The Neddiad: How Neddie Took the Train, Went to Hollywood, and Saved Civilization (Neddie & Friends, #1)
Jul 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, humor, kids, favorites
One of the things I really like about Pinkwater's books is that they lack an urgent plot - you never end up worrying too much about things working out, or the kid being in Mortal Peril. Instead you can enjoy the quirky details. What stands out about this book to me is that this non-urgency is brought to the foreground. The main character is entrusted with the care of a stone turtle that has been passed from shaman to shaman for a long time. The shaman that gives him the turtle is constantly rein ...more
Chris Gager
Nov 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I picked this off the local library's for sale shelf to read as I wait endlessly for Jack Vance's "Dying Earth" to arrive via inter-library loan. This is a kid's book, about on the level with "Max the Mighty." Because of this I can't give it anything more than a 3* rating, but it is fairly amusing. and will be over soon. The first 100 pages or so are taken up with a ride on the Super Chief train from Chicago to Ft. Madison, Iowa(my maternal Grandfather's home town) to La Junta, Colorado ... Trin ...more
Suanne Laqueur
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2018
One million stars. Everything I love in a book.
Daniel Pinkwater is my favourite author. He's a hilarious genius! As I'm reading his books, I laugh at how randomly bizarre things appear -- but he has a purpose for everything. He even manages to carry some of that bizarreness, be it people, places or things throughout his other books as well. Pure genius!

If you haven't read anything by Pinkwater, DO!
Aug 03, 2011 added it
I was able to conjure Daniel Pinkwater's fabulous voice over the weeks that I read this book aloud to my son - a voice like a kind uncle's - because I am so familiar with his years of NPR commentaries. The book itself is fabulous, and I mean that in both senses of the word. Pinkwater is a fabulous fabulist with an intact sense of childhood wonder and an appreciation for wild storytelling. He is Donald Barthelme for kids (if you are familiar with Barthelme, you may be put in mind of his story, "S ...more
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Buy this book now. Buy 6, 1 for you and 5 for your friends. It's that good. So enjoyable. It makes you want to be a kid again! ...more
Jul 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a delightfully silly adventure that made me laugh out loud. It sort of felt like I was reading Tom Robbins if Tom Robbins had better plots and wrote for kids. There's Melvin the Shaman, who can't keep a secret and loves bowling, several eccentric families (the protagonist's father is the owner of a shoelace company and collects the shoelaces of famous people), Billy the Bellhop, a ghost who befriends Neddie and his friends and constantly tries to smell what they're eating, Iggy, the Gir ...more
Jun 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
Daniel Pinkwater is a comic genius! In this book, Pinkwater takes the epic quest/hero's journey fantasy and turns it on its ear. It is the early fifties and Neddie Wentworthstein is moving with his family to Los Angeles. On the way he meets a shaman named Melvin, who gives him a small stone turtle, telling him not to lose it. Neddie, of course, has many adventures and encounters both friends and foes, before he is able to complete his quest. I can hardly wait to read the companion book, The Yggy ...more
I really enjoyed this book, recommended to me by my turtle-loving, 9-year-old grandson. It's unusual for a book aimed at this age group to take place in the 1940's with references to spam and the (unheard of!) cost of going to the movies. But it has adventure, odd characters, mysterious happenings, ghosts and enough silliness to keep you page-turning. ...more
Aug 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Perfectly strange and charming.
Thomas Ray
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: trivia, ahijados-own
Great attitude. Maybe for a 10-year-old.
Heidi Burkhart
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a reread for me.Actually, I listened to it on audiobook, read by the author. I am a huge fan of all of Pinkwater's books, and this zany tale was great for making me laugh throughout this fantastic book. ...more
Strange, but entertaining tall tale about a young boy's adventures and the drama surrounding a small stone turtle he is given.

Chapter 71 quote - old as creation

Turtle scene at end
Pam Saunders
Oct 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up because I liked the cover (I am so superficial) and it mentioned the main character, Ned, takes a train journey and I love train journeys. I am glad I did it as it was a quirky read.
Ned is blessed with parents who are suitably affluent, but don’t’ flaunt it, eccentric and even more fortunately love him with some benign neglect. He is thus able to explore, go on an adventure and meet a wide range of characters, maybe just a few too many. A couple of times I had that “who is
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I always enjoy Pinkwater. Cameos by some past characters, a cross country adventure via train and car, shamans, Lovecraftian creatures, tar pits, mammoths, and ghostly friends! This one is an interesting ride, and I look forward to reading the Yggyssey next. This will go onto the shelf for my kid when he gets a bit older :)
Jul 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: kids of all ages, lovers of the absurd
Recommended to Agathafrye by: Carrie
I highly recommend listening to this audiobook in the mornings while you shower. It takes a while to finish, but the satisfaction is worth the wait. My daughter doesn't like Pinkwater's voice (he sounds fat, she says), but I find it rather comforting. This is classic absurd Pinkwater: a young boy, his family, and their many canaries move from Chicago to Hollywood on a luxury train to pursue a dream of eating at the Brown Derby every day. He meets a shaman named Melvin, who gives him a tiny stone ...more
Jan 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
I love Daniel Pinkwater's children's books, particularly the Bad Bears titles (who can't love two blueberry-muffin stealing polar bears called Irving and Muktuk?) so I was intrigued by this novel-length adventure... it didn't disappoint. This is magically realistic urban fantasy told with Pinkwater's trademark oddness and charm. This tale treads some of the same ground as Neil Gaiman's American Gods and even Stephen King's Dark Tower series. Pinkwater's sparse prose perfectly captures our young ...more
Madeline O'Rourke
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Upon re-read, The Neddiad is still as delightful as I remember. It's so very whimsical and optimistic, it's kind of mocking of the chosen one trope, and it's just so fun to read. Very worthy of even more re-reads.


Look, The Neddiad won't be everyone's cup of tea. It's children's literature, so if you're after well developed characters and plots you won't find it in The Neddiad. What you will find, is a brilliantly funny and bizarre story, entirely unique and so enjoyable to read. I'll admit i
Sarah Sammis
While Pinkwater's book culminates in an epic battle involving a Lovecraftian monster, the La Brea tarpits, the World Turtle, and one very confused and young hero — there's this weirdly wonderful deconstruction of an American road narrative
Kelly Bryson
Jul 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-fiction
This book was amazing and totally deserving of the blurb that Neil Gaiman gave it- "What Pinkwater does is Magic".

On a train trip, Neddie gets separated from his loving and odd family, meets a Navajo Shaman named Melvin and is given a turtle carving. He becomes the boy with the turtle, the hero who must save the world. Neddie meets new friends like a ghostie bellhop and a lonely actor's son and together they make some mistakes and learn how to keep on keeping on, and possibly save the world. You
Sarah Sammis
Sep 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The Neddiad by Daniel Pinkwater is the first book of what's now a three book series. In my usual fashion of finding the second book first, I actually learned about the series via The Yggssey (review coming). This time though I learned from experience and found the first book and started from the beginning of the series.

Ned, the titular character, is the son of the shoelace king. On a whim they decide to move from Chicago to Hollywood. They leave by train and that's where the weirdness starts.

May 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: quests, fantastical, 7up
The first half, my preferred half, reads like a travelogue from the 50's. A good one, I mean. I've never read any real travelogues from the 50's, let alone a bad one, but still. It's great! The Grand Canyon, traveling to California by train, visiting the La Brea tar pits, eating breakfast at the Rolling Donought, and dinner in a hat!... all made really vivid and exciting. I got total wanderlust. Plus smart, witty characters. PLUS, it's one of those books with a million super short chapeters, whi ...more
Sarah S
Subtitle: How Neddie Took the Train, Went to Hollywood, and Saved Civilization.
This is a little bit of a roadtrip book, only it's on a train. It's a little bit of a friendship story, but the friends range from 10-year-olds to a shaman and a swashbuckling movie star. It's a little bit of a heroic fantasy, only it's set in Chicago, Los Angeles, and points in between. Neddie and his family take the train as they move to LA. On the way, he is given a small stone turtle by a Shaman named Melvin. A lo
Aug 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Really great young adult novel. We had the added benefit of experiencing this as an audiobook read by the author, which in my view is key to getting the whole experience. Pinkwater's delivery has a kind of matter-of-fact tone that suits his eleven (yes? I think so) year old protagonist and his friends. Also, he makes no effort whatever to make up different voices for the different characters, and you have no trouble following along.

That's all on the audiobook though. If you just read the text yo
Jun 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, magical-realism
Pinkwater is a genius. His voice is full of whimsy and wonder.

I don't believe there was a single page of this book that did not illicit at least one laugh-out-loud moment - most had several. Best of all, the comedy is not distracting from a deep sense of magic and meaning to the world. This book should be a prescription for people who are suffering from depression; it is a formula for engaged, reverent and joyful living.

Not only will this book be added to my permanent 'You Must Read' shelf
Strange, beautiful and utterly prosaic all at once, The Neddiad is classic Pinkwater.

I really love his deadpan brevity -- Pinkwater will flatly state his wonders in two pages. Or sometimes two sentences. Lesser authors would lavish entire chapters (or books) on the discovery of a wooly mammoth in Southern California in the 40s. Pinkwater says, "He was eating some grass."

This makes everything much funnier and more magical and more real at the same time.

Also, I am loving the Calef Brown illustra
Apr 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The name says it all—this book is strange, magical, hilarious, exciting and fun. It’s a madcap adventure featuring trains, a magic turtle, a ghost, a bean, the La Brea Tar Pits, a mysterious Shaman, good friends and the ultimate struggle between good and evil.

I think this is Pinkwater at the height of his powers. What I love about this book is that first, it is fun, and second, it deals with the mystical nature of reality in a big-hearted, honest, and matter-of-fact way that is totally refreshi
Kate Alleman
Apr 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adventure, junior
This book is a delightful mix of Indian folklore, Hollywood actors, friendly ghosts, and a few only slighty scary villians. The story begins with Neddie and his family moving from Chicago to Hollywood. Neddie meets some new friends and is given a stone turtle on the train to Hollywood. The turtle is important, but why? With the help of some new friends, Neddie get into one heck of an adventure.

The characters were charming and would fit right into a Wes Anderson film.

Read a-likes:
The Mysterious
Ms. Verbon
Nov 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Looking for something a little bit quirky? If so, this is the book for you. Meet and travel with Neddie across the U.S. in an adventure filled with mysticism.

Pinkwater unusual style is refreshing. You feel a comfort and can identify easily with the main character, Neddie. It almost reads like a conversation between friends. The twist of characters and how he inserts ancient rituals into the plot really draws the reader into this unique story of an exaggerated reality.
Aug 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Sadly, this book is not as good as Daniel Pinkwater's "The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death" (which is probably one of my favorite all time YA/kids novels, and easily in my top ten favorite of ALL books). It IS delightfully weird, though, and completely Pinkwater-ian.

Highly recommended for kids who have a taste for funny, odd, and bizarre novels. (Also recommended for adults who like funny, odd, and bizarre YA novels.)
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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

Other books in the series

Neddie & Friends (3 books)
  • The Yggyssey: How Iggy Wondered What Happened to All the Ghosts, Found Out Where TheyWent, and Went There
  • Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl

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