HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Pinky Pye
Author: Eleanor Estes
Illustrator: Edward Ardizzone
Publisher: Odyssey Harcourt Young Classics, republished in 2000
ISBN-13: 978-0-15-202565-6 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-15-202559-6 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-15-202565-0 (Paperback)
Related website: www.harcourt.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 8 and up
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Estes, Eleanor. Pinky Pye (published in 1951 by Harcourt Brace and Company, 6277 Sea Harbor Dr., Orlando, FL 32887). The Pye family is back, with nine (almost ten) year old Rachel, brother Jerry who is ten, Papa who is a famous ornithologist or bird man, Mama, three (almost four) year old Uncle Bennie, cat Gracie, and very smart dog Ginger. Mr. Pye has an assignment to do a study of birds on Fire Island, so he takes the whole family with him and rents a cottage appropriately named The Eyrie from Mrs. A. A. Pulie. While there, the Pyes adopt a little black cat with one white paw whom they name Pinky. And what is amazing is that Pinky knows how to type! However, Papa’s friend Hiram Bish, another famous bird man, and his wife are sailing on the S. S. Pennsylvania near Fire Island and during a terrible storm lose their rare pet owl, one of the smallest in the world, when it is blown out of Mrs. Bish’s hands by the wind.
Meanwhile at The Eyrie on Fire Island, Pinky is earning a place in the Pyes’ hearts by boxing with Ginger, playing games with Mr. Pye, watching Uncle Bennie collect crickets and grasshoppers, and, of course, typing her meditations. Then after the storm, first Gracie, who has been sitting on the porch roof and looking at the attic window, then Rachel, and then Pinky all start watching something that is moving around in the attic of The Eyrie, but they can’t quite make out what it is. Uncle Bennie is putting his crickets and grasshoppers in the attic to sleep at night, but in the morning they’re gone and their box is poked through with holes. He thinks that maybe they are poking their way out and escaping. What is happening to them? What or who is in the attic? And what kind of meditations will Pinky type?
This delightful story, the sequel to the Newbery Medal winner Ginger Pye, was an ALA Notable Book. As the owner of several cats through the years, I can testify that the author captures the personality of a cat perfectly in her portrayal of Pinky. There is very little that might be considered objectionable—a reference to the ages of rocks when the earth broke away from the sun millions of years ago and a few instances of pipe and cigar smoking. What I like is that the Pyes are a family that, while a little quirky, really love each other and are not afraid to show that love. “Rachel’s heart swelled up with love for her father” (p. 126). The Pyes are also friends with the Moffats who are the subjects of four other children’s novels by Eleanor Estes: The Moffats, The Middle Moffat, Rufus M., and The Moffat Museum, two of which were Newbery Honor books.