Looking for a great audio book for your summer road trip? Something that the kids will dig and so you will, too? Daniel Pinkwater, creator of some of the best-drawn geek characters in children’s literature, offers free downloads of some of his older books, including the classic Lizard Music.
GeekDad’s Kathy Ceceri has spotlighted Pinkwater before as a writer for smart kids. He sure is. Pinkwater himself may or may not be a geek, it’s hard to tell. But he sure knows how to write about them and for them. And when he reads the stories aloud they get even better. My kids went through a period of listening to him reading one of his books every night. He’s a great reader and the madcap stories are full of the details, crazy characters and strange exclamations that my boys love. Hearing them shout “Hey, Chicken Man!”* was certainly an all-time geek dad highlight.
Best of all, some of these audiobooks were free. Pinkwater has very generously created an audio archive at Pinkwater.com. Here you can download recordings of him reading a bunch of his shorter books, including I Was A Second-Grade Werewolf and two kid novels, Lizard Music and The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death.
If your kids—or you—want more, let me recommend the audiobook version of a more recent book, The Neddiad. It’s not free, but is available from audible.com. If you grew up on Pinkwater back in the day, you’ll be glad to know he hasn’t lost the touch. Or, if you’d like to stock up on a few actual books, you’ll find that the very affordable collections “4 Fantastic Novels” and “5 Novels” are stocked with geek heroes aplenty.
*If you’ve read about the Chicken Man before, here’s your chance to see the real-life inspiration.