22 December 2010

Day 270: Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl

Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl by Daniel Pinkwater.  ISBN: 9780547223247 (ARC - published June 7, 2010).

There are a lot of heavy duty concepts in this little YA book.  I think most authors probably wouldn't even have attempted to write this for fear of being unable to explain something like alternate planes of existence to a 10 year old.  Pinkwater not only manages this perfectly, but he does it in a way that is easily digestible and interesting.  Nor does he over explain it.  He gives us just enough information for the sake of the story and then moves on.

I have to say, I respect the hell out of someone who can do that.  Especially since he also introduces the theory of relativity, destiny, and existentialism into the mix.  As someone who has been exposed to these topics and spent a bit of time pondering them, I doubt that there is a better age than 10 to expose people to these concepts.  Who else but a 10 year old would be able to accurately picture multiple planes of existence present all at once and yet undetectable on our current plane of existence?

Really. We might actually advance these theories and produce some very fine and imaginative minds if we could introduce these concepts to people sooner.  Why wait until college level when we're already on the way to cementing our brains into neural pathways of "Conceivable" and "Inconceivable?"  Maybe if we threw concepts like this at people young enough their brains would stay elastic for longer, or at the very least be able to stretch further than those of the current generation of thinkers.

Adults aren't incapable of doing this kind of thinking, but we can't do it with the same amount of ease and freakish inspiration that young people seem to have unadulterated access to.  It's almost too bad we can't cram more information into those brains, that our current advanced sciences pretty much require decades worth of study, because if we could set those young minds on our problems I bet they would come up with some pretty fantastic solutions.  And why don't we allow these young people to solve problems?

Why do we ignore the better part of our society's brain power just because of their age?  You never know, the best idea that ever happened probably happened in the brain of an 8 year old and was lost because mommy and daddy were too busy discussing bills to encourage little Johnny or Jill to actually go out and build a battery that runs on brussels sprouts and sunshine.  And looking at the political leaders of today, I can't help but wonder if maybe it would be better to have our country run by 10 year olds.  At least then we would have an excuse for all the petty bickering, although somehow I get the feeling the Zadroga Bill would have passed much quicker under a much, much younger Senate.

My review can be found at Goodreads.
LibsNote: Free ARC was obtained at ALA 2010 from publisher's booth.

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