Cover image for Pinky Pye
Title:
Pinky Pye
Author:
Estes, Eleanor, 1906-1988.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Diego : Harcourt, 2000.

©1951
Physical Description:
258 pages, : illustrations ; 20 cm
Summary:
While spending a bird-watching summer on Fire Island, the Pye family acquires a small black kitten that can use a typewriter.
General Note:
"An Odyssey/Harcourt young classic."
Language:
English
Reading Level:
890 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.9 9.0 43410.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 5.1 13 Quiz: 22247 Guided reading level: NR.
ISBN:
9780152025595

9780152025656
Format :
Book

Available:*

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Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

In Pinky Pye, the Pye family adds another member. A furious black kitten abandoned on their doorstep endears itself to the whole family--even Ginger--and foreshadows another addition to the Pye family that will change their lives forever.


Author Notes

Eleanor Estes was born in West Haven, Connecticut on May 9, 1906. She graduated from the Pratt Institute Library School and worked as a children's librarian in branches of the New York Public Library system. Her first book, The Moffats, was published in 1941. Her other works include The Hundred Dresses and Ginger Pye, which won a John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished children's book in 1952. She also wrote a single adult novel entitled The Echoing Green. She died of complications following a stroke on July 15, 1988 at the age of 82.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Excerpts

Excerpts

1 THE PYES WITHOUT PINKY One day, guess who was standing on a little wharf in a town on Long Island waiting for a boat to carry them across the Great South Bay to another island named Fire Island. The Moffats? No. They never went away from Cranbury. The Pyes? Right. Ordinarily the Pyes never went away from Cranbury either, except for Papa, who was a renowned ornithologist and accustomed to travel in places near, faraway, and even dangerous. How did it happen then that all the Pyes--​Mr. and Mrs. Pye, Jerry age ten, Rachel age nine, their small Uncle Bennie age three, their year-old smart dog Ginger, and Gracie, their eleven-year-old smart cat--​amidst piles of luggage and parcels with strings hanging loose, signs of a long and wearying trip, were standing here on this briny-smelling wharf instead of being in their own tall house in Cranbury, Connecticut?      It happened that about a week ago Papa, who was the main person the senators and the representatives in Washington depended upon for solving hard problems dealing with birds, had received a dispatch from these important men asking him to go to a place named Fire Island and make a study of the birds there, if he were interested, that is, they said courteously.      "A new journey so soon!" thought the Pyes. Papa had only just returned from a trip to the West Coast, where he had been comparing notes with another ornithologist, Mr. Hiram Bish, who, Papa said, owned the smallest owl he had ever seen, a baby pygmy owl. It wasn't more than two inches high, and it was the special pet of Mr. Hiram Bish and his wife. Papa might be a famous bird man, but he had never brought a bird home from his travels to keep for a pet as this other ornithologist had.      "Too many other pets in this house," he'd say with a shrug. "Supposing I studied bugs, would you want the house full of bugs?"      "No," was the swift reply.      The only bird that Papa had was a stuffed screech owl in his study, and this had been the gift of Mrs. Moffat, who had donated it to him when she had moved from the Yellow House on New Dollar Street, because, in her new and smaller house on Ashbellows Place, she had no attic and no room for stuffed screech owls.      Usually Papa's bird studies led him to faraway places, the Everglades, the barren lands of Labrador, and, once, South America. Of course Papa had never been able to take his family with him to these far and dangerous places even though Rachel, up until the very moment of his departure, hoped he would invite at least her, for she planned to be an ornithologist herself someday. But Papa did not know about this plan, and he always gave her an absentminded kiss and hug, the same as he did everybody else in the family. "Be sure and lock the cellar door each night," he'd say. It was as though this remark was his way of saying, "Take good care of yourselves." And then off he would go, lugging his suitcase to the corner of Elm Street where the trolley ran.      In view of these far places to which Papa usually went, it was a great surprise, then, when the men in Washington wrote and suggested that he go to Fire Island, which was really quite near. The reason the men in Washington asked Papa to go to Fire Island was that they wanted to print a document about the birds there and they felt that Pye was the man for the job. An inhabitant of the island, one of the few all-year-round inhabitants, not a bird spotter or anything of that sort, just a regular inhabitant--​her name was Mrs. A. A. Pulie--had discovered a puffin there. Bird spotter or not, Mrs. Pulie, having spent her entire life on this island, had plenty of sense about what birds you were supposed to see there and what you weren't, and she knew that a puffin was out of the ordinary. So she had reported it to the Bureau of Birds, which had promised an investigation, it was that curious about the puffin. And, in her turn, Mrs. Pulie had offered to rent her cottage to the ornithologist of Washington's choosing, at a very modest rental, she was that curious about the puffin and birds in general.      Fire Island is a long and skinny island just south of Long Island, which is also a long and skinny island, though it is fatter than Fire Island and much longer. If Long Island had not been in the Sound just south of Connecticut, you might have been able to see Fire Island from Cranbury, town of the Pyes and Moffats. Probably not. But who knows? On a clear and sparkling day, who knows how far one sees?      When Papa had received the letter about Fire Island from the men in Washington, he said that if his check from The Auk, one of the learned magazines for which he wrote, came on time (for the men in Washington said nothing about paying for the expenses; they just said wouldn't it be nice to find out about the puffin and the Fire Island birds?), he would pack up the entire family and take them along with him on this near and pleasant bird expedition. They could stay for the entire summer, he said, smiling his nice sideways smile.      The check from The Auk had come, on time. "Hurray!" said Papa. "We can go! We can spend the whole summer. I can write ten books!" he said. Papa was always about ten books behind in his writing.      Rachel and Jerry had happened to be sitting on the little upstairs porch when they heard this astonishing news. At first they did not know whether to be happy or sad, for they had never before been away from Cranbury for that long a time. "What! The whole summer!" they said to each other. "Go to Fire Island for the whole summer!" It sounded like the hottest place outside of the sun that they had ever heard of, excellent for winter expeditions perhaps, but . . . go to Fire Island for the whole summer! Just throw away the whole wonderful summer in Cranbury when there was no school and no Sunday school, only church to go to? They had a beach here, didn't they? Sandy Beach, dear Sandy Beach. Why go to another beach just because it had a different name? And they had woods here, didn't they, and brooks and fields and daisies and summer, long and wonderful summer. Just throw it all away, waste it. It would be like skipping a chapter in a book; or like having a chapter, the best one probably in the whole book, either torn out or so blurrily printed it could not be read.      "The Moffats never go away," said Rachel.      "No. Neither do most people," said Jerry.      "No. They sit on their porches and rock in the evenings, and they hose their lawns."      Here in Cranbury it was nice. On misty days it smelled like the sea, for it was near the sea. And after a thunderstorm the town smelled particularly wonderful. The gutters gurgled merrily then with the swift rainwater racing to the drains, with sticks for boats and chewing-gum papers for rafts bumping into each other as they were swirled along. A person could go barefoot in the wet and new-cut grass.      Then Rachel hit herself hard on the head. "Am I crazy?" she asked herself. "Look at me! A girl who at last has a chance to go with a famous father on a famous expedition to watch birds and what does she do? She wishes she could stay home in Cranbury, same old Cranbury. Am I a nut?" she asked herself scornfully. "No," came the answer quickly. "I'm really happy to be going. I'm going to be a bird man too someday, and this may be the beginning. I may be the one to discover an important discovery. About a feather, at least, if not the whole bird."      Rachel waited tensely for what Jerry would say next. She liked life best when she and Jerry thought exactly the same about things, unless they were playing a game, of course. Then she would have to take an opposite side or where would the game be? When Jerry's reaction did come, it was strong.      "What!" he squealed when he was certain that Papa was way up in his study, his Eyrie, as it was called, and could not hear him. "What! Not go up to the woods and the resevoy every minute and catch frogs and cook them and eat them, and everything, with Dick and his big dog Duke and me with my dog Ginger! O-o-oh!" he groaned.      Then he fell silent, and Rachel wondered if she would have to go back to not wanting to go too since he didn't and this wasn't a game calling for opposite sides. But then Jerry said, "Well, you know what? There are breakers there. It is like Hawaii, and you can coast in on a breaker. I've seen breakers in moving pictures, colored pictures, and you roll in, in Waikiki."      "Oh, yes," thrilled Rachel.      "Besides, I may find some ancient specimen of rock, some unusual specimen, not a Cranbury or a Sleeping Giant one but an unusual one, a million years old."      Specimens were what Jerry was interested in, not birds that fly away before one can be sure what they are but specimens of rock that may be scrutinized at leisure in one's room by lamplight, late. Rocks were always tumbling out of his pockets, wearing holes in them. He loved rocks. He didn't know whether there were any rocks on Fire Island or not, but whoever heard of any place, except perhaps the desert, without some rock?      "Probably Fire Island was named Fire Island because when the earth broke away from the sun, probably that part cooled last," he said to Rachel, who nodded understandingly and admired this display of scientific knowledge. She secretly vowed to read Popular Mechanics from A to Z as her brother did so she would know something.      "It's probably all just plain hot rock, cold now though," she suggested, hoping the latter was the case.      Papa had been too excited and happy to stay up in his study and work. After all, this was the first all-summer-long vacation he had ever taken his family on, and naturally he was pleased. He joined Jerry and Rachel on the little square porch.      "I suppose we'll have to take Ginger somehow or another," he said.      "Ginger," said Jerry, "did you know that you are going on a trip?"      Ginger wagged his tail and leaped up ready to go.      Ginger was known throughout Cranbury as "the intellectual dog" because once he had found one of Jerry's pencils, tracked Jerry to school, and gone up the fire escape with it to Jerry's very classroom. Of course they had to take him. Moreover, he had been lost from Thanksgiving Day until the twenty-ninth of May! Rachel and Jerry had only just been reunited with him. They couldn't part with him again, leave him behind. Someone might steal him again, such a smart dog. The Pyes could not take a chance like that. And besides, imagine Ginger's eyes when he saw that he was being left, the awful look in his sad eyes!      "Yes," said Papa. "Bring Ginger, of course. But not Gracie. Gracie cannot come."      "What!" exclaimed Mama, who was running the mop around the upstairs hall and hearing every word they said. "What! Not bring Gracie!"      "No," said Papa. "I can't have that cat chasing away the few birds there are on that island. She can stay with Gramma."      Mama shook her head firmly and banged the mop against the banister. "She's got to come," she said. Gracie had been a wedding present to Mama and Papa, and she was known all over town as "the New York cat."      "Gracie would pine away," said Mama. "She would miss me so. I've heard of cats just pining away." The way she said "pining" brought tears to Rachel's eyes, though she was not very fond of the fabulous New York cat, who had an unpleasant habit of fixing her eyes on Rachel with a green and glassy stare.      "I'll keep Gracie away from you and your birds," said Mama. "After all, with that bell around her neck she doesn't even try to bother the birds here, so why should she bother the birds there? She won't. She can't. In fact, she is a good spotter, and she may lead you to some bird whose existence there you would not otherwise suspect. Not another puffin perhaps, but some bird equally unique."      So Papa said all right, let Gracie come too. Gracie was sitting on the high banister and she surveyed them all coldly and indifferently. "And let Uncle Bennie come too if he can," said Papa.      At first Uncle Bennie's mother did not want him to go. A whole summer seemed like such an awfully long time to be parted from him. But since he was looking pale, having just had the chicken pox, she finally said, "All right."      After all, Uncle Bennie would be with Mrs. Pye, who was his own big sister, which made him the uncle of Jerry and Rachel, though he was not half as old. He was only three, and he had been born an uncle. Some people are never uncles, but he had been one from the start, ever since he was a minute old; a minute-old uncle is what he had once been.      Since his mother still looked sad at the idea of the long separation, Uncle Bennie said to her, "If the fire's too hot on that island that's on fire, I'll come back. I'll swim back. I can swim, you know," he said indignantly, though so far no one had said he couldn't. "On the bottom of the bath tub, I swim."      It was fortunate that Uncle Bennie had no large pets to bring with him, for how to transport Gracie and Ginger was going to be a great problem. But all Uncle Bennie had in the way of pets was a dead locust on a string. This dead locust slept on a little bed Uncle Bennie had patted down for him of pieces of cloth in a light yellow Coats' thread box. He had punched holes in the lid of the box for his pet. "What are those for?" asked Jerry.      "For him to breathe. Some dead things do breathe, you know," said Uncle Bennie.      Then the packing in both houses had begun.      "We might as well take every piece of clothing we own, being gone that long," said Mama.      "Even leggin's?" asked Rachel.      "Well . . . I suppose not leggings," said Mama hesitantly, for leggings were a tempting idea. The island sounded hot, but should one judge by names? Consider Iceland and Greenland, each one being just the opposite of what it sounded like, according to the geographies.      Mama would pack a valise and then unpack it again, thinking some garment was at the bottom that should be at the top. Sweaters should certainly be at the top, where they could be reached in a hurry. The children might start off thinly clad for a hot day and then the weather might suddenly turn cold. What is worse than being cold and shivering and having everyone start the summer with a cold? And no doctors there. Perhaps not even a drugstore there with a wonderful druggist like their own Dr. Sheppard, who could tell you what the doctor was likely to prescribe, thus saving you a great deal of money.      No. Packing had not been as simple as it sounded, especially with Miss Lamb at the library urging Rachel and Jerry to take eight more books every time they went in. There were so many books by authors whose names began with an A or a B they had to be piled on the floor and on the windowsills. "Here's a good book," she'd say because it wouldn't fit in the A s or B s. And they'd take it.      "If only," the Pyes thought over and over again as the hard job of packing went on, "we were either there on Fire Island or here and all nicely unpacked and things put away and us settled in our lives as we used to be!"      Fortunately their important High School Senior friend, Sam Doody, the captain of the team and the greatest Boy Scout in Cranbury (he had once saved a life), had offered to drive the family and their pets dead and alive to the town on Long Island from which the boat sailed to Fire Island. Mama had been delighted, and it no longer mattered what she put on top in the suitcases or on the bottom or whether things stuck out of the sides. Nothing mattered since they were not going by train, and she had got out still more things to take, War and Peace, for instance, which she hoped this summer to finish. Last summer she had got up to page thirty-nine.      None of them had been in Sam Doody's present car. It was an old car but new to Sam. It was a touring car, a Model-T Ford touring car, and the black canvas top rolled back. Think of the air and sunshine in that, if you want!      At first Rachel had been disappointed not to be going on the train. She had really hoped to sleep on the train, look out of the window in the morning early, view the passing scene while eating a piece of toast. Suppose she saw the reservoir like that, they whizzing by it, she with a piece of toast!      But when she'd heard they would go by way of the Boston Post Road, she was not as disappointed. She had never been on this famous road, and she thought she'd see horses posting along delivering the post. "Giddyap-giddyap," she murmured.      "And now I can take more dolls," she had said happily, "since we are going in a car on the Boston Post Road." And she had tucked in another old doll, named Lydia, and a bagful of Lydia's clothes.      Right now then, as the family stood waiting for the boat to come, Lydia, with eyes as liquid as the blue sky above the bay, looked up expectantly at Rachel from the crate on which she lay sprawling.      Rachel stooped down and whispered in Lydia's ear. "Are you glad you came? We're about to set sail. Isn't that wonderful?" Excerpted from Pinky Pye by Eleanor Estes All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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