Cover image for Uncle Boris in the Yukon : and other shaggy dog stories
Uncle Boris in the Yukon : and other shaggy dog stories
Pinkwater, Daniel Manus, 1941-
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [2001]

Physical Description:
203 pages : illustrations ; 19 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3566.I526 Z473 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PS3566.I526 Z473 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



There have been books about dogs since books began -- manuals on training and raising them, stories featuring dogs, and memoirs seen through the eyes of dogs. Lately, there has been a rash of books that purport to tell us what dogs are thinking, such as the bestselling "What Dogs Are Thinking." This is a book about a Jewish boy and his sled dogs -- also a couple of wolves, a parrot or two...and Pinkwater's uncle...and his father. Daniel Pinkwater, prodigious author of books for children, popular commentator on National Public Radio, and dog trainer to the stars, is unclear about what dogs are thinking. In fact, he appears to be completely baffled by them. He considers himself lucky that his dog does not foul the carpet, bite people, or run in traffic. Unlike every other dog book ever written, this one does not make the reader feel more stupid than the author.

Author Notes

Author, illustrator, and radio commentator Daniel M. Pinkwater was born in Memphis Tennessee on November 15, 1941. He is trained as an artist and attended Bard College. In 1969, he wrote and illustrated his first book, The Terrible Roar. Since then he has written over 50 books for children, young adults, and adults. He is also a commentator on National Public Radio's All Things Considered and regularly reviews children's books on Weekend Edition Saturday. While he has illustrated many of his works, his most recent ones have been illustrated by his wife Jill Pinkwater.

(Bowker Author Biography) Daniel Pinkwater is regarded by critics, educators, psychologists, and law enforcement agencies as the world's most influential writer of books for children and young adults. Since 1987, he has been a regular commentator on NPR's All Things Considered and two collections of his essays have been brought out to the delight of listeners who can read. He lives in Hyde Park, New York.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Add dog lover and trainer to Pinkwater's list of accomplishments. A children's author, NPR commentator, essayist, and novelist, he now reveals the secret to his success: he learned many of life's most crucial lessons from dogs, in spite of the fact that his early canine experiences were anything but felicitous. Pinkwater begins his mordantly funny and smartly entertaining mix of memoir and fancy with a hilarious account of his Jewish Polish father and his brothers, all cheerful Warsaw thugs, including Boris, who caught Klondike fever and made the long, arduous journey to Alaska, where he forged a profound friendship with a malamute named Jake. Years later, Pinkwater, an aspiring artist, became enamored of the same breed despite a series of disastrous pet skirmishes instigated by his immigrant father's peculiar "love of the grotesque." Moving from surreal boyhood anecdotes set in Chicago and California to charming tales of life in Upstate New York with his animal-crazy wife and their personable dogs, Pinkwater is at once diverting and slyly instructive regarding dogs, love, discipline, and happiness. Donna Seaman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Pinkwater, author of children's books (The Hoboken Chicken Emergency; Lizard Music) and a commentator on NPR's All Things Considered, delivers a witty rumination on his experiences with dogs. Uncle Boris, one of the many colorful and dysfunctional adults of Pinkwater's childhood, gave his parents a Pekingese named Bobby shortly before the author's birth. Uncle Boris made a living selling fake purebreds and assured Pinkwater's father that "a dog lik dis is all deh rage in deh best parts of Brooklyn." Bobby's sole redeeming feature was that he appointed himself the new baby's guardian, thus protecting Pinkwater from his "precivilized" parents. Also featured here are other family pets, such as the asthmatic terrier Bootsie and Pedro the psychotic parrot. After Pinkwater married, he and his wife Jill (who has illustrated a number of Pinkwater's books) began acquiring malamutes; as a result of the training challenges that ensued, they established themselves as experts who taught people "how to better enjoy dogs." They published what they learned in the 1977 book, Superpuppy, but even this latest volume contains a few tricks of the trade. From anecdotes about an aging wolf named Matilda to reflections on how dogs have shown him "a lot about how it's possible to live this life," Pinkwater's light and extremely entertaining read will please animal lovers of all stripes. Drawings by the author. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Is it any wonder that an author known for his comic and outrageously imaginative children's books would write about his experiences with man's best friend in an unconventional, albeit engaging, way? Pinkwater here remembers all the dogs that have passed through his life, from the shaggy Pekinese given to his family by Uncle Boris (who supposedly encountered Jack London in the tailor shop that Pinkwater's father once owned in Warsaw) and Stan the Irish setter, acquired without his father's knowledge, to Juno, the Alaskan malamute that Pinkwater bought after he was smitten by the sight of two large sled dogs in Manhattan, and Arnold, the puppy. Pinkwater does not intend this as a how-to-train book; he covered that base in Superpuppy, aimed at children, after reading hundreds of training manuals and deciding that much of what had been written about canines had no foundation in reality. The reader must decide how much of this humorous and creative reminiscence is fact and how much is fiction. Sure to be popular where dog books and the author's other works are enjoyed, this is recommended for larger public libraries and young adult collections. Edell M. Schaefer, Brookfield P.L., WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.