First published in 1981, the "Tooth-Gnasher Superflash" has all the ingredients that go into a "Pinkwater." These include silly sounding names such as "Mr. Popsnorkle" (other books include a "Mr. Plumbean" and "Mr. and Mrs. Submarine"); unusual visuals (Popsnorkle floats sideways over his worn out Thunderclap-Eight); improbable situations, exemplified here by the Popsnorkle-driven Superflash turning into a turtle, a dinosaur, and a flying chicken; and, most famously, Pinkwater's signature dry, subtle-yet-silly humor:
"'Look!' shouted the five little Popsnorkles.'The Tooth Gnasher Superflash!'" (NOTE: We see a picture of the Popsnorkles and a salesman wearing an orange suit standing next to a light blue racing vehicle.)
"'It is a pretty color,' said Mrs. Popsnorkle. (It was light blue)."
"'May I show you the new Tooth-Gnasher Superflash? We only have one left.'"
"'Is it the light-blue one?' Mrs. Popsnorkle asked."
That interchange may go right past some little ones' heads, but like the best kids' humor, it can be appreciated at many levels (think "Bullwinkle"). As mentioned above, when Popsnorkle takes the wheel and starts pressing buttons, the Tooth Gnasher Superflash transforms itself into a series of impossible (and sometimes extinct) animals. The exuberance of the Popsnorkles combined with the increasingly fearful face of the salesman in the back seat create a farcical scene made even more spectacular by the Superflash's many forms (though it always remains a nice light blue, even when it looks like a big elephant).
The very perplexed salesman takes "lots of money," and the Popsnorkles drive off in the Tooth-Gnasher. The last paragraph does not disappoint, as Pinkwater manages to inject yet another surprise in this creative, silly, and fun book. Highly recommended for almost anyone that can appreciate the Pinkwaterian style; this book may very well make a fan out of you! As there are several books by Daniel Pinkwater (some of the later ones beautifully, whimsically illustrated by his spouse, Jill Pinkwater), you'll be in for a treat.