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The Neddiad 05/25/11
The Neddiad by Daniel Pinkwater is the first book of what's now a three book series. In my usual fashion of finding the second book first, I actually learned about the series via The Yggssey (review coming). This time though I learned from experience and found the first book and started from the beginning of the series.
Ned, the titular character, is the son of the shoelace king. On a whim they decide to move from Chicago to Hollywood. They leave by train and that's where the weirdness starts.
Ned's journey into the unusual starts when he misses the train and meets up with a ghost and a crazy shaman. Even when reunited with his family he's still on a path to save the world with the help of a turtle statue.
It would take way too long to try to explain all the wacky characters and tangents this book takes. It's all set against the backdrop of post WWII Hollywood. The magical realism and mysticism fits the setting.
Of the three books, The Neddiad is the least whacky of the three. I recommend starting here or the other two won't make any sense.