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Borgel Daniel Pinkwater.jpg
Author Daniel Pinkwater
Country United States
Language English
Genre Science fiction, Young adult novel
Publisher Macmillan Publishers
Publication date
April 1990
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 170 pp (first edition, hardback)
ISBN ISBN 0-02-774671-2 (first edition, hardback)
OCLC 20489636
LC Class PZ7.P6335 Bo 1990

Borgel is a children's novel written by Daniel Pinkwater. This book was published in 1990. It was reprinted in 1993 in the UK, under the title The Time Tourists.

Plot summary[edit]

The story is narrated as the recollections of protagonist 'Melvin Spellbound', to whose family the agéd eccentric 'Borgel' attaches himself, claiming to be related to the family, by connections unknown even to himself. The inciting action occurs when Borgel, Melvin, and the dog 'Fafner' leave the family's residence in a car belonging to Borgel, whereafter the travel along the highway becomes time travel through multiple alternate realities.[1]

Travelling along the Interstate Highway connecting the various realities, Borgel is separated from the others by a mischievous teleportation (called a 'bilbok'), and Melvin and Fafner stranded at a roadside root beer stand. Having waited for him, Melvin and Fafner take control of his car, and recover Borgel en route. Thereafter the three rest at a public campsite, where they acquire a new companion in 'Pak Nfbnm*', alias 'Freddie': a self-professed expert on popsicles, in search of an immortal 'Great Popsicle' whose existence maintains the integrity of the Universe. Pursuing that search, they receive directions from a computer made in the image of the Popsicle, to the anthropomorphic gorilla 'Glugo', who conveys them to an island on the River Styx. There, and elsewhere, Freddie is identified as a 'Grivnizoid': a shape-changing, cephalopod-like predator, desirous of achieving insurmountable power. Upon encountering the Popsicle, Borgel and Melvin are inspired by serenity; but Freddie, instead, consumes the Popsicle, and assumes its identity and rôle as a result. Thereafter the others return home.


A New York Times article entitled, When Pineapple Races Hare, Students Lose, Critics of Standardized Tests,[2] landed Pinkwater in the center of an uproar over an altered version of Borgel. A tampered passage from Borgel has appeared in standardized tests for middle-school students since 2007. The test version has caused confusion and anger amongst young fans. Some have gone as far as accusing Pinkwater of being a "sellout."


This book is out of print in its original form. However it is still in print as a part of 4 Fantastic Novels (ISBN 978-0689834882), a compilation of four popular Daniel Pinkwater books: Borgel; Yobgorgle: Mystery Monster of Lake Ontario; The Worms of Kukumlima; and The Snarkout Boys and the Baconburg Horror.


  1. ^ Pinkwater, Daniel. Borgel. p. 36. Retrieved May 13, 2013. 
  2. ^ "When Pineapple Races Hare, Students Lose, Critics of Standardized Tests Say". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-10-04.  (login required)