By Lisa Fleisher
Wall Street Journal
Eighth-graders who thought a passage about a pineapple and a hare on New York state tests this week made no sense, take heart: The author thinks it’s absurd too.
“It’s hilarious on the face of it that anybody creating a test would use a passage of mine, because I’m an advocate of nonsense,” Daniel Pinkwater, the renowned children’s author and accidental exam writer, said in an interview. “I believe that things mean things, but they don’t have assigned meanings.”
Pinkwater, who wrote the original story on which the test question was based, has been deluged with comments from puzzled students — and not for the first time. The passage seems to have been recycled from English tests in other states, bringing him new batches of befuddled students each time it’s used.
The original story, which Pinkwater calls a “fractured fable,” was about a race between a rabbit and an eggplant. By the time it got onto standardized tests, however, it had doubled in length and become a race between a hare and a talking pineapple, with various other animals involved. In the end, the animals eat the pineapple.