An American author of children's and young adult fiction, he is best known for works such as Lizard Music (1976) and The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death (1982). His 1984 children's book, Devil in the Drain, ended up on challenged book lists throughout the United States.
He studied at Bard College and later wrote a newspaper comic strip called Norb.
He was a frequent commentator on National Public Radio.
He was born in Tennessee to Polish immigrant Parents. He married illustrator Jill Pinkwater.
He and Liane Hansen both worked for NPR.