Saturday, June 16, 2012

VBT# Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare by Sands Hetherington



Today's author is Sands Hetherington and his book "Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare".
Synopsis: Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare- Sands Hetherington- 2012
What child hasn’t fantasized about sneaking out of their parent’s house after lights-out and embarking on an adventure or two? Now, what if there’s a bright red crocodile, with a belt full of magic gizmos, who shows up and takes kids out on adventures after bedtime? Well, THERE IS! 

Author Sands Hetherington has created a singular and unforgettable children's tale inNight Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare, a delightfully zany story full of antics, excitement, and adventure that young readers won’t want to miss.

The two main characters are a young boy named John Degraffenreidt (with no middle name) who is not ready to go to sleep, and a crocodile named Crosley who turns up under John’s bed. This unlikely pair sneaks out of John’s house using Crosley’s I-ain’t-here doodad, which makes them invisible to John’s parents. They embark on their Program, the Night Buddies word for Adventure, and make their way around the Borough chasing down enemies and dealing with the perils at hand. The Program for tonight is to find out why all of the pineapple cheesecakes in the world’s only pineapple cheesecake factory are disappearing.



Hi Paula and thanks for having me.

Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare is the result of a bedtime collaboration my son John and I had many years ago.  I was his single parent and had read to him every night since he could walk, maybe for longer than that.  It was an essential for us and went on for fourteen years.  One night when John was six and I was done reading and John wanted more, I may have suggest he invent a lights-out companion to go off to sleep with.  Or maybe I didn’t and he undertook the matter on his own hook.  In any case, the next thing I knew, there was Crosley the crocodile, complete with goofy name and bright-red color.  I was duly charmed, and John and I started throwing Crosley ideas around and making up episodes.  This went on for a year or more and Crosley developed into an important family member.  Even after John tired of the game, Crosley would pop up in conversations.  He refused to fade away.

Maybe it was a couple of years after John invented him that I got the idea of giving Crosley some proper print.  The thing was right there: not ready-made but at least a neat premise.  John would be in it, of course, and the two of them would have themselves an adventure.  The trick was to figure out why on earth Crosley was red.  You couldn’t just plop a red crocodile down as one of the main actors without some explanation.  Then it occurred to me: Crosley was red because he was allergic to water!  Well, sort of.  If he got water on him he broke out doing the Black Bottom dance and couldn’t stop for hours.  Unless he took his antidote pills.  These stopped the Black Bottom well enough but turned him red at the same time!  It was one of those side-effects you can get from Black Bottom pills.

The rest fell into place fairly easily.  Crosley started as a lights-out buddy for a kid named John who wasn’t ready to go to sleep yet, so why not make him a member of Night Buddies Amalgamated whose charter is to rescue kids from lying  in bed awake and take them out on adventures.  He shows up in John’s room on the night of our story.

Crosley has to be goofy.  He is red and has a goofy name and does the Black Bottom, after all.  Let’s stay with this and make him totally goofy about pineapple cheesecakes.  He can never get enough of them, and John’s fond of them himself.  Throw in a sudden worldwide shortage of pineapple cheesecakes.  They’re all vanishing at the world’s only pineapple cheesecake factory across town.  Huge emergency.  So this is our new Night Buddies’ assignment for tonight--to investigate the problem and set things right.  It won’t be easy and it definitely won’t be dull!

I give John most of the credit.  He made Crosley out of whole cloth and plays himself in the story too.  I was just the editor who tinkered with them a little and dropped them into a situation.

To editorialize for a moment, I think it’s vital to read to kids every day from the time they can understand speech.  (It’s even better if you can get them to collaborate!)  It’s a real pleasure to them and makes them want to read on their own.  This is where educated people come from.  I hope some of them will read or listen to the next book in the Night Buddies series, coming out in September.  It features John and Crosley, of course, and they get themselves a really fabulous flying machine and swoop around town from one wild episode to the next.  If the kids don’t read this, there are some other pretty fair stories out there!

Thanks again for inviting me.

Sands Hetherington




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