Saturday, January 3, 2015

"Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare" by Sands Hetherington

Night Buddies and the
Pineapple Cheesecake Scare
by Sands Hetherington

Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare is the first title in the Night Buddies series, a 7-times award-winning chapter book series for kids ages 7 and up. Also available: Night Buddies, Impostors, and One Far-Out Flying Machine. Coming March 2015: Night Buddies Go Sky High.

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Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare is an after lights-out adventure story that will delight young readers and middle graders who relish roller coaster fantasy and fun, filled with unforgettable characters and an astonishing and inventive collection of magical whatchamacallits.
Night Buddies is all about the nighttime adventures of a young boy named John, who is not ready to go to sleep, and his friend, a bright red crocodile named Crosley who turns up under John’s bed.
They sneak out of John’s house using Crosley’s "I-ain’t-here-doodad" which makes them invisible to John’s parents. They then embark on an adventure chasing down enemies and cleaning up one mess after another as they solve the earthshaking mystery: who stole all the pineapple cheesecakes from the only factory in the world that makes them!
The investigation starts out fine, but things get a little crazy when Crosley, who is allergic to water, gets wet. Hilarious things happen when Crosley’s allergy to water kicks in, and when they get to the pineapple cheesecake factory and meet Big Foot Mae, the investigation gets more complicated and zany than either of them bargained for.

Book Video

The author reads from the books.

Praise for the Book
"Hetherington seems to have the right ingredients for a classic children’s whodunit - talking animals, an unsolved mystery and a brave hero willing to face unforeseen foes … Punctuating the story are Love’s pencil sketches that boast just the right amount of whimsy and adequately capture the spirit of Hetherington’s eccentric characters." ~ Kirkus
"Night Buddies is a wonderful display of talent and literature." ~ Burlington Times News
"Stating that Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare is a creative, imaginative and delightful tale is simply giving it its just desserts. Yerk! Yerk! Yerk!" ~ Drew Aquilina, International award-winning cartoonist and author, Green Pieces: Green From the Pond Up
"Night Buddies is a terrific story my second and third-graders would love to have read to them, complete with its colorful dialect. Thanks for the sneak peek!" ~ Lorie Thompson, Principal, Haskell Elementary School, Los Angeles Unified School District
"Two unlikely friends-one human and one crocodilian-embark on an adventure to solve a mystery: where did all the pineapple cheesecakes go? Have fun reading this lively story." ~ Diane Witt, Retired Public Elementary School Teacher (30 years), Boulder, Colorado
"Night Buddies is visionary, conceptual, and a forecast of fun for children and schoolteachers alike. Author Sands Hetherington with mastery unveils creativity with purpose, inventions in language, and makes reading fun." ~ Al Carrozza, author of Universal Enzyme
"Don’t miss this wonderful new children’s book, Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare. Your children will thank you!" ~ Kathi Macias, award-winning author of more than 30 books including Special Delivery (Freedom Series)

Guest Post by the Author
How the Night Buddies Came to Be
My kid John started it. He was five or six and I had just finished his regular bedtime story, but he wanted more. I was tired. I may have suggested he think up a lights-out buddy to imagine his way off to sleep with. Maybe not. Maybe he did it completely on his own hook.
In any case, one or two nights later John presented me with Crosley, an honest-to-God bright red crocodile. You've got to be young to make up stuff like this. I know I couldn't have.
I was delighted and started playing along and trying to get John to come up with stuff about Crosley and himself and what they did last night and what plans did they have for tonight? Crosley got to be part of our regular bedtime protocol, and we bounced ideas and episodes back and forth nearly every night. This went on for a year, maybe two years, and eventually John grew out of it and stopped wanting to play.
But I never grew out of it. I wasn't a kid, I was going on fifty and set in my ways. I started casting around for some way to get Crosley into a book. He was my buddy too now, and I couldn't let him just melt away.
The gist, the premise, was already there. John would be in the story, of course, and the two of them would have an adventure. Just like always. The trick was to figure out why on earth Crosley was red. I couldn't just plop a red crocodile down as a principal actor without some explanation. Then it dawned on 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 get from Black Bottom pills.
The rest fell into place fairly easily. Crosley had 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 first 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 Night Buddies' assignment for tonight - to investigate the problem and set things right. It won't be easy and it won't be dull!
This is book number one (Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare). I give John most of the credit. He made Crosley out of whole cloth and plays himself in the story. I was just the editor who tinkered with them a little and dropped them into a situation. When it all ends, Crosley promises to come back whenever John can't sleep and sneak him out on another "Program."
"Well sure I'm gonna come back, buddy! I'm gonna come back every night when ya really can't sleep. Just like I done tonight. Jeeks, that's what the Night Buddies is all about, John!"
In Night Buddies, Impostors, and One Far-Out Flying Machine, this is exactly what happens. It's a much longer and more complicated tale, but it starts the very next time John is wide awake and Crosley shows up in his room. Crosley actually dozes off under the bed this time and John has to look for him and wake him up.
Same deal, same formula. This part was already there for me. When they get outside, though, I didn't know what to do with them, and wouldn't you know, neither does Crosley. He hasn't been able to reach his brother Crenwinkle, the Night Buddies dispatcher. John and Crosley wander around trying to get in touch with Crenwinkle and finally find him getting off a bus. By that time I had it figured out. I would have Crosley look-alikes running all over town doing bad things and trying to ruin Crosley's reputation. Crenwinkle is right with me and has come to warn them. So the Program now is to get the business stopped before Crosley is run out of town for being an undesirable. (Meaning no more Night Buddies!)
Our two friends decide on a stakeout, and this means going to a fantastic Emporium and getting a magic flying machine. The deal is, Rodney Oglesby's sauerkraut and jellybean hot dog cart keeps getting attacked by a fake Crosley, and our friends determine to fly over on top of it and watch. Soon enough, an extraneous red crocodile sneaks up and snatches the cart and sails off down the sidewalk with it, causing general pandemonium. John and Crosley chase from the air, but the impostor turns into the adjacent park and escapes.
What's going on? Why Rodney Oglesby's sauerkraut and jellybean hot dog cart so often?
When John and Crosley finally figure this out, the contest begins. It takes many twists and turns, and a night of fantastical flying around, and we meet lots of cool new characters who help along the way. It's almost dawn when things get wrapped up -
If there's anyone interested in how I get this business down on paper, it's not rocket science. I set aside about three hours and try never to cheat on this. I go hard for two-and-a-half hours and don't look back. It's not good to look back. It is good to stop at a place where it will be easy to pick things up tomorrow. I like to spend thirty minutes afterwards going back and cleaning up.
I don't like to go beyond three hours. It drains me too much and would probably cause me to quit the craft. If I need ideas, I go for a walk. That's how Dickens did it, and I hear it's good for the body too.

About the Illustrator

Jessica Love grew up in California, with two artist parents. She studied printmaking and drawing at UC Santa Cruz, then went on to study acting at The Juilliard School in NYC. Her favorite way to work is collaborative, which is why illustration is such a treat.
Some of her inspirations are Maurice Sendak, Edmund Dulac, Lisbeth Zwerger and of course, the incomparable Hilary Knight. Jessica currently resides in Brooklyn, New York, toggling back and forth between her work as an actor and her work as an artist.

About the Author

Sands Hetherington credits his son John for being his principal motivator. Sands raised his son as a single parent from the time John was six. He read to him every night during those formative years. He and young John developed the Crosley crocodile character in the series during months of bedtime story give-and-take. Sands majored in history at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and has an M.F.A. in creative writing and an M.A. in English from UNC-Greensboro. He lives in Greensboro.