Friday, May 22, 2015

Excerpt from Night Buddies Go Sky High by Sands Hetherington

“ L izard!” “Hig! Hig! Hig! So who wuz yew expectin’, John Grassinreeds?” I reached across my bed and switched on the lamp. There was the iguana in his black undershirt, the one who parachuted out of the racing blimp. He was squatting in my open closet door. “How’d ya get IN here?” He squirted his tongue in and out: “Same way I got in yore dumb blimp. Slipped in when nobody wuz lookin’.” I sat up in bed and stared at him. “Why? What d’ya want? If you’re still lookin’ for the milk moles  ——  ”

“Hush up, boy. I ain’t studdin’ the moles. Naw,” he smirked, “I come here t’ settle up.” “Settle what up, lizard? Listen, you get outta my room right now!” I stood up, and as soon as I did, he reached in his pocket. “I’m gonna paint yew green all over, banjo-eyes, jus’ lak I started to in the blimp las’ time when yew caused me t’ fall.” The spray can came out and I reached down and grabbed a shoe. “Hig! Hig!” We circled around the room facing each other and the iguana snatched up my bed pillow. “I don’t see but two shoes, twine-head, an’ soon as yew throws ‘em, yew’re gittin’ a fat green bee-hind!” FZZT! He shot off a sample and shook the can. I threw the shoe at him as hard as I could, but he blocked it with his pillow, and I ran and grabbed the other shoe. “Come ahead an’ throw, scamp, so we can git this over wid.” I held onto the shoe and we kept on circling till I got to my chest of drawers. I stopped and he stopped. “Dumb lizard, I bet ya can’t guess what I got in this middle drawer, can ya?”

Title: Night Buddies Go Sky High
Author: Sands Hetherington
Publisher: Dune Buggy Press
Pages: 144
Genre: Children's Book
Format: Paperback

 Young John Degraffenreidt and his red crocodile buddy, Crosley, show up at the Pineapple Cheesecake Factory and find Big Foot Mae lying on the floor, staring up at her Great Star Puzzle on the ceiling. Crosley only wants a new supply of pineapple cheesecakes, but what Mae points to on her ceiling will start the Night Buddies on a totally new fantasy adventure. A suspicious white dot has passed through the Corkscrew Constellation and is now moving underneath the Hound Dog Stars. Across the Borough, Crosley s brother Crenwinkle sees the same curious speck in the sky. It looks to be a long night for sleepyhead John, but thanks to the time spreader dingus with its sleep retardant setting, he gets right into their next escapade. Join the Night Buddies as they embark on another Program, this time taking them all the way into the stratosphere in their racing blimp.

For More Information

  • Night Buddies Go Sky High is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Sands Hetherington, the creator of Night Buddies series of chapter books, credits his son John for being his principal motivator. Sands and young John developed the Crosley crocodile character in the series during months of bedtime story give-and-take. They collaborated many nights on escapades starring John and Crosley, until eventually it occurred to Sands why it was that Crosley was bright red. That was when the first book came together.

 Sands raised his son as a single parent from the time John was six. He read to him every night during those formative years: all of the classic children’s stories from Aesop through the Grimms, Lewis Carroll, Frank Baum, Tolkien and Dahl, with a lot of Dickens and Hugo thrown in. When school was out they got in the car and toured Alaska, Canada and most of the contiguous states. John still gets around. So far he has lived in Germany, Scotland, Russia, England and Spain.

 Dogs have always been a part of the author’s life, beginning with Whiskers, a cocker spaniel. When his wonderful boxer Hube died, he despaired of finding a boxer who could match him, and instead got a Saint Bernard. He ended up breeding Saints for a number of years and at this point has had twelve as house pets. Sands says dogs can do you a power of good, and if you lose one, go out and get another the next day and you will be surprised at how fast your grief goes away.

 Sands is also a Civil War buff. He would like to spend a month of evenings with common soldiers from both sides to see how they felt about the business. And eccentric generals like Jackson, Sherman and Forrest, and most of all Lincoln. Because Lincoln never gets to smile in his pictures.

 The author was born in New York City but was transplanted a year later to Greensboro, North Carolina, where his maternal grandmother lived. He never really left the area and has a lot of the South in him. His grandmother was a prominent educator and became a great friend and mentor.

 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 now, and hangs out with his longtime friend Ann and their Saint Bernards Dudley and Maggie. He likes visiting ancient Mediterranean sites in Turkey and Italy, and most of all Greece.

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