Archive for June 14th, 2015

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.
How to Get Kids Hooked on Reading
I immersed my son John in stories from the time he could understand speech. Bedtime
stories were an absolute essential to us, like air and food. We may not have missed five nights in ten years, even when we were on trips. 
I read him everything from Aesop to Tolkien to Dahl (Harry Potter hadn’t come along yet). By the time John was twelve, we had gone through most of Dickens and Victor Hugo. I made sure that he was always immersed in stories, and man did it ever work! 
Now I’m proud to say that he received an M.A. at Edinburgh University with Firsts in German and Russian, reads two or three books a week, and still watches Hobbit movies.
If you’re determined to get kids hooked, there’s something you can do in addition to reading bedtime stories: Get them involved!  This is how the idea for my Night Buddies books came about: One night when I was done reading and John wanted more, I suggested that he make up a night companion to go off to sleep with. 
Within a day or two, there was Crosley, red color, goofy name and all. At bedtime we started batting around the Crosley stuff.  I encouraged John to make up episodes. I mostly listened. If he did come up with something, I told him how super it was and asked him when I could hear the next installment. He was just six at the time! But this is where his love for stories and reading really stemmed from, and it has stuck with him his whole life.
I haven’t met a child yet who didn’t take to bedtime stories.  You just have to do it, and do it every night.  If
you do, your child will enjoy it, look forward to it, and quickly come to see reading literature as a pleasure.  Then, when he learns to read, he will want to read.  
Get him in on the process if you can. It’s as simple as that. A reader is a reader for life, and you won’t regret getting your child loving books as early in life as possible. 

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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