Night Buddies - Adventures After Lights Out

Exclusive Interview with Crenwinkle!

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How was it growing up with Crosley as a brother?

Brother Crosley and I were always different.  I’m not referring to our colors.  His redness happened later as a side effect of the Black Bottom pills. Our personalities are what really differentiate us.  Crosley is zany and free-wheeling and I’m not, and I’m a dignified genius and Crosley definitely is not.  But we did manage to value each other’s strengths and to work together.  (Wuk!)  Night Buddies Amalgamated would never have come into being without this.  On the other hand, I do think Crosley can be a bit jealous that I’m the brains of the operation.

What whatchamacallit are you most proud of inventing?

I think the time-spreader dingus is one of the most useful whatchamacallits I’ve made (it’s the one that slows down time so that John doesn’t lose any sleep for being out so long on Programs). It’s a fact that whenever you manipulate time, you never know (Hik!) how things are going to go, so I’m pleased that the device has worked well so far.

Do you ever worry about the Night Buddies Headquarters being broken into?

Constantly.  It’s a major concern.  Just think what would happen if the wrong crowd got into my whatchamacallits!  This is why I’m always moving Headquarters: to make it more difficult to find.  It’s at the zoo now, but just two days ago, it was in the back of Nardiello’s Pizza Palace.  The I-D Gimcracks add another layer of security.

John, Crosley, and the amazing get-anything-free card.

Who taught you how to juggle so well?

It’s an innate talent.  I do it at the zoo so no one will suspect who I really am.

Last, but not least, what do you love most about your job with the Night Buddies?

I love that it’s fast-paced, and that you never know what each Program is going to be dealing with. Who could have guessed (Ook!) that a gang of Crosley impersonators would figure in the last Program?  It keeps me on my toes, and I get to use my imagination making whatchamacallits.  It’s a dream job, we’re working for the greater good, and best of all, I get to do it with Brother Crosley and (Hup!) our other splendid operatives.

 

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Happy Holidays from the Night Buddies!

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We over here at the Night Buddies Headquarters are absolutely crazy about the holiday season! Holiday treats, time with family, and of course, gift exchanges are some of the things we love the most. So we wanted to sit down with the stars of the series and ask what item is on the top of their Christmas wish lists this year. Here’s what they said:

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John: It was hard for me t’ figure out just what t’ ask for this year. Ever since Crolsey and the Night Buddies became part of my life there’s not much that would make me happier! But I guess the one thing would be if I could bring my dad along on one of our Programs. I think he’d be really into it!

Crosley: Ya know what I want this year? I want another handy whatchamacallit for my tool belt. (Yerk!) Got t’ be prepared for all the new Programs we have ahead of us!

Big Foot Mae: I don’t want anything fancy, but I do think I could use a new pair of coveralls to wear at the factory. (It’s hard to find good ones my size.) But I hope they still got pictures of pineapples on ‘em!

Crenwinkle: All I ever want is some more steamed root beer. I go through ‘em kind of quick!

Fast Fanny Farnsworth: As much as I love working at the All-Night Emporium and helping John and Crosley with their Programs, I think all I want for Christmas this year is a day off. Crosley sure can drive me nuts, and sometimes I think I need a vacation!

Doesn’t seem like they’re asking for too much this year! Whatever is on your Christmas list, we hope you have a very happy holiday and remember to enjoy the time you have with your loved ones. And if you’re still looking to find the perfect gift for someone on your list, we’d recommend giving them a Night Buddies book!

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Our First Night Buddies Go Sky High Review!

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For those of you who have been following this blog regularly, you know that we over here at the Night Buddies Headquarters are gearing up for the release of Night Buddies Go Sky High, the third book in the Night Buddies series! If you haven’t seen the cover yet, here it is again.

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Well, we have some pretty big news to share with you. Grady Harp, the prominent Amazon Hall of Fame reviewer, posted an amazing review for Night Buddies Go Sky High! For those of you unfamiliar with Harp, he is a 66-year-old gallerist, retired surgeon, and poet who has reviewed over 3,500 books, CDs, and movies for Amazon, as well as a reviewer for Literary Aficionado. In turn, he has attained a kind of celebrity, a number 7 ranking, a prominent profile on Amazon, and a pretty hefty following.

Some snippets of the review include:

“Hetherington’s manner of dialogue writing is unique and at all times a delight.”

“Where Night Buddies Go Sky High excels is in the pacing of the story – lots of lingering time to laugh, but equal momentum time to make the adventure exciting for children.”

“Hetherington is so adept at writing for children that his books become instant classics – and that means that after lights out, parents will tiptoe in and grab some of this confection for themselves! Highly recommended.”

We couldn’t be happier with the review, and we hope you all go out and give it a read! Thanks so much for continuing on the Night Buddies journey—we will continue releasing more information about the release in the coming weeks!

 

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What are the Night Buddies Thankful For?

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This holiday season we sat down with the characters of the Night Buddies series and figured out what they were thankful for this year. Here’s what they said:

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Crosley: I’m thankful that me an’ John get to go out on more and more Programs together an’ that we can make each other laugh. An’ I’m thankful for pineapple cheesecakes of course! By the way, have ya got any with you?

 

John: I’m thankful that I had trouble sleeping at night, because that’s what got me started as a Night Buddy! And I’m thankful for all the friends I made because of it, even if they do all make fun of my curly hair an’ big, round brown eyes.

 

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Big Foot Mae: I’m thankful that I’m the biggest woman you ever seen, because it sure makes me unique. And I’m thankful for Crosley keeping me in business. That crocodile sure does love my pineapple cheesecakes!

Crenwinkle: I’m sure thankful (Wuk!) for my brother, and for John making sure that he stays focused on the Programs I give ‘em! I’m glad that my whatchamacallits get some use, too, because I put a lot of effort (Wuk!) into making those.

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Fast Fanny Farnsworth: I’m thankful for my All-Night Emporium staying in business, and for the Night Buddies taking my far-out flying machines for a spin during their second Program. And I’m thankful that I’ve somehow managed not to kill Crosley yet! (He sure does drive me crazy sometimes!)

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Sounds like the Night Buddies have a lot to be thankful for! What are you thankful for this holiday season? Be sure to let us know in the comments!

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John and Crosley: The Makings of a Dynamic Literary Friendship

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Crosley picked out John to be his Night Buddy, for starters.  There must have been a lot of reasons, but the only one Crosley mentions is middle names.  Crosley doesn’t have one, and neither does John, so they have this in common.  Crosley thinks it makes you a little sharper, too.  And hey, we know that John is really sharp, and Crosley is definitely no slouch, so maybe there’s something in it.

The two characters couldn’t help but hit it off with each other.  John doesn’t want to go to bed, so Crosley rescues him and takes him out on adventures.  Crosley for his part gets a genial and very capable partner for his “Programs.”  Sharing these adventures, the good and the bad parts, bonds the two all the more.

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John and Crosley are very different, obviously, and before I go any further, I have to confess something.  After I finished The Pineapple Cheesecake Scare, I realized I had used a device made famous by Cervantes and Mark Twain.  (When you steal, steal from the best.)  I don’t know whether Mark Twain had Sancho Panza and the Don in mind when he wrote Tom Sawyer (I promise I wasn’t thinking of any of them when writing my story), but Tom and Huck are very similar to Cervantes’ two protagonists.  There Tom is, the impractical romantic (Don Quixote), and there’s Huck, the no-nonsense, pragmatic sidekick that Tom needs in order to stay grounded (Sancho).  Two pairs of opposites who rely on and complement each other.

Exactly like John and Crosley.  John is the sensible, down-to-earth partner, and Crosley is goofy, full of wild ideas, and ready to fly off to Mars at a moment’s notice for a few pineapple cheesecakes.  And just like those other characters, they appreciate and honor each other’s differences.  They are a team that’s better than the sum of its parts.  This, and their mutual adventures (and maybe a little insomnia) are the essence of their friendship.

And having no middle names doesn’t hurt.

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Exclusive Cover Reveal: Night Buddies Go Sky High!

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We over here at the Night Buddies Amalgamated have some exciting news for you!

The third Night Buddies book, Night Buddies Go Sky High, is going to be released early next year! We will provide you with an exact release date soon, but for now we are officially revealing the cover.

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As you can see, John and Crosley are going to be in for some out-of-this-world adventures! Each Program the Night Buddies go on only gets bigger and more exciting.

In this new book, when 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, they expect something’s afoot. Not surprisingly, Crosley is craving 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.

This is one book you’re not going to want to miss out on!

Before the book is launched, I’d like to get your thoughts about the book cover in the comments below. For example, what does the cover say to you? Does it grab you?

If this is the first time that you’re hearing about the Night Buddies series, be sure to check out the first two titles, available on Amazon and B&N.com.

Stay tuned to this blog for more exciting news to come!!

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What Makes Good Children’s Fiction?

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Writing a book that children will fall in love with at a young age is an important goal for many reasons, the most important of which is that one good book can turn a child into a reader for life. Do you remember your favorite book as a kid? Ol’ Sands does. When asked in an interview what his favorite book as a child was, he answered, “The OZ series. Critics said Frank Baum had no literary merit, and I understand what they meant, but kids weren’t interested in literary merit. They knew what they liked, and that guy had a captivating imagination if anybody ever did.”

So that brings us to the question, what makes a good children’s book? Should it possess the same qualities of adult literature? What makes it special?

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If you’re an aspiring author or simply someone who loves juvenile fiction, and you’re trying to answer these questions yourself, here are some of the answers that we have found.

The more imagination used, the better. Kids love to use their imagination, and their favorite books tend to take their imaginations to new levels. Think about the most popular children’s books—Harry Potter, Where the Wild Things Are, even the Oz series—they all use enormous amounts of imagination, and kids remember them for life.

Strong, memorable characters. Children’s fiction is not the place to play around with unlikeable, complex characterization. You need a hero, and you need a hero that your young readers will want to be best friends with. In Night Buddies, John is the character that kids relate to, but Crosley is the one that stands out to them, because they want to be his best friend too!

There must be a lesson. Good children’s books don’t need to end with a cheesy, “And this is what he learned,” line, but they do need to offer kids insight into some kind of moral or life lesson that they are still trying to grasp in their lives. We go to books to understand something about the world we live in, whether we are reading as children or adults, and it is important that children get this from the very first books they read.

If you’re a writer, try incorporating these tips into your own stories and see how it goes. Let us know if you have any other answers to the question, “What makes a good children’s book?” in the comments!

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Want a Reason to Pick Up a Night Buddies Book? Just Ask These Kids!

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three kids

Not only have the Night Buddies books won six awards amongst the literary community, but when Ol’ Sands went to visit Mrs. Miles’ third grade classroom this is what he heard:

“I think your book is the greatest. It used a lot of imagination. Crosley is the funnyst crocodile. Yerk, yerk, yerk!” –Nick

“I liked all the funny things Crosley had, like the I-ain’t-here doodad, whatchamacallit, and the way he laughed, yerk, yerk, yerk!” –Maria

“I want your book to be a passer! A passer is something that if I have children I can give it to my children. And if my children have children they can give it to their children. And that’s what I call a passer.” –Jaime

“I really liked Night Buddies! I thought it was the best story in the world! My favorite part was the part that Crosley started doing the Black Bottom!” –Mary

Night Buddies was the greatest book I’ve ever read. Especially Crosley’s I-ain’t-here doodad, and when Crosley got wet and did the Black Bottom dance. I’ve been writing a story about the iguanas or should I say jerks.” –Stacy

“I especially like the I-ain’t-here doodad. You are a really good author!” –Heather

“The story was great I am not lying to you. It was great. I loved it. I loved the whole thing.” –Rick

So there you have it! Don’t take our word for it that your children will love the Night Buddies series, but take it straight from their peers themselves. (After all, Rick was not lying to you.)

And a big congratulations to Ol’ Sands! Night Buddies, Impostors, and One Far-Out Flying Machine was recently announced as a bronze winner in the Global eBook Awards.

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Learn How To Juggle Like Crenwinkle!

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Crosley’s brother Crenwinkle is not only a genius who runs the Night Buddies Headquarters, he’s also a top-notch juggler! Crenwinkle draws huge crowds for his juggling performances, and he can juggle just about anything he wants, including seven fat, triple-decker sandwiches! If you’re looking to pick up a new hobby, here are some of our best tips to get you up to Crenwinkle’s speed.

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Start out slowly. Try practicing your movements with one object (probably a ball) first, and figure out the easiest way for you to catch it. Include more objects as you get comfortable with them.

Never chase the object. The point isn’t to reach up and grab the object, but to let it fall into your hand.

Keep your eyes in the air. If you focus on the highest point you want your object to reach, you’ll find that the object will fall into your hands without needing to look.

Focus. Juggling is as much as a mental activity as a physical one, and you need to always be focused and aware of what you are doing so that you don’t drop your objects on the floor!

Practice! The only way you will improve your juggling skills is if you work at it every day. Aim for around twenty minutes a session so that you can fully concentrate instead of sporadically practicing for five minutes here and there.

Don’t worry if you aren’t able to juggle like Crenwinkle on your first few tries; you’re learning and improving with each new attempt. And if you keep these tips in mind, soon you’ll be able to juggle like a crocodile!

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Shelfie Time!

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I started as a Harry Potter film franchise fan. From the beginning, I always saw the movies exactly one week after they came out (needed to wait for the big crowds to thin), and I couldn’t get enough. They were full of such high excitement, fine acting, Highlands scenery, and film spectacle—I was completely taken in.

And that’s when I began to read the books.

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Some of my contemporaries teased me when I told them what I was doing.  “There’s nothing original in it,” they said. “Wizards, dragons,

magic wands, flying around on broomsticks—–Come on!”

I had to agree with those particular complaints, but there’s a lot more to Potter than what my contemporaries pointed out. Miss Rowling’s style is engaging, her plots are full of clever twists, and her characters are downright memorable. Not just Harry and Dumbledore and Snape and Hagrid and McGonagall, but dozens of others, like Luna and Longbottom and the Weasleys and the Malfoys, stuck with me long after I set the books aside.

My favorite elements in the stories are genuine, warranted originals, thank you very much.  I’m talking about the more incidental things—the “howlers” that parents send to their kids that yell at them before exploding. The portraits and newspapers that come alive.  The house elves.  The Sorting Hat.  And my all-time favorite, Moaning Myrtle, the melancholy ghost who lives in the toilet!  Don’t dare tell me this stuff isn’t original!

Now it’s your turn: What are your favorite elements in the Harry Potter books? Are you as big a fan as I am?

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Children's Museum of Alamance County
217 South Main Street
Graham, NC 27253
Phone: 336-228-7997
Reading begins at 3 pm


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