Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare

A boy … a red crocodile … a collection of magic whatchamacallits … inventive characters … and an innovative new series of chapter books for kids.

Night Buddies revolves around the nighttime adventures of a young boy named John, who is not ready to go to sleep, and a bright red crocodile named Crosley who turns up under John’s bed. As the stories in each book open, 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 cleaning up the mishaps at hand.

The first book in the series is Night Buddies and The Pineapple Cheesecake Scare. The Program for the night is to find out why all of the pineapple cheesecakes in the world’s only pineapple cheesecake factory are disappearing.

These adventures after lights-out will delight any young reader who relishes an adventure/fantasy in the wee hours of the night.

Nightbuddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare is a Next Generation Indie Book Award Winner (Juvenile Fiction)!

Amazon Reviews

Top 50 & Hall of Fame Reviewer, Grady Harp, says, “A Fine New Children’s Book: Probably Volume I – hopefully” (5 stars):

Sands Hetherington, with the able assistance of the imagination and enthusiasm of his young son John, have created a new and completely unforgettable and likable character in Crosley, a bright red crocodile who happens to dwell under the bed of the sleepless lad John Degraffenreidt, beginning what we can only hope will be an ongoing series of books under the title NIGHT BUDDIES. Together Crosley and John set out on a Program (Night Buddies’ term for ‘Adventure’), the purpose being to rid their world of enemies and solve conundrums, the one for this particular book being to discover why the pineapple cheesecakes in the world’s only pineapple cheesecake factory are disappearing.

The story is filled with well-drawn fascinating characters embellished with some excellent illustrations by Jessica Love. The fonts change with emotion and circumstances, a fact that makes every page a little artwork that keep the child’s eye involved in the book. And just to make sure the youngsters reading this book have the inside information for a mystery a glossary of ‘Night Buddies Uncommon Words’ is supplied – explaining ‘Jeeks’, ‘Wuff’, ‘Snerk!’ etc. Combining an involving and very entertaining story with a clever presentation on paper practically guarantees the success of this book, and with a healthy bit of ‘Excelsior!’ this will be the first in a series from this author. Curious youngster character, talking and wisely animated animals, wacky modes of transportation and a dollop of mystery add up to a delightful foray to challenge and delight the imagination of youngsters. This little book is a winner! Read more…

ArtP says, “Great for more advanced young readers or for listening” (5 stars):

Just finished reading Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare after a friend recommended it as a good example of creative writing. I was not left disappointed. The story follows a young boy, John, who can’t sleep – but is he? Upon being left alone in his dark bedroom by his mother, John befriends a crocodile who sneaks him out of the house and into another world of humorous characters, scary tunnels and some things I’d rather just forget. In other words, everything one might dream about.

It’s a perfect book for more advanced young readers (some big words) or something Mom or Dad might read to their children at bed time. Be advised, there are a few scary parts but no one gets hurt. If reading with Mom or Dad, there are places where the young reader can make the sounds of the creatures John encounters in his adventure. At 127 pages, the book is fairly long and might require more than a night or two for the younger reader or parent/child team, but it’s all good fun.

As dreams come again, night after night, you’ll hope there are more where this book came from when you turn the last page. I had just that feeling when I finished, so I looked up the writer, Sands Hetherington, hoping to see that this was a series. Fortunately, it looks like that may be in the plan, for he has a new “Night Buddies” book due out in February of this year. Perfect timing for this January reader. Read more…

Wayne S. Walker “Home School Book Review” (5 stars): “Have you ever eaten a pineapple cheesecake? John Degraffenreidt is a young city kid who doesn’t want to go to bed. He had eaten so much pineapple cheesecake that his dad was afraid that he might get sick. After his parents leave him alone in his room, he hears some strange noises and sees a light beam squirting out from underneath his bed, and out comes a wacky red crocodile in a yellow suit named Crosley who has an astonishing and inventive collection of magical whatchamacallits on his belt. He likes pineapple cheesecake too, and the reason he has come is to enlist John’s aid in joining the Night Buddies and solving a mystery. All the pineapple cheesecakes from the world’s only pineapple cheesecake factory are disappearing.” Read more…

This Kid Reviews Books (5 stars): “Most kids would get creeped out if a red crocodile crawled out from underneath their bed, but not if it’s a Night Buddy! Night Buddies are from a secret agent program that helps kids wo can’t sleep. If a kid can’t sleep, a night buddy comes and takes them on an adventure. John meets his Night Buddy, Crosley (a red crocodile) and Crosley takes John on an adventure to see why the world’s one and only pineapple cheesecake factory has stopped making pineapple cheesecakes! After sneaking out of the house, the Buddies go on a silly adventure to get to the bottom of the problem. What they find is that some one (or thing) is taking the cheesecakes! But who?!?” Read more…

Diane Mae Robinson (5 stars): “Nine year old John Degraffenreidt meets a comical red crocodile name Crosley. Crosley convinces John to join the Night Buddies Program and help solve the mystery of the missing Pineapple cheesecakes from the factory across town. I liked this book because it is imaginative, fun, has zany characters, and it made me laugh, a lot. John and Crosley work well together to solve the mystery of the missing pineapple cheesecakes. Both John and Crosley are very funny and come up with the best “one-liners”.” Read more…

D. M. Lawrence (5 stars): “What a delightfully fun story. A red crocodile living under the bed, best kind of monster a kid could have in his room. John Degraffenreidt is a young boy who does not want to sleep at night (parents, does this sound familiar?). John and his new friend , night buddie, Crosley the red crocodile, engage in a wonderful adventure. They are going to the only Pineapple Cheesecake factory to discover why the cheesecakes are disappearing.” Read more…

John Goble (5 stars): “This book is extremely original. The hero and the red alligator searching for lost pineapple cheesecakes have incredible adventures but the story is clear and logical and makes you want to reach the end and find out what happens. Lots of fun and a fascinating locale.”

Dad of Divas: “This was a fun chapter book that provides the characters some fun adventures that you are able to experience along with them as you read through the book. The characters are so fun and the author has done a great job developing them. Anyone that loves fantasy and imagination will love this story. Who else would come up with a red alligator coming out from under the bed than this author. Bet ready for a wild ride and I for one am hoping that there are further stories that will continue the story into the future!”

fahlinluv: “Night Buddies by Sands Hetherington was a unique book, but in such a good way. It’s one of those adventure tales that your kids can get lost in with its unique and hilarious characters sure to keep your childs imagination reelling. So what happens on those nights when you really can’t fall asleep? Well, your night buddies shows up and adventure is sure to follow. This book would definately hold any pre-teens attention. As far as reading level goes I would say 8+. The plot is ridiculous (in the best kind of way), and I found myself chuckling at the nonsense more than once. I really enjoy books that take something real, like not being able to fall asleep at night, and turn it into something amazing. Something that they would want to be apart of. Or, well at least I would have when I was younger.” Read more…

Charles Ashbacher: “This story of juvenile fiction uses two staples of the genre. The first is the creature that lives under the bed or in the bedroom closet of the child and the second is the fantasy of sneaking out of the house at night and enjoying a great adventure. John Degraffenreidt is a boy that is suffering from a common affliction, it is bedtime and he is not tired. Fortunately, the “monster” in his room is a red crocodile name Crosley that has magic powers personified by the collection of doodads from the bunch of whatchamacallits hanging from his belt. Crosley loves pineapple cheesecakes and all of the production from the Pineapple Cheesecake Factory across town has been disappearing. Crosley recruits John to help him explore the mystery and since he isn’t tired, John agrees to help.”

Sandra Stiles: “This is a wonderful adventure story for younger kids. John Degraffenreidt doesn’t want to go to bed. He wants more pineapple cheesecake. Once in bed he can’t go to sleep. Then Crosley, a red crocodile come out from under his bed and the two of them head off on an adventure to solve a mystery. What mystery you ask? The mystery of the disappearing pineapple cheesecakes. They arrive at the cheesecake factory where John meets Bigfoot Mae who runs the factory. If you have a child, or grandchild who loves mysteries this is the book for them. Learn why Crosley is red. Find out what has happened to all of the pineapple cheesecakes. Learn exactly what a “Night Buddy” is. This would definitely be enjoyed by reluctant readers.”

Suzanne Morris: “From back cover: When pineapple cheesecakes start disappearing from the world’s only Pineapple Cheesecake Factory across town, Crosley, a zany red crocodile, enlists the help of young John Degraffenreidt to straighten things out. The unlikely pair sneaks out of John’s house by becoming invisible, thanks to the I-ain’t-here doodad Crosley uses from the bunch of whatchamacallits hanging on his belt. John and Crosley get on the subway and ride the Night Folks Limited all the way to the factory where they meet the giant manager, Big Foot Mae. There is danger ahead, but the Night Buddies must stay with their “Program” if the world’s supply of pineapple cheesecakes counts for anything. And it surely does, especially to Crosley who is totally goofy about them and never seems to get his fill.” Read more…

Early Praise for Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare

“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)

“Do you have an imaginary friend? John has a crocodile friend (Crosley) that nobody can see if he decides to use his I-ain’t-here gimcrack. He chose John to help solve a most hateful crime: someone has stolen all of the pineapple cheesecakes from the only factory in the world that makes them! The new friend, Crosley the red crocodile, picked John to be his partner on this crime-fighting mission for two reasons: John shares Crosley’s love for pineapple cheesecake and, like Crosley, John has no middle name. The investigation runs fairly smoothly until Crosley gets wet. Hilarious things happen when Crosley’s allergy to water kicks in and the investigation gets more complicated than either of them bargained for. This fast-paced, warm-hearted story is written in several amusing dialects and will appeal to kids from 8 to 10 or 11. Boys who are reluctant readers will especially enjoy it.”
P. Joy Webster, school librarian and author of Don’t come here, Julie! chosen as Book of the Year 2010 (Young Adult Science Fiction category)

Quotes from Second, Third and Fourth Graders

“I liked all the things Crosley had, like the I-ain’t-here-doo-dads, whatchamacallits, and the way he laughed: Yerk! Yerk! Yerk!”
Maria B.

“I nearly freaked out when you did Crosley’s voice.”
Jeff S.

“I loved Night Buddies. It was a great book. To tell you the truth, you read better than Mrs. Hunt.”
Mandy W.

“The story was great, and I’m not lying to you. I loved the whole thing.”
Your friend, Rick

“I normally think books are boring, but yours was great!”

“I liked the word excelsior. How did you think it up?”

“I want one of your books. How much does is cost?”

“Thank you for having the patience for coming to our class and reading to us at 12:00 each day. You were a great reader especially with the voices … the voices of Crosley, the Iguana Gang, and Big Foot Mae were Excelsior! I hope you get your book published and your voice back.”
Lorin H.

“I thought it was the best story in the world. My favorite part was the part when Crosley started doing the Black Bottom. I really loved it.”
Mary D.

“I think your book is the greatest. It uses a lot of imagination. I’m sure you’re next book will be just as Excelsior!”
Love, Nick

“Night Buddies is a good story. I like it a lot, especially when Crosley looks at the pineapple cheesecakes and starts drooling everywhere and when the salamanders get in the room and can’t get out. Then they start getting sick and some of them throw up.”
Noni M.

“I like when Crosley locked the iguanas in the spider wire.”
Sara T.

“I think if you draw a picture of a pineapple cheesecake, the next morning it will be gone! Oh, next time you go somewhere, like to the publishing building, don’t forget your I.D. gimcrack for a special author!”
Maria B.

Awards Won