Night Buddies, Impostors and One Far-Out Flying Machine, by Sands Hetherington and illustrated by Jessica Love, is the second in the “Night Buddies” series. The book’s main characters, Crosley, a bright red crocodile, and John, a boy who has trouble sleeping, have adventures, called Programs, at night with Night Buddies Amalgamated and other night-time characters. There are all night drugstores, all night emporiums, a zoo, and other all night enterprises and activities. It has a time spreader, a dingus, talking animals, magical contraptions, doodads, I-D gimcrack cards, whatchamacallits, talk tokens -- not to mention racing blimps. Plus you’ll enjoy the special language and dialect conventions: Yerk! Yerk! Ut! Ut! Yigg! Snerk! Snerf! Jeeks! Uk! Gruk! Wush! Gak!
The series was first conceived by Sands Hetherington and his son John at bedtime as an extension of their bedtime story time. They continued to develop the concept into the Night Buddy stories – adventures for kids who are reluctant to go to bed. Eventually Sands wrote them down in the Night Buddies series. The first book in the series is Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare.
The stories seem nonsensical, but they actually make perfect sense, especially to kids with imaginations. You know how creative kids can be when they want to or don’t want to do something. If they don’t want to go to bed, then tell them a story about the awesome adventures they’ll have once they’re in bed.
Perhaps they’ll be visited by a bright red crocodile with a passion for Pineapple Cheesecake or Crusted Crème Fro-Madge frozen yogurt. Crosley might take you on an adventure like he takes John. Maybe you’ll travel all over the city, meeting the night folks, solving mysteries, fighting crime, having fun adventures with magical doodads and such. Jessica Love’s whimsical and fun black and gray on white illustrations are appropriate to this night time series -- though your imagination readily brings the characters and adventures to life.
This “Night Buddies” story is fast-paced, easy to read, and holds your attention. You’ll quickly fall in with the “lingo” and enjoy the characters you meet, like Fast Fanny Farnsworth, Crenwinkle from Headquarters, and Officer Finnegan on Elmer. There’s plenty of silliness to appeal to kids – especially reluctant boy readers and girls who like things exciting and even a little bit “gross” at times.
Parents and teachers will enjoy the word choices and expressions, such as antidotes, caterwaul, excelsior, farcical, guts and glory, marauders, purloined, and also alliterations like: real red rump, holy hamhocks, brown blimp, black bottom, and so on. This is one fun book to read out loud with children. They will enjoy listening to it and probably will want to read it to you, too. Sands Hetherington is already working on the third Night Buddies story and enjoys reading them to his grand children. The Night Buddies series is published by www.dunebuggypress.com and available at www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, and www.powells.com.
My review copy was provided by Virginia Grenier of World of Ink Tours.