Children's Christmas Fable (8-12 yrs)
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I wrote Gruesome John Frederick in a fit of parental pique. This was all because I was having a particularly stressful Christmas morning a few years ago (actually quite a few now). My two sons, then 8 and 12, were ripping open presents like the Goths attacking Rome, and barely glancing at the contents before elbowing their way to the next. There was lots of shouting, and plenty of whining, and the noise of shredding nerves. That morning had hardly lived up to the tranquil domestic tableaux I had hoped for --- an intimate family celebration of gift giving and generous words. Of course time has since softened the edges of the event; I now see that they were simply young and excitable boys, and I was probably as frazzled by my job as by my offspring back then. But at the time, I came undone.
I decided on the spot to fashion a tale about what happens to selfish little boys on Christmas day. It would be a tale of the "anti-Clause", an evil dwarf who takes presents away rather than leaving them to be opened. Since my oldest son was then into dungeon-themed role-playing games, I chose that venue for my story. Like all tales of myth, redemption arrives at the finale, but not before a lot of lessons are learned - all clothed in the scary rags that captivate children at that age. Certainly other "Christmas spoiler" stories had been published, so I wanted to make Gruesome John someone new -- and scary. While I was working on an early version of Gruesome John Frederick, both my sons would sit quietly for hours while I read to them from the manuscript. In fact, both of them have since grown into remarkable young men, so I'm forced to conclude it worked. (Don't I wish there was a magic tale that could accomplish that?)
I've read Gruesome John to children at library gatherings, and the audience listened raptly, and asked wonderful questions. I also received a lovely letter from a young girl in New York who "loved it, even though parts of it gave me the shivers. I also ended up feeling sorry for the dwarf, and the ending made me happy." I don't know if my "message" -- that selfishness begets itself and kindness the same -- was learned or lost on those readers. But I do know they enjoyed the adventures of Gruesome John and Andy, and an author of a child's tale can take heart from that.From the Back Cover:
While his parents sleep upstairs, nine year old Andy Michaels hides inside an empty Christmas box underneath the tree on Christmas Eve. Andy's father had told him an old family tale about an evil dwarf named Gruesome John Frederick who steals children's presents. Now Andy hides out to guard his gifts. He's hot and he's sleepy, but he's startled awake by the sounds of Gruesome John rummaging through his living room. The nasty dwarf uses his magic to steal several presents, unaware that he has also stolen Andy. Andy embarks on a perilous journey to Gruesome John Frederick's home beneath the Antarctic ice. It's a dark and fantastic world hidden deep within a maze of caverns. Dragons and elves and many other magical creatures people gruesome John's home. Andy attempts to escape from Gruesome John, and the friends and perils he encounters along the way, make this a Christmas adventure to remember and retell.
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Descripción Aegina Pr, 1988. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX091638330X
Descripción Aegina Pr, 1988. Paperback. Estado de conservación: Brand New. first edition. 74 pages. 8.30x5.50x0.30 inches. In Stock. Nº de ref. de la librería 091638330X
Descripción Aegina Pr, 1988. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Tom Hamel Ilustrador. book. Nº de ref. de la librería 091638330X