SNATCH A STORY
The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming chapter book, FOM: Creature in the Basement (a spin-off of the popular picture book The Problem with NOT Being Scared of Monsters)…
I turn to find my little brother standing on his tiptoes on the couch. “Geebs, calm down. It’s just a spider,” I say.
The spider is standing in the middle of the living room floor. And that is more than Geebs can handle.
“Get rid of it! Get rid of it!” he screams at me.
“Why don’t you get rid of it?” I snap back.
“NO!” he screams as if the spider has just landed on his back. Which it hasn’t. It’s still standing in the same spot.
“Stop yelling,” I say, “It’s just a spider.”
Geebs cowers against the back of the couch. “I’m not yelling,” he whimpers.
“You’re not yelling now,” I correct.
My little brother is scared of pretty much everything. The dark, ghosts, the wind, and, of course, spiders. My mom says he’s prone to the heebee geebees. Apparently. He gets them so much I call him Geebs for short. The name fits him better than his real name, Victor. Victor sounds fearless. Geebs sounds like a kid who freaks out over every little thing. Like my brother does.
On the shelf next to the stairs I find the glass jar and piece of cardboard I keep for moments like this.
First, I lower the jar over the spider. Then I hold the cardboard at an angle while I carefully slide the jar onto it. The spider is forced to climb onto the cardboard to keep from being run over by the jar.
And then I take the trapped spider outside. I’m not afraid of spiders but I don’t like to hurt them either. They eat bugs and stuff. That’s important when you live in a really old house. My mom says our house was built in 1887. Old homes have lots of bugs. My brother should be thankful for spiders or we’d be over run with bugs.
I set the cardboard on the grass and lift off the jar. The spider doesn’t move. Probably scared after being carried around trapped inside a jar. I tip the cardboard and give it a shake.
The spider holds tight to the cardboard. It’s like he has super powers. I wish I could hold onto the side of a wall. I set the cardboard down. I’ll get it later. The spider will have left by then.
Back in the living room, I find my brother eating the toast he abandoned earlier at sight of the spider.
“Okay now?” I ask.
He nods. “It was a big spider.”
Really, it was about the size of my pinkie fingernail. “Mom wants us outside after you finish your toast,” I remind him.
He looks at me with big eyes. I know where this is going. “Can we go monster hunting?” I knew it. Geebs is obsessed with monsters. He’s afraid of everything else. But he loves hunting for monsters. Go figure.
I take his plate into the kitchen. “Get dressed. Maybe we can find a friend of yours who wants to look for monsters.”
Geebs races to his room. “No, you. You know the best places to look.”
His plate rattles as I drop it in the sink. I’m eleven. The last thing I wanted to do was spend my summer hunting imaginary monsters with my little brother. But mom can’t afford a babysitter now that I’m old enough to watch him.
And it’s the only thing that keeps him from freaking out over every little thing such as a blade of grass poking his bare foot, or a scary looking cloud floating past.
At least this way I get to be outside. I slip on my flip flops.
Here we go. Again.
THE WICKED READ
By Dan Richards Illustrated by Robert Neubecker Published by Highlights Press ISBN-13: 9781620910245 Age Range: 4 – 8 Years
Who knew there was a problem with not being scared of monsters? The hero of this story knows it—all too well. Because he’s not scared, the monsters think he’s one of them. And now, they’re way too friendly. They want to share everything! Which is, of course, a disaster. Good thing there’s a terrified little brother to come to the rescue. With an understated text and hilarious illustrations, this picture book will have kids laughing away their fears.
Look For It If You Dare… Local Library | Local Bookstore | Amazon | B&N
FREE & FREAKY
THE CREEPY CREATOR
He is a graduate of the University of Washington Writing For Children Program where he wrote his debut picture book The Problem With NOT Being Scared Of Monsters. That was followed by the companion picture book, The Problem With NOT Being Scared Of Kids. His latest book is Can One Balloon Make an Elephant Fly?
Dan loves telling stories and talking about the craft of writing. School visits make him happy. He lives with his family in Bothell, WA.