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The Fright Before Christmas
Synopses & Reviews
Why is Howie the puppy so scared that "a big fat man in a red suit is going to come down the chimney"? Why are Harold the dog and Chester the cat hearing noises in the basement in the middle of the night? Is the home of Bunnicula, the vampire rabbit, being invaded by Christmas ghosts?
About the Author
James Howe began his writing career with Bunnicula, which was published in 1979. Bunnicula has received numerous awards as a favorite among children throughout the U.S. and Canada. It was also the basis of a popular television special, a record and a tape, and has been published in the United Kingdom, as well as in German- and French-speaking countries. Howe so enjoyed writing as Harold — the shaggy dog narrator of Bunnicula — that he went on to write Howliday Inn, The Celery Stalks at Midnight and Nighty-Nightmare.
James Howe lives with his wife, Betsy Imershein, and their daughter, Zoe, in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.
In His Own Words...
"I was born in Oneida, New York, the youngest of four sons of Lee Arthur and Lonnelle Crossley Howe. My bloodlines are mostly English, Scottish, and German, but my roots grow deep in American soil. One of my ancestors on my father's side was hanged as a witch at Salem, Massachusetts, in the late 1600s. On my mother's side is Benjamin Push, the "Father of American Psychiatry" and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. My mother never let my father forget which side was witch.
"It is not this heritage that inspired me to be a writer, however, unless having an alleged witch in the family predisposed me to write the sort of things I do. More likely, my turning out to be a writer had to do with a childhood spent making up stories, first with my toys arid friends and then, When I knew how, on paper. Words played an important part in my growing up. Books were every-here, when they didn't fit on the shelves they were stacked haphazardly on the floor, But words weren't confincol to books. In my family, no day was complete without its share of conversational banter, Joking, riddles, and puns. it is little wonder that even after I got serious about Writing, I've always had a hard time getting serious about words.
"I moved from Oneida who, I was two and spent the next ten years in Webster, a small town in upstate New York. There I established a club called the Vampire Legion (membership: three), wrote and edited its newspaper, The Gory Gazette; and wrote plays for myself and my neighborhood friends to perform. Perhaps as an outgrowth of these plays, my first real ambition in life was to be an actor.
"After earning a bachelor of fine arts degree in theater from Boston University in 1968, I moved to New York City to pursue my career in show business. It was there, in 1977, that I began writing Bunnicula with my late wife, Deborah. We wrote it as a lark, never Imagining that it would be the popular children's book it became nor that it would launch my career as a writer for children. Even as we wrote it, I was working on a master's degree in theater at Hunter College.
"After Debbie's death from cancer in 1978, I went on to write several sequels to Bunnicula, as well as other mysteries, picture books, serious novels, and nonfiction. In 1981, I left my job as a literary and theatrical agent to pursue writing full-time.
"Also in 1981, I married Betsy Imershein, a photographer and writer. We have one child, a daughter named Zoe, and we live and work in a 1930 Tudorstyle house in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, just north of New York City.
"I began writing a picture-book series featuring Harold and Chester and the other characters who populate my older Bunnicula novels in 1987. It is my hope that the Fright Before Christmas, Scared Silly, and the other books in the series will introduce young readers not only to my characters, but to the excitement-and fun--of mysteries as well."
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