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Guardians of Childhood Chapter Books #01: Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King

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Guardians of Childhood Chapter Books #01: Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King Cover

 

 

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andlt;bandgt;andlt;bandgt;Chapter Oneandlt;/bandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;In Which The Great War andlt;BRandgt;Is Renewedandlt;/bandgt; andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;THE BATTLE OF THE Nightmare King began on a moonlit night long ago. In the quiet town of Tangle-wood, a small boy and his smaller sister woke with a start. Like most children (and some adults at one time or another), they were afraid of the dark. They each slowly sat up in bed, clutching their covers around themselves like a shield. Too fearful to rise and light a candle, the boy pushed aside the curtains and peered out the window, looking for the only other light to be seen during these long-ago nightsand#8212;the Moon. It was there, full and bright.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;At that moment a young moonbeam shot down from the sky and through the window. Like all beams, it had a mission: andlt;iandgt;Protectandlt;/iandgt;andlt;iandgt;the children.andlt;/iandgt;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;The moonbeam glowed its very hardest, which seemed to comfort the two. One, then the other, breathed a sleepy sigh and lay back down. In a few moments they were once again asleep. The moonbeam scanned the room. All was safe. There was nothing there but shadows. But the beam sensed something beyond the room, beyond the cabin. Something, somewhere, wasnand#8217;t right. The beam ricocheted off the small glass mirror above the childrenand#8217;s chest of drawers and out the window.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;It flashed through the village, then into the surrounding forest of pine and hemlock, flickering from icicle to icicle. Startling bats and surprising owls, it followed the old snow-covered Indian trail to the darkest part of the deep woodsand#8212;a place the settlers feared and rarely ventured. Like a searchlight, the beam shot out into the darkness until it found a cave.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Strange rocks, curling like melted wax, framed the yawning mouth of the cavern. The cave was thick with shadows that seemed to breathe like living things. In all its travels, the beam had never seen anything so ominous.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;The moonbeam wavered and thenand#8212;not sure if it was being brave or foolishand#8212;dropped down, following the shadows into the pit below.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;The darkness seemed to go on and on forever. Finally, the moonbeam came to a stagnant pool. Black water reflected its glow, dimly lighting the cave. And there, in the center of the pool, stood a giant figure. He was denser and even darker than the shadows that surrounded him. Still as a statue, he wore a long cloak as inky as an oil seep. The moonbeam scanned the figure slowly, cautiously. When it reached his eyes, they opened! The figure was awake!andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;The shadows began writhing about at the feet of the figure, their low drone filling the air. They grew, crashing against the cave walls like waves against a ragged jetty. But they werenand#8217;t shadows at all! They were creaturesand#8212;creatures that no child or Moon messenger had seen for centuries. And the moon-beam knew at once: It was surrounded by Fearlings and Nightmare Menand#8212;slaves of the Nightmare King!andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;The moonbeam paled and faltered. Perhaps it should have given up and fl ed back to the Moon. If it had, this story would never have been told. But the moonbeam did not flee. Inching closer, it realized that the phantom figure was the one all moon-beams had been taught to watch for: It was Pitch, the King of Nightmares! He had been pierced through the heart, a diamond-like dagger holding him pinned against a mound of ebony marble. Warily, the moon-beam crept closer still, grazing against the weaponand#8217;s crystal hilt.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;But light does not go around crystal, it goes through it, and suddenly, the beam was sucked into the blade! Twisting from side to side, the moonbeam was pulled on a jagged course to the bladeand#8217;s tip. It was trapped, suspended in Pitchand#8217;s frozen, glassy heart. Pitchand#8217;s chest began to glow from within as the moonbeam ricocheted about in a frenzy, desperate to escape. It was terrifyingly cold thereand#8212;colder even than the darkest regions of space. But the moonbeam was not alone. There, just beyond the edge of the blade, in the farthest recesses of the phantom figureand#8217;s heart, it could see the spectral shape of a tiny elfin child curled tight. A boy? Hesitantly, the beam illuminated the childand#8217;s head.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;That little ray of light was all it took; the spectral boy began to grow. He burst forth from Pitchand#8217;s chest joyfully, free at last! The moonbeam was thrown from side to side as the boy, with one quick tug, wrenched the radiant dagger from the cold heart that had trapped him. Bearing the blade aloft, with the moon-beam still caught inside lighting the way, the boy shot like a rocket straight up and out of the cursed cave and into the starry night. By the time his feet hit the snowy ground, he looked every bit like a real boy, if a real boy could be carved out of mist and light and miraculously brought to life.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Freed from the daggerand#8217;s impaling, Pitch began to grow as well, rising like a living tower of coal. Swelling to a monstrous size, he followed the boyand#8217;s illuminated trail to the surface.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Looking wildly up at the sky, Pitch sniffed the air in ecstasy. With one shrug and a toss of his midnight cloak, he blotted out the Moon. He crouched down and dug his fingers into the earth, letting the scents of the surrounding forest reach into his searching brain. He was ravenous, overwhelmed by a fiery hunger that burned him from within.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Breathing deeply, he trolled the winter wind for the prize he coveted, the tender meal he had craved even beyond freedom all those endless years of imprisonment down below: the good dreams of innocent children. He would turn those dreams into nightmaresand#8212;every last oneand#8212;till every child on Earth lived in terror. For thatand#8217;s how Pitch intended to exact his revenge upon all those who had dared imprison him!andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;As glorious thoughts of revenge filled Pitchand#8217;s mind, they ignited around him a cloud of sulfurous black. The cloud seeped upward from the seemingly bottomless pit of the cave. From that vapor, hurtling in all directions at once, came the shadow creaturesand#8212; the Fearlings and Nightmare Menand#8212;thousands of them, horrendously shrieking. Like giant bats, they glided over the forest and beyond, invading the dreams of all who slept nearby.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;By now the moonbeam was frantic. It had found Pitch! The Evil One! It had to return to the Moon and report back to Tsar Lunar! But it remembered the sleeping children back in their cabin. What if the Fearlings went after them? How could the moonbeam help if it was still trapped inside the diamond dagger? The beam bucked and strained, guiding the boy, who skittered along, light as air, back through the town, back to the small childrenand#8217;s window. They skidded to a stop.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;The spectral boy pulled himself up onto the windowsill. As he peered in at the children, somewhere in his heart an ancient memory or remembrance stirred of a sleeping baby and a distant lullaby. But the memory dissolved almost as soon as it appeared, leaving him feeling deeply and unexpectedly sad.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Something dark flashed past the boy and into the childrenand#8217;s room. Suddenly, two Fearlings hovered and twisted in midair above the sleeping brother and sister who turned restlessly, clutching at their quilts. Instinctually, the spectral boy leaped off the windowsill and snatched a broken tree branch from the ground, attaching the diamond dagger to its end. He aimed his gleaming weapon at the window.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;The Fearlings shrunk back from the light, but they did not disappear. So, for the second time that evening, the moonbeam glowed with all its might. The brightness was now too much for the Fearlings. With a low moan, they twined and curled, then vanished, as if they had never been there at all.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;The children rolled over and nestled into their pillows with a smile.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;And after seeing those smiles, the spectral boy laughed.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Up on the Moon, however, there was no cause for laughter. Tsar Lunarand#8212;the one we call the Man in the Moonand#8212;was on high alert. Something was amiss. Each night he sent thousands of moonbeams down to Earth. And each night they returned and made their reports. If they were still bright, all was well. But if they were darkened or tarnished from their travels, Tsar Lunar would know that the children of Earth needed his help.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;For a millennium all had been well and the moon-beams had returned as brightly as they had ventured forth. But now, one moonbeam had not returned.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;And for the first time in a very long time, Tsar Lunar felt an ancient dread.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;and#169; 2011 William Joyce

Product Details

ISBN:
9781442430488
Author:
Joyce, William
Publisher:
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Author:
Geringer, Laura
Subject:
Animals - Alligators & Crocodiles
Subject:
Children s Animals-Animal Stories-Alligators and Crocodiles
Subject:
Legends, Myths, & Fables - General
Edition Description:
Hardback
Series:
Guardians, The
Series Volume:
1
Publication Date:
20111031
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 2 up to 6
Language:
English
Illustrations:
f-c jkt (fx: sculptured emboss, silver f
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
7.5 x 5.5 in
Age Level:
from 6 up to 10

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Guardians of Childhood Chapter Books #01: Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King Used Hardcover
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Product details 240 pages Atheneum Books for Young Readers - English 9781442430488 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Launching the Guardians series, a chapter book counterpart to Joyce's Guardians of Childhood picture book series, this beguiling clash of good vs. evil brings together several legendary figures, updated by Joyce. Key players include Ombric, a wizard who teaches the children of the village of Santoff Claussen how to make anything they imagine come true; Nicholas St. North, a reformed bandit who becomes Ombric's apprentice; Nightlight, a 'spectral boy' who is guardian to Tsar Lunar, ruler of the moon; and Katherine, a brave foundling whose dream foreshadows what North will become: 'a powerful figure of unending mirth, mystery, and magic, who lived in a city surrounded by snow.' All join forces to defeat Pitch, the King of Nightmares (called 'Boogeyman' by children), a mission that culminates in a dramatic battle in the Himalayas. With agility and flair, Joyce and Geringer build layer upon layer of fantasy and provide rich background information about the characters, while leaving much to readers' imagination — and much still to be revealed. As in the narrative, shadow and light play enticing roles in Joyce's b&w illustrations. Ages 7 — 11. Agent: Michael Siegel & Associates. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , Don't miss The Rise of the Guardians, soon to be a major motion picture in theaters November 2012.

Before SANTA was SANTA, he was North, Nicholas St. North—a daredevil swordsman whose prowess with double scimitars was legendary. Like any swashbuckling young warrior, North seeks treasure and adventure, leading him to the fiercely guarded village of Santoff Claussen, said to be home to the greatest treasure in all the East, and to an even greater wizard, Ombric Shalazar. But when North arrives, legends of riches have given way to terrors of epic proportions! North must decide whether to seek his fortune…or save the village.

When our rebellious hero gets sucked into the chaos (literally), the fight becomes very personal. The Nightmare King and his evil Fearlings are ruling the night, owning the shadows, and sending waves of fear through all of Santoff Clausen. For North, this is a battle worth fighting...and, he’s not alone. There are five other Guardians out there. He only has to find them in time.

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