William Joyce Interviews Nicholas St. North Before he was Santa, Nicholas St. North led an exciting life full of daring adventures. William Joyce interviews the future Mr. Claus about his past, the other Guardians, and what he thinks of the cast of colorful characters that live at the North Pole.
William Joyce: When you were younger, where did you think you'd end up?
Nicholas St. North: Well, they didn't have Las Vegas when I was a kid. Or Disney World, so those just weren't an option. I'm kidding. KIDDING. But the North Pole? Never saw myself there.
Joyce: How do you think you came across in my telling of your story?
Nick St. North: Much better than I expected, to be honest, and since I'm Santa Claus I am, you know, I'm always honest. Your portrayal of me is you know, balanced. You got the good me and the ... wild me. I'm certainly jolly and you caught that. And the temper thing ... you didn't shy away from that. And the bravery and the fun. The fun me. I liked that. Because I'm, you know, fun. FUN! A fun guy.
Joyce: Could you tell us a little about the Guardians of Childhood?
Nick St. North: Great group. The best. Really. So glad to be a member. Sandman, Man in the Moon, Tooth Fairy, the Egg guy, that Frost kid ... just terrific. We all have our own thing, but we work together very, very well. Fighting the Boogeyman, Pitch is his real name. Not many people know that. But, yeah, I think we do a lotta good work together.
Joyce: Which Guardian would you choose to stand beside you in the thick of battle?
Nick St. North: Oh ... now. That's, that's, you know ... They are all, ALL great in their own way. All so talented. Geniuses! I mean it! Even, you know, the egg guy.
Joyce:What do you think makes you such a great Guardian?
Nick St. North: Oh, that's ... No ... I can't ... you're so kind ... Look, I just try to be the best Santa I can be. Firm. Friendly, but fair. That's sort of the motto.
Joyce: If you had a chance to change one thing in your past, would you? What would it be?
Nick St. North: You know, I ... Can we just not go there?
Joyce: If you could learn one bug or animal language, what would it be?
Nick St. North: Gosh. I know almost all of them. That's how I get a lot of my info on the naughty or nice thing. Pets are usually very reliable for that. I speak fluent hamster, which is good, because hamsters, they know EVERYTHING. I even speak leech. Which isn't much help really. There are some Irish accents I have trouble with. I love how they sound, but I need subtitles if it's a movie. And the Jersey Shore kids. Can't understand a word.
Joyce: How are the elves to work with?
Nick St. North: Well, we are all old, old friends. We've known each other since day one. But, honestly, I wish they were a little taller.
Joyce: Taller, you say?
Nick St. North: Yes. They get stepped on A LOT. Especially by the Yeti. It gets messy.
Joyce: Yeti? You mean Abominable Snowmen?
Nick St. North: "Abominable" is not the preferred designation. As native Himalayans, they prefer "Yeti" or Abominable Snowperson.
Joyce: So you have Abominable Snowpersons working at the North Pole?
Nick St. North: Oh yes! They actually do most of the toy development and construction. Which I am still, like, amazed by. I mean their fingers are huge, HUGE. Big as bean bag chairs. But they can do detail work! All the little stuff--eyes on dolls, you name it. They're also awesome warriors, super tidy and excellent at baking. Their cookies? Outta control and Low Cal.
Joyce: What about the elves? They don’t do toys?
Nick St. North: No, no, no, no. That's a huge misconception. The elves just play with the toys as sort of market testing ... to see if they're, you know, fun. Otherwise they're just sort of custodial ... sweeping, mopping. Oh! And they do party decorations and caroling. 20,000 elves singing 'Oh, Christmas Tree'? I get teary just talking about it.
Joyce: What do you think would have happened to you if you weren't chosen to be a Guardian?
Nick St. North: Definitely not retail or politics. They're too, too, I don't know ... pushy. I've always liked gardening. Landscape architect? Or social work? Or maybe directing. Features only. No TV.
Joyce: How would you most like to be remembered?
Nick St. North: Probably the whole Christmas Day thing. And my work with reindeer. Proud of that. And the kids. Yeah. My work with the kids, that's the biggie.
Joyce, William (Author) and Geringer, Laura (Author) , Joyce, William (Illustrator)
Oct 2011. 240 p. Atheneum, hardcover, $14.99. (9781442430488).
The first book in The Guardians series hints at the origins of Santa Claus; here, a thievish rogue named
Nicholas St. North is drawn to the magical Siberian town of Santoff Claussen to defend it against Pitch,
the Nightmare King. Though Santoff Claussen is saved, wizard Ombric Shalazar knows the battle with
Pitch and his shadowy Fearlings has just begun; having escaped after 1,000 years of imprisonment, Pitch
seeks to poison the dreams of all of Earth’s children. Ombric, impressed with North’s (repressed)
goodness, recruits him for a quest to find five ancient relics that will defeat Pitch. Ombric’s adventurous
ward Katherine; a tiny, spectral boy named Nightlight; and a robot djinni join them. A battle in the
Himalayas ends well, with the band obtaining the first relic, but Pitch’s return is inevitable. Joyce’s
detailed illustrations capture the multitude of fantastical settings, weapons, and creatures populating this
fast-paced tale. Though occasionally sentimental and lacking in tension, especially when the power of
belief easily breaks evil spells and revives beloved dead wizards, the story’s inventiveness wins out.
--BOOKLIST, November 1, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Book Review & Giveaway: Nicholas St. North And The Battle of the Nightmare King (The Guardians Book 1) by WIlliam Joyce & Laura Geringer
By: William Joyce & Laura Geringer
Published by: Simon & Schuster Kids
Released on: October 4th, 2011
Source: book from publisher to review
Ages: 8 & up
5 stars: This is a MUST HAVE MG!
Purchase from: Simon & Schuster | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound
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. -quoted from Goodreads
Nicholas St. North and The Battle of the Nightmare King is an enchanting story with a rich mythology and is set in a world that's full of legend, adventure and action. This is a story that will appeal to adult readers and engage young readers as they meet mythological creatures, learn about ancient legends and experience the magic of Nicholas St. North's story. This fascinating world will allow young reader's imaginations to run wild as they are introduced to old world forklore that has a bit of Russian tradition mixed into it.
This is a book I think that will be most appealing to younger readers. It's an exciting read, with beautiful illustrations, and has a bit of a old fashion feel to it. William Joyce and Laura Geringer's writing is fabulous. It's easy to read and has a poetic feel to it. I didn't need to feel a connection to their characters to fall in love with this story. Their writing and world building are what made this book for me. To put it simply, I was captivated by the book. I swear I turned into a little kid again, as the excitement of this story came to life for me.
The only compliant I have, and this is the adult reader side of me saying this, I didn't like that it took so long to introduce the the heroine of the story. Had I been a preteen reading this, it wouldn't have bothered me at all. It's still a 5 star book for me, as this is one MG book I'd highly recommend picking up for Christmas/the holiday season. It's such a fun, action packed, quick read that even a reluctant reader will enjoy it. I'd be surprised if this book wasn't made into a movie. I'm definitely looking forward to more of William Joyce's MG/YA books.
Be sure to visit The Guardians of Childhood website to learn more this book and the next 5 books that will follow it. I'm looking forward to reading this series! You can read an excerpt here Thank you to Simon & Schuster, we have 2 copies we're giving away!! To enter, please fill out the form below.
--Mundie Moms Blog, http://mundiemoms.blogspot.com/2011/12/book-review-giveaway-nicholas-st-north.html
Joyce, William and Laura Geringer
Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King
2011. 240pp. $14.99 hc. Atheneum (Simon & Schuster). 978-1-4424-3048-8. Grades 3-6
Good triumphs over evil in this epic tale that takes the reader to a fantasy world inhabited by protective moonbeams, learned wizards, a guardian bear, etc. A moonbeam saves Nightlight, a spectral boy, from the Nightmare King who vows to steal the dreams of innocent children and replace them with night terrors. With the help of Nicholas St. North, a notorious thief, and Nightlight a village is able to ward off the Nightmare King. By incorporating icons such as Santa Claus and the Man in the Moon, mentioning the work of familiar artists such as da Vinci, and setting part of the story in old Russia, Joyce and Gerringer draw children into a world of fantasy grounded in reality. William Joyce’s magnificently creative illustrations, rendered in charcoal, graphite, and digital media have an old world feel that extends the text. In the world of fantasy, this book rises above the rest.
--Library Media Connection, March/April 2012
JOYCE, William & Laura Geringer. Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King. Bk. 1. illus. by William Joyce. 228p. (The Guardians Series). CIP. S & S/Atheneum. 2011. Tr $14.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-3048-8; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-3575-9. LC 2011015074.
Gr 4-6–A meteor strikes Earth and from the giant crater it creates, a tree grows. Ombirc, a wise, ancient wizard, tends it and recognizes its magic. Soon the tree is large enough to house not only Ombirc, but a whole community of curious dreamers who live in harmony with nature and with one another. All is well in Ombirc’s small, idyllic village until Pitch, the Nightmare King, is released from his prison to spread his evil across the land and infiltrate Santoff Claussen. Enter the heroes, Nicholas St. North, a wandering bandit-turned-good-guy, and Young Tsar Lunar, last member of the Lunanoffs and the protector of dreams. Together with Ombric and Katherine, a young resident of Santoff Claussen, these forces defeat The Nightmare King. This is an imaginative adventure with more than its share of fantastical beings and occurrences. In fact, there may be so many strange people, places, and things that struggling readers may find themselves distracted from the story. Some of the language is also a bit awkward. That being said, the authors do a great job of creating excitement and intrigue, and for those who love to wend their way through extraordinary tales, this novel will not disappoint. The illustrations are wonderful charcoal, graphite, and digital renderings that convey all the magic and fear contained within the story. Fans of Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s Peter and the Starcatchers (Hyperion, 2004) may want to give this book a try.
SLJ, January 2012
NICHOLAS ST. NORTH AND THE BATTLE OF THE NIGHTMARE KING
Author: Joyce, William
Author: Geringer, Laura
Illustrator: Joyce, William
Streaks of preciousness mar, or at least mark, an “origins” tale framed as a monumental struggle between the King of Nightmares and a Cossack bandit plainly destined for a later career bringing gifts to children on Christmas Eve.
Escaping 1,000 years of captivity, Pitch, the Nightmare King, has sent hordes of Fearlings out to darken the dreams of children worldwide and attacked the happy Siberian town of Santoff Claussen. Orchestrated by Tsar Lunar, the Man in the Moon, a small company sets out to gather the first of five ancient relics that will help defeat Pitch. The band is made up of kindly old wizard Ombric Shalazar (last survivor of Atlantis and inventor of “time, gravity, and bouncing balls!”); his ward, the intrepid young orphan Katherine; a mysterious elfin creature; and, last but not least, Nicholas St. North—an exuberant former bandit chieftain turned inventor who is “no longer a thief of treasures but a buccaneer of fun” thanks to Ombric's tutelage in magic and science. With help from an army of yetis led by the Lunar Lamas (who are quaintly described as “inscrutable” and also look identical in the accompanying illustration), Pitch is fended off in a great battle in the Himalayas, the relic is recovered and it's off to further episodes. Many further episodes, as this is just the opening novel in an ambitious multimedia project dubbed “The Guardians of Childhood.” (The Man in the Moon, 2011, is the companion opening picture book in the project.)
A quick read, with plenty of rococo weapons, characters and creatures (notably reindeer).
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2011