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Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King
Cover of Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King
Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King
Guardians of Childhood Series, Book 1
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Forget naughty or nice—this is a battle of good vs. evil. Discover the origins of St. Nick and follow along as the Guardians start their quest to rid the world of nightmares in the first...
Forget naughty or nice—this is a battle of good vs. evil. Discover the origins of St. Nick and follow along as the Guardians start their quest to rid the world of nightmares in the first...
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Description-

  • Forget naughty or nice—this is a battle of good vs. evil.

    Discover the origins of St. Nick and follow along as the Guardians start their quest to rid the world of nightmares in the first Guardians chapter book from Academy Award winner William Joyce that inspired the beloved film, The Rise of the Guardians.
    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.

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    Chapter One

    In Which The Great War
    Is Renewed

    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 nights--the Moon. It was there, full and bright.

    At that moment a young moonbeam shot down from the sky and through the window. Like all beams, it had a mission: Protectthe children.

    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, wasn't right. The beam ricocheted off the small glass mirror above the children's chest of drawers and out the window.

    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 woods--a place the settlers feared and rarely ventured. Like a searchlight, the beam shot out into the darkness until it found a cave.

    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.

    The moonbeam wavered and then--not sure if it was being brave or foolish--dropped down, following the shadows into the pit below.

    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!

    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 weren't shadows at all! They were creatures--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 Men--slaves of the Nightmare King!

    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 weapon's crystal hilt.

    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 blade's tip. It was trapped, suspended in Pitch's frozen, glassy heart. Pitch's chest began to glow from within as the moonbeam ricocheted about in a frenzy,...

About the Author-

  • William Joyce does a lot of stuff but children's books are his true bailiwick (The Guardians series, Dinosaur Bob series, George Shrinks, and the #1 New York Times bestselling The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which is also his Academy Award–winning short film, to name a few). He lives in Shreveport, Louisiana. Talk to William Joyce and see upcoming work at @HeyBillJoyce on Twitter and Instagram.

Reviews-

  • DOGO Books happyface7 - This book was great. I really loved it. It is the best book ever. I totally recommend it to everybody
  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 12, 2011
    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.

  • Kirkus

    September 15, 2011

    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). (Fantasy. 9-11)

    (COPYRIGHT (2011) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • School Library Journal

    January 1, 2012

    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.-Mary Beth Rassulo, Ridgefield Library, CT

    Copyright 2012 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Guardians of Childhood Series, Book 1
William Joyce
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William Joyce
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