Bucky and the Navigator
by Kristiana Pelot
BookVenture Publishing, LLC

"At night when all the family sleeps, he is awake with the fear of sounds. How can his family sleep with the Night Wheezers loose in their home?"

Alone in his dark room, Bucky listens for the strange noises that have been keeping him awake at night. He calls the culprits—makers of the strange, loud, rhythmic noises disturbing his peace of mind—The Night Wheezers. With the help of the Navigator, the special blanket his grandmother made for him when he was born, he will put aside his fear and find the creatures who make these harsh, strange noises before any danger comes to his family.

Bucky’s fear of unusual night noises is a common childhood experience, but Bucky possesses both uncommon valor and a friend and protector in the Navigator. His faith in the much-loved blanket helps him overcome his fear in his attempt to protect his family from the evasive Night Wheezers. Wearing the blanket like a cape, Bucky searches the house, following the trail of their eerie sound. But each time Bucky gets close, the wheezing ceases, and the trail is lost. Will Bucky ever solve the mystery of the night sounds? Will he find the source of this horrifying noise before it’s too late? Can this 7-year-old boy and his trusted blanket step up to the challenge and save the family?

This whimsical book concerns the consequences of letting one’s imagination build into a frenzy. Filled with suspense and humor, it is enjoyable for adults as well as children. It explores the wonders of imagination in Bucky’s turning his baby blanket into his best buddy who looks after him and shares the risks of protecting the family. Pelot has a knack for creating suspense as Bucky searches through the house trying to pinpoint the exact location of the noise. All who read the book will have, to some degree, experienced a feeling of dread or fear during childhood while lying in the dark and tensing at each unfamiliar sound. Using this normal part of childhood to create an imaginative tale of adventure gives parents and young readers an intriguing impetus for discussing their own experiences and worries.

Pelot’s theme is akin to other books for young readers such as What Was That? by Geda Bradley Matthews and What’s That Noise? by William Carman. Reading Pelot’s book with young children opens the door to sharing stories of childhood memories and imagination gone awry—a comfort to the child who probably assumes he or she is the only one who suffers fear of wayward noises in the night. Most children, like Bucky, have a special animal, toy, or blanket and can easily relate to the relationship between Bucky and the Navigator. The narrative gives parents an opportunity to share stories of their own special, childhood source of comfort, leading to more in-depth conversations about growing up. Children will find comfort in knowing their fears are common occurrences experienced by everyone. Because her book addresses this universal emotion, Pelot offers parents a way to address children’s worries in the casual setting of reading. The book’s wonderfully humorous ending will have both parties easing the frightened child’s tension through shared laughter.

The countless stories of children’s phobias she must have heard during her 43-year career as a barber/stylist and her passion for quilting which has rendered many treasured blankets for children have undoubtedly provided the author with a wealth of experience to aid in the crafting of a tale like this. Teaming up with illustrator Laura Yeakey to bring her imagination to life has produced stunning color drawings to accompany the narrative. With Bucky and his cloth companion’s first adventure behind them, one can only anticipate what lies in store for the two heroes. Hopefully, their future adventures will be entertaining readers soon.

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