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Friday, March 15, 2024

AWARENESS TOUR: Night Buddies and Evil School Bus #264 by Sands Hetherington, Illustrated by Natalie Leininger - GUEST POST + GIVEAWAY!

Evil school buses?  Shenanigan creating iguanas?  Evil doings?  Well then, it sounds like today's featured title has arrived via our second tour via The Children's Book Review!  After you catch a sneaky peek at the title in question, KEEP READING for a curious GUEST POST from the author PLUS your chance to win in the tour wide giveaway!

Sands Hetherington
Illustrated by
Natalie Leininger
Ages 7+ | 156 Pages
Dune Buggy Press

About the book...

The iguanas are back to their stinky shenanigans. They’ve fitted out the flying school bus for real mischief and are marauding all over the Borough. They’ve really got it in for John and Crosley, who must sniff out their evildoings before it’s too late! Will they succeed? Join the Night Buddies in their racing blimp for this exciting new adventure!


Guest Post with Author Sands Hetherington

I am a crummy essay writer. Just ask John and Crosley, the main characters in my Night Buddies series of books. They’d agree. My first year in college English was all essay-writing, and all I got was D’s. I deserved D’s.

I can dream up characters like John, Crosley, Crenwinkle, Big Foot Mae, and others, like in the Night Buddies adventures, and put them into stories, but ESSAYS? What in the ever-loving world do I put in an ESSAY?

Okay, though, OKAY. If I really must, I suppose it must be something I know about, right? I’ll tell you something I REALLY know about. It’s downright dull, but I just got through it this morning, with a little encouragement from John and Cros, who know about these things because of their racing blimp and the upkeep that goes along with it.

It’s about changing the oil on my 29-year-old Honda hatchback. I do this once a year. I have a more presentable car, but the Honda is my favorite. It does everything, and I never feel like I need to wash it. I do clean the windows when I can’t see out any longer (maybe once a year), and I usually vacuum the floors at the same time (more convenient), WHICH IS NOT TO SAY THAT I DON’T MAINTAIN THE MECHANICALS SCRUPULOUSLY. John and Cros would be disappointed if I didn’t. And so, the Honda runs great, and I trust it to go anywhere. It can still go 111 MPH, get 48 MPG, and has never shut down on me. The grimy looks don’t bother me. I find it kind of endearing.

But hey, this started out about changing the oil. This operation is fundamental to auto maintenance. Just about anybody will tell you that, including John and Crosley. (Unless the vehicle is electric?) So anyway, here’s what I did. (This is going to be dull, but you can do the job too if you can get an arm underneath your car and reach the sump plug. You usually can’t with the newer cars.)

So, I got in the Honda and drove the three miles to Walmart. You want to warm the oil up so it will drain easily. I picked up a few odd groceries, then headed to the back of the store where they keep the car stuff. There were rows and rows of all kinds of oil. I found four quart bottles of 5W-30 like it says to use in the manual. I paid and went home and parked in the garage where it’s level.

Then I went and fetched this big steel dogfood pan and a 17mm wrench. I raised the car hood and unscrewed the oil filler cap. Then I lay down on my side just behind the left rear wheel and shined my flashlight in.

The sump plug was where it had been since the car left Honda/Canada. I reached the wrench in as far as I could and got it on the plug. Two or three hard yanks and the thing came loose, and I unscrewed it with my fingers. It was HOT, and I jerked my hand back when it clanked into the pan with a gush of hot, black oil.

You need to give these things time. They can drip for hours, and you want to let all the crud come out. I went in the house and made a peanut butter and banana sandwich and sat down and ate it. I would have had a slice of Pineapple Cheesecake for dessert, but Crosley scarfed all of those down a long time ago. Then I grabbed some paper towels and went back outside.

I dragged the pan out and stuck the paper towels under the sump, then I poured the hot oil into a five-gallon can, to be recycled when it was full. I retrieved the plug and wiped it off with the paper towels and screwed it back into the sump. This left a little oil on the garage floor, and I wiped it up with the towels and threw them in the garbage can.

The rest was easier. The car holds three-and-a-half quarts of oil, and I poured in three quarts. Then I carefully poured in half of the last quart. There’s a transparent gauge on the bottle so you can do this accurately. I put the tops back on the four bottles and threw them in the trash. Did I say the garbage can is just outside the garage?

I screwed the oil cap back on the top of the engine, shut the hood, and went back in the house. Should I live, I’ll do the same thing next year. If I don’t live, the Honda will be around and looking for new oil.

So there! That’s how I changed my oil, and that’s all I can think of to say, except I made John and Cros proud!


About the author...

Sands Hetherington, creator of the Night Buddies series of chapter books, credits his son John for being his principal motivator. Sands and young John developed the Crosley crocodile character in the series during months of bedtime story give-and-take. They collaborated many nights on escapades starring John and Crosley until, eventually, it occurred to Sands why it was that Crosley was bright red. That was when the first book came together.

Sands majored in history at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and has an M.F.A. in creative writing and an M.A. in English from UNC-Greensboro. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.

For more information, visit



About the illustrator...

Natalie Leininger, illustrator of the 4th title in the Night Buddies series, grew up in New Jersey and has been drawing ever since she was young. She now lives in Nebraska and attends the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, studying the fine arts. She is in her third year at the university, primarily practicing oil painting, but spends time outside of the classroom working on a variety of projects. She has always enjoyed being with children, which made illustrating and working on Night Buddies such an enjoyable project!

Natalie strives to capture our world in bloom. Whether it be through the literal sense of a blooming flower or the simple act of sketching a character’s smile spreading across their face, her art is a place for all to engage in their own way.


~~~   GIVEAWAY   ~~~

Enter the giveaway for for your chance to win an autographed 4-book series, including Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare; Night Buddies and One Far-out Flying Machine; Night Buddies Go Sky High, and Night Buddies and Evil School Bus #264!


Special thanks to Bianca at The Children's Book Review for the chance to bring this tour to you and to the author for sharing a bit of themselves with the guest post. (THANKS!) This post is sponsored by Sands Hetherington. The review and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view. For more information on this title, the author, the publisher, this tour, or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above. Be sure to check out the rest of the stops on the tour for more bookish fun!


Monday, March 4, 2024
Book Review of Night Buddies and Evil School Bus #264

Tuesday, March 5, 2024
Book Review of Night Buddies and Evil School Bus #264

Wednesday, March 6, 2024
Book Review of Night Buddies and Evil School Bus #264

Thursday, March 7, 2024
Book Review of Night Buddies and Evil School Bus #264

Friday, March 8, 2024
Book Review of Night Buddies and Evil School Bus #264

Sunday, March 10, 2024
Book Review of Night Buddies and Evil School Bus #264

Monday, March 11, 2024
An Interview with Sands Hetherington

Tuesday, March 12, 2024
Book Review of Night Buddies and Evil School Bus #264

Wednesday, March 13, 2024
An Interview with Sands Hetherington

Thursday, March 14, 2024
Book Spotlight of Night Buddies and Evil School Bus #264

Friday, March 15, 2024
An article by Author Sands Hetherington

Sunday, March 17, 2024
Book Review of Night Buddies and Evil School Bus #264

Monday, March 18, 2024
An Interview with Sands Hetherington

Tuesday, March 19, 2024
Book Review of Night Buddies and Evil School Bus #264

Wednesday, March 20, 2024
Book Review of Night Buddies and Evil School Bus #264

Thursday, March 21, 2024
Book Review of Night Buddies and Evil School Bus #264

Monday, March 25, 2024
Book Review of Night Buddies and Evil School Bus #264

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!

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