Light-hearted stories for all ages
© Heather Killen photo
Bob Bent's new book of stories, "Have Yourself a Silly Little Christmas" was inspired by his family and offers a little laughter for the holidays.
Little eyes will have big ears for Bob Bent’s new book, “Have Yourself a Silly Little Christmas.”
The Lawrencetown-based accountant and author said he started making up Christmas stories 10 years ago when his granddaughter, Natalia, was born.
His first story “Floppy New Ears!” began with a conversation on the way home from the hospital, when someone worried the new baby may have inherited her ears. Bent was inspired to write a story about a bunny and delivered it the next week along withy a toy rabbit.
The story was such a hit, Bent wrote another the following week for two more of his grandchildren. He has written a special story around one, or two, of his grandchildren every year since.
So far his eight grandchildren, one great-grandchild and a few great nephews have all been featured in at least one of the holiday stories. The stories are not just centered around Christmas, some take place at Halloween and Easter.
Bent sometimes includes his daughters and son-in-laws and says he wanted to write stories for the children that would also entertain the parents. Many of the stories start in Paradise and go as far as the North Pole and back, he says.
One story, based in Halifax, got an amusing reaction from one of the locals. Bent said he had been shopping around to find stores willing to sell, “Have Yourself a Silly Little Christmas,” and one man agreed.
Bent left him with a copy while he went back to the car to pick up more. When he returned, the man was shaking his head as if he was annoyed. He had been reading, “The Fourteenth Story” a tale set in Halifax, that features two of Bent’s granddaughters who’d gone to see Justin Beiber, said to be staying in the 14 story of the Bluenose Hotel. The girls soon have an adventure when they discover an iceberg in Halifax Harbour.
“The bookseller was just shaking his head at me,” he said. “Then he says, that’ll never fit under the bridge.”
This year Bent said he decided to compile them—14 in all—with 42 illustrations provided by Andrea Wood, a local animation artist who graduated from the digital animation program at the Nova Scotia Community College.
Wood, who went to school with his granddaughter, created three illustrations for each story, adding her own touches with “Toast”, a clumsy elf who appears throughout the book and is hidden in various pictures.
Bent says when his three children were young, he would read them stories like “Lord of The Rings” and “The Hobbit”. He would use various voices to tell story and whenever he mixed up the character’s voices, the children would call him on it.
“That’s not the right voice, they’d say,” he said. “Sometimes we would have some animated discussions over the stories.”
While all the Christmas stories he writes for his grandchildren are light-hearted, several have serious themes. “Christmas Isn’t Fair” features Dennis, Dominic and Dominic’s dad who all help Ralph, the Elf, deliver gifts after Santa comes down with a bad case of the chimney flu.
Dominic’s dad (a pilot in real life) drives the sleigh while the boys help deliver gifts. The boys learn an important lesson in economics throughout the evening-- sometimes the best people have very little under the tree.
Other stories like, “The North Pole is Melting,” gives parents and children an opportunity to talk about what is happening in the world.
“Have Yourself a Silly Little Christmas” is available at Blue Griffin Books in Middleton, the Pharmasave in Kingston, Middleton and Bridgetown, Triple Play Tax in Lawrencetown, Endless Shores Books in Bridgetown, and the Mad Hatter in Annapolis Royal. Call Bob Bent at 824-1685.