Home Alone: The Limits of Independence

Literary Hill

93
Local writer Christopher Datta and artist Christine Vineyard team up for a new children’s book, “Christopher Fries an Egg.”

Everything is going swimmingly for Christopher after his mother decides he’s old enough to stay home alone, “free to do whatever he wanted for the very first time.”

To show how well he can take care of himself, he cleans his room, vacuums under the sofa, and even washes the breakfast dishes. The furniture compliments him—”I’d like to say how glad we are that it’s your house now,” says the sofa—and the appliances all hum with approval.

Emboldened by his success, he scoffs at the refrigerator’s suggestion of a peanut butter sandwich for lunch and decides instead to fry himself an egg.

And that’s when all hell breaks loose.

In “Christopher Fries an Egg,” author Christopher Datta brings to life a day when a little boy discovers the limits of his new-found independence—and finds an unlikely ally. It’s a sweet fantasy, “peopled” with stoves that talk and a fried egg that sprouts arms and legs so it can vengefully stalk him all over the house. ‘“Here’s Christopher!’ bellowed the egg. ‘And it’s his turn to sit in the frying pan because now the house is mine!’”

Artist Christine Vineyard’s whimsical illustrations perfectly capture the action, as the once-friendly household objects turn on the hapless boy. Between Datta and Vineyard, “Christopher Fries an Egg” is a match made in kiddie-lit heaven. Parents will be charmed and kids might gain a better understanding of their limitations (although whether they’ll be inspired to clean their rooms is another story).

Christopher Datta is the author of four novels for grown-ups—“Touched with Fire,” Fire and Dust,” “The Demon Stone,” and “A Perfect Disguise”—as well as two memoirs, “Guardians of the Grail: A Life of Diplomacy on the Edge” and “Run Scout Run.” Christine Vineyard is the author of “Good Jokes Bad Drawings” and her art, including renderings of local landmarks, is available at www.lidflutters.com.