Wiener Sausage: The Musical! with him.
But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be pleasantly surprised. His latest work takes a detour from his stop-and-start blog, his non-profit leadership, his masterful on-stage storytelling, and this past weekend's zany turn at Chief Ike's Mambo Room in Adams Morgan as the world's leading "vajazzler" (don't ask).
It's a children's holiday book called Remington the Christmas Mouse. This story, much like Wiener Sausage (some might say), is a little raw but has a lot of promise.
The premise is creative: The star has fallen off the top of the Green Family's Christmas tree and without it being set properly in place to rise up the chimney and into the sky to light the way to the Green's house for Santa, the family will have to make due without a Christmas.
Enter Remington, an ornament who lives near the bottom of the tree. He realizes the star needs to make it back to the top of the tree but he also knows that the tree's hierarchical cliques of ornaments (the best and prettiest ones get to have all the fun at the top) will make this a treacherous and near impossible journey. He recruits a couple of other bottom-of-the-tree outcasts, a bear and a clock, who help him navigate upwards.
The story is great and captivating. My recommendation, however, is that Remington would work better as a shorter children's book with lots more illustration from Kate Sullivan Nelson. Also, in the Amazon Kindle version I read, there were a dozen or so errors (where words were misspelled or misplaced), so that should be cleaned up. Finally, I'm not sure all the talk of Remington and his pals clearly being inferior because they are not as good-looking as the top-of-the-tree dwellers works for a children's book, where inclusivity and diversity are qualities worth reinforcing for young children. I would say there could be a better (and perhaps even funnier) way to highlight the social differences of the various ornaments.
A lot of promise from Mr. Sullivan is displayed in this book, and "children's storyteller" is clearly yet another side of of this artist that is well worth exploring further.
**** out of ***** stars
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