Readers first met the Peeler family as they went on a hilarious summer road trip in The Way to Schenectady. Now winter has come and with it the school holiday pageant. Jane Peeler, who loves to be the boss at all times, is directing her class production of The Nutcracker. All does not go as well as she planned as she finds the plot of the presentation creeping into her own life. First, there are problems at school, caused by a gym teacher who wants the gym for basketball, not for rehearsal space. Then there’s a budding romance in the cast. At home, Dad has come down with an illness, and Grandma — grumpy, chain-smoking, profane Grandma — comes back on the scene as a reluctant baby-sitter to Jane and her younger brothers Bill and Bernie.
The fun that ensues is pure Scrimger, and is sure to delight his legion of fans.
A columnist and novelist, Richard Scrimger grew up in Toronto, always writing but never really considering it a career, until after the birth of his first two children, twins, when he discovered the only time he could seriously write was during their naps. His style clearly demonstrates the influence of his experiences as a waiter in Toronto’s upscale restaurants, and as a stay-at-home father to his four children.
Genuinely witty, his work can be described as multi-dimensional - comic elements ride upon the surface, supported by varying levels of seriousness underneath.
Columns detailing Richard’s adventures in parenthood have been published in The Globe and Mail, Chatelaine, and Today’s Parent, and were compiled in a collection titled Still Life with Children. His first adult novel, Crosstown, was a finalist for the City of Toronto Book Award. His first children’s novel, The Nose from Jupiter, won the 10th annual Mr. Christie Book Award, was selected as an A.B.A. Kid’s Pick of the List title, and was a finalist for the Ontario Library Association’s 1999 Silver Birch Award.
Richard Scrimger is also the author of The Way to Schenectady about the adventures of the Peeler family on the road; Mystical Rose, an adult novel; and a sequel to The Nose from Jupiter entitled A Nose for Adventure. In 2001 Scrimger published Bun Bun’s Birthday a picture book illustrated by Gillian Johnson, and a Peeler Christmas story called Of Mice and Nutcrackers. He and his family live in Cobourg, Ontario.
“All manner of things go wrong, although eventually many things go very right. Getting to there is full of antic humour…but underlying the fun is…a weightiness driven by the novel's characters and their concerns, which makes this novel most satisfying.”
–The Globe and Mail