Fruit of the Vine


By Ellen Weisberg & Ken Yoffe

ISBN: 978-1-84991-124-5
Published: 2010
Pages: 24
Key Themes: animation, children's book, imagination, bullying



In “Fruit of the Vine,” we meet Justin, a sensitive, introspective boy whose physical features and personality make him a convenient target for many of his cruel peers. One night, he wakes to find himself on a mysterious island, which is inhabited by a horde of bizarre creatures. Despite his desperation to find out where he is and, more importantly, how to get home, he becomes involved in the plight of Irvino, a beast who is ostracized on this island much in the way that Justin is in his own world. The story ends with a twist as Justin, in helping Irvino, ends up helping himself by making a lifelong friend out of Irvino. In essence, the protagonist of "Fruit of the Vine" saves himself by saving his savior, but not in typical fashion. “Fruit of the Vine” is unique from other books in the fantasy genre in that it is meant not only for the grade school-aged fantasy reader, but also for anyone interested in the topic of bullies, and how altruistic qualities can develop in children.

About the Author

Ellen Weisberg, 43, is a research scientist working in the field of leukemia. Her literary publications include the young adult novel, “Gathering Roses” (Chipmunkapublishing, 2007 Ellen has also co-authored and illustrated several children’s geography books in collaboration with her husband, Ken Yoffe, 42, a pediatrician. Their geography series includes “All Across Canada” (Chipmunkapublishing, 2008), and “All Across China” (Chipmunkapublishing, 2009). Ellen and Ken are members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). They and their daughter, Emily, live in Nashua, NH.

Book Extract

“Nerd!” “Heh, heh! Loser!” Justin stepped off the school bus and trudged along the side of the road. He stared hard at the dirt and pebbles that tumbled underneath him. He watched the dust swirl around his feet as he walked, the tiny stones dancing and bouncing off the tips of his sneakers. Concentrating, his head bowed low and his eyes fixed on the ground, he was still unable to block out the shouts from the bus’s windows as the vehicle revved its engine.

“Geek!” “Weirdo!” Someone threw a ripened banana peel out of one of the windows. It landed on a patch of gravel in front of him. “Don’t slip!” someone yelled. Just as Justin stepped over the slimy black and yellow peel, someone tossed an empty milk carton out of a window and hurled grapes that bounced off the small of his back. “Why don’t you go back to the planet you came from, you alien spaceoid extraterrestrial freakazoid!” A chorus of cackling erupted after the final shout out, and gradually disappeared behind the roar of the engine as the school bus pulled away.

He cradled his upper body in his arms and quickened his pace. With his long thin fingers he could feel how bony his elbows were. He could picture the kids on the bus studying the angles of his narrow face and his long chin. His ears were too big and his nose was long and pointy. His eyes were beady and hidden behind wire-framed glasses. He felt that he must have been some sight, much like the bearded fat lady or tap- dancing Siamese twins at a carnival freak show. The difference was that while those people welcomed an ogling crowd, all Justin wanted was to be invisible. At the very least he wanted to blend into the scenery like the stones and dirt he shuffled with his feet on his way home.

It was night, and Justin crawled into bed. He pulled an afghan first over his long chin and tiny mouth, then over his big nose, and finally over his small eyes. A hint of light broke through some woven holes in the blanket over his head. He wanted it to be darker, but he was too exhausted to walk outside his bedroom to pull the hallway night light out of its socket. He couldn’t even muster the energy to just inch his way over to his bedroom door and close it. He squeezed his eyes shut trying to make his world as black and motionless as he possibly could, and waited for everything to disappear.

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This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 24 March, 2010.