About “A” is for the Alchemist
Sisters and brothers. Cats and dogs. Science and sports. Rivals or allies? Author James Larson plunges into the madcap world of middle school with his new Winnie and Winslow Adventure series.
The first book, “A” is for the Alchemist, introduces readers to twelve-year-old Winslow, who wants to do well in the upcoming football championship, and his brilliant kid sister, Winnie, who is finishing her sure-to-win entry for the national science contest—a robot designed with unique artificial intelligence that enables it to sing any and every piece of music.
Unbeknownst to them, Winnie and Winslow’s brilliance and bravery are about to be tested by a mad scientist who will stop at nothing to master the art of turning base metal into gold. And he’s just discovered that Winnie’s robot holds the key to his formula.
Joined by Cavalcade, the family cat, and Amulet, a cowardly homeless dog who dreams of being part of the family, too, Winnie and Winslow must set aside their differences and pool their resources if they have any hope of stopping the villainous alchemist before he kills anyone.
A thrilling middle grade adventure that will keep you guessing—and laughing—from start to finish, you’ll be glad this is just the beginning.
James Larson, Artistic Director and Writer
For twenty-eight years James served as Artistic Director of the Omaha Theater Company and first established the education, touring, and multicultural programs that are currently in operation. James was also Associate Professor of Theater at New York University and Director of Educational Theater at NYU. As an actor, James has performed from coast to coast with Megan Terry’s Magic Theatre, performing for the athletes in the Olympic Village at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics in 1980 and at the Seattle Bumbershoot Festival in 1979. He studied acting with the late Zbigniew Cynkutis, principal actor with Jerzy Grotowski’s Polish Theater Laboratory. As a playwright, James has had his plays produced around the country and overseas at the Edinburgh Theater Festival, with several productions in New York City at venues such as the Wonderhorse and he has been the recipient of a Rockefeller grant and a grant from the Advanced Office of Drama Research for his playwriting. His stage adaptation of Mercer Meyer’s There’s an Alligator Under my Bed is available from PlayScripts, Inc., in New York. James has brought playwrights such as Tony Award-winning Mark Medoff, National Book Award-recipient Robert Bly, Pulitzer Prize-nominee Joe Sutton, and Obie Award-winning, Guggenheim recipient Megan Terry to write for the Omaha Theater Company, and has brought in all the leading writers in the field of Theater for Young Audiences, along with former Artistic Director of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company, Everett Quinton, and three-time Academy Award-nominee, Debra Winger, and best-selling children’s author in the history of publishing, Stan Berenstain, who wrote and designed scenery for two shows at the theater, and musical director of the Tony Awards each year, Elliot Lawrence. James has been published in American Theater, in the Drama/Theater Teacher, Stage Directions, and in all the major journals for Educational Theater. He has served on theater review panels for the Doris Duke Foundation and the Mellon Foundation, and has served as a reader for the NEA Playwriting Awards. He was recently Guest Director at the Theatre School at Florida State University. Under his leadership, the Omaha Theater Company received the highest award in its field, the Sara Spencer Artistic Achievement Award, and the Nebraska Governor’s Organizational Achievement Award. James received his Ph.D. in Theater from the University of Kansas, where he was the recipient of the Kilty Kane award, the highest award the university can give to a graduating theater student.
Reviewed by Mr. O
I did like this book. It was very exciting and a little spooky, along with plenty of interesting characters. One of the things I liked about the book was that Winnie made a robot and she is just about my age, 10. I also like Winslow because he does sports just like me. It was exciting when the van, with Omega in it, turned every color in the rainbow and then disappeared. The writing is a little challenging for me, but as I read it is getting easier. I'm not quite done with the book, but I am looking forward to what will happen next.
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