These stories were a huge
influence on John as a little boy. According to Norman's book, he would often fashion himself as the main character William Brown. Here is the description of William found on page 50 of Norman's bio:
William is a many-sided character; a leader whose authority over his followers is absolute; a daydreamer who imagines exotic careers as a big-game hunter, secret agent, or circus clown; a virtuoso of scorn and sarcasm and an inventive liar; an exhibitionist, given to singing at the top of his voice, playing mouth organs and trumpets at top volume, dressing up in exotic clothes, and wearing elaborate false beards and mustaches; a hustler, forever trying to raise money for new water pistols or cricket bats; a tender-hearted animal lover; a tireless novelty seeker and observer of new trends and fashions; an indefatigable writer of lurid stories, dramas, and poems in his own individual spelling; and organizer of plays, shows, and exhibitions in his bedroom or the Old Barn. His greatest joy is to escape from his own genteel environment and run around with "vulgar" working-class children, swapping his nice clothes for their fancy ones and trying ti imitate the crudeness of their speech. His spirits are never lower than when he is discovered among these unsuitable companions and restores to the outraged bosom of his family."
Well, damn. If that isn't SO John...
The book is out of print, but you can buy the entire collection on audio CD used on Amazon
for a little more than $38 and counting.
If you want the actual book collection, you'd have to pay over $300 for the collection.