This is an inflatable campfire. Amazon has them for $12.99, and I like to think they come in a box marked DANGER: HIGHLY INFLATABLE, but they probably don’t. I first encountered them during a recent Parents As Reading Partners event at a nearby elementary school, which I participated in with three other local authors.
For me, the most memorable moment of the evening occurred when I looked up from my book, from which I had just read a passage about three kids finding a crayon between some sofa cushions, to see a fifth-grade boy sitting a few feet from me, engrossed in a book three times the size of mine. I asked him what it was. He held it up so I could see. It was The Collected Works of H. P. Lovecraft. So I’m reading about crayons, and my audience is reading the Necronomicon. I told the kid Cthulhu would get him for this. (And, I swear, as I said the name Cthulhu, all the campfires in the room deflated a little. It was a creepy moment.)
The event was a great success. By the end of the evening the kids were pumped, and the campfires much less so. Mine had a distinct list to it, and so did I. I'm not as good at sitting cross-legged on the floor as I used to be.