Monday, November 11, 2013

Mr. Pig Live!

Hello and welcome to my talk show . . .  Mr. Pig Live! 

Today's guest is the stuff of fairy tales. Let's give a red-carpet round of applause to the one and only . . .

Little Red Writing!

Red is the the star of the highly praised picture book Little Red Writing by acclaimed writer Joan Holub and illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet. 

In this hilarious and exuberant retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, our brave, little red pencil finds her way through the many perils of writing a story, faces a ravenous pencil sharpener (the Wolf 3000TM) . . . and saves the day!

Welcome, Little Red Writing! Thanks for coming all the way from Pencilvania to be with us today.
My pleasure, Mr. Pig! 

Tell me . . . what three words best describe you?
Brave, red, pencil

What’s your favorite saying?
Write on!

Ooh, I like it! What is your special talent? 
Beginnings, middles, and ends

If you could dine with characters from other books, who would they be?
Peter Pen and Clifford the Big Red Pencil

If you have a pocket, what is in it right now?
I have something better than a pocket -- a basket my teacher gave me before I started down my story path. Did I mention it’s full of red nouns, like ruby, caboose . . . and this one red noun that begins with “d” and saves the day in my story.

Is it a doughnut? Because I'd love a doughnut if you have one . . . No? OK. So, what is the best thing about being you?
I go to Pencil School, where I get to write and draw all day long.

Illustration copyright 2013 by Melissa Sweet

Looks like fun! If you were stranded on a desert island, what would you bring? Yum, I’d fill my basket with red nouns like strawberry or cherry or . . . Oh, wait, I thought you were asking about a dessert island. On a desert island, I would want a basket full of paper, although writing a story in the sand might be fun, too. The waves on shore could erase any mistakes.

You have a point. (Get it? Ha! That's a pencil joke.) When do you feel the happiest?
When I’m writing exciting verb action, I have been known to bounce, boogie, or even cartwheel right off the page!

Would you rather be able to fly or be invisible?
If there’s something big with a tangly tail chasing me, I would like to be able to do either one so I could scram!

Do you identify more with Goldilocks or the three bears?
Actually, I’m more like Pencil and Gretel. Do you know that fairy tale? It’s where Pencil and his sister Gretel wander off, get lost, and find trouble. Yep, that’s me.

Uh-oh. What is the worst thing about being you? 
Sometimes I wander off my story path, like this one time when I got bogged down, hindered, and lost in a deep, dark, descriptive forest section of the library. It was adjectively worrisome! 

Illustration copyright 2013 by Melissa Sweet

Yikes! What is your favorite sound?
The sound of my Pencil School teacher (Ms. 2) saying, “Today we’re going to write a story.”

What is your least favorite sound?
GGGRRGRrrrr! Which is the sound of the Wolf 3000TM pencil sharpener right before it starts chasing you.

Sounds adjectively worrisome! If you could be any bug, which would you choose?
Probably a bookworm. My shape is about right -- I’d just have to learn to wiggle.

Do you have any siblings?
Even better! I have friends at Pencil School -- the Write brothers, a bottle of conjunction glue words, and a cheerful birthday pencil, who wears the cutest party hat eraser.

What is your most embarrassing moment?
The time in my story when I was trying to be brave but got scared by that Wolf pencil sharpener that was pretending to be Principal Granny and then I started running away like my point was on fire oops is this turning into a run-on sentence without enough punctuation sorry that’s how I write when I am in too big of a hurry to get my words down so maybe we should move on.

My, what big sentences you have! What was it like working with Joan Holub? 
That girl is sharp! She has hundreds of pencils. Some are red. Others are glittery, sporty, or full of holiday cheer. They are all good at writing books.

Thanks, Little Red Writing! Won't you please stay for a Little Red Writing-themed lunch?
Of course! Thanks, Mr. Pig. You ask good questions and I had fun visiting your Little Crooked Cottage today.

And thank YOU, Mr. Pig fans, for joining us today. Tune in next time when I have a round table discussion with three hungry Carnivores. (HELP!)

About the Book
Little Red Writing
by Joan Holub
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Chronicle Books, September 2013 
ISBN 978-0-8118-7869-2  

"A very funny picture book that, I guarantee you, lots of savvy teachers will be eagerly sharing with students as part of the process of teaching creative writing." -- Richie Partington MLIS, Richie's Picks

* Publishers Weekly, starred review
* Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* School Library Journal, starred review

Download a free Teaching/Reading Guide at

About the Author
Joan Holub is the prolific and award-winning author and/or illustrator of more than 130 children's books, including the Goddess Girls series (co-author Suzanne Williams),  Zero the Hero, Knuckleheads, and Shampoodle. She is really bad at going to bed, and in related news, is also bad at getting up early. 

Joan lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. To learn more about her books, visit her website at

About the Illustrator

Melissa Sweet has illustrated nearly 100 children’s books, including the Caldecott Honor–winning River of Words and the Sibert Medal–winning Balloons Over BroadwayRecent titles include: The Sleepy Little Alphabet by Judy Sierra, Rubia and the Three Osos by Susan Middleton Elya, Baby Bear's Big Dreams by Jane Yolen, and Day is Done by Peter Yarrow.

When not in her studio, Melissa loves to ride her bicycle and hike with her two dogs, Rufus and Nellie. She lives in Rockport, Maine. To learn more, visit her website at


  1. I almost could not bear to read this because I have been waiting oh-so-patiently to have and hold this book to savor on my own! Mr. Pig, you have completely charmed me with this interview!

  2. Thank you, Cathy! I hope you're holding your very own copy of LIttle Red Writing soon. It will be worth the wait. xo Mr. Pig