Monday, September 29, 2014

A Mr. Pig LIVE Special . . . with Eric Litwin!

Hello, Mr. Pig here. Hey! Do you hear music? 

It must be Eric Litwin, author of THE NUTS: BEDTIME AT THE NUT HOUSE and the first four Pete the Cat books, at the door! Eric is today's guest on my hit talk show, Mr. Pig LIVE! Can you dig it?

Welcome to the Cottage, Eric! Have a seat. I want to hear all about you, Pete the Cat, and your latest book, THE NUTS: BEDTIME AT THE NUT HOUSE, illustrated by Scott Magoon.

But first, let's play The Nuts music video for the folks at home. . . .


MP: I've enjoyed reading, singing, and dancing along to THE NUTS: BEDTIME AT THE NUT HOUSE. Did you have dancing in mind when you wrote the story?
EL: Yes! This book bridges the gap between early literacy and disco music. The idea is for parents to disco and dance their children to bed. This book can be read during the day for fun or as a bedtime book at night. It ends with a lullaby. Readers can find music and movements for

Where did the idea for the Nut family come from? 
Every family I know is nutty, and that’s a good thing. It’s important for us to be able to talk about being unique and fun. The Nuts are like I lot of families I actually know. Mama gives unconditional love, clear instructions (although the kids might not listen to them at first), and structure. They're completely loving, healthy, and nutty.

From THE NUTS: BEDTIME AT THE NUT HOUSE. Illustration copyright 2014 by Scott Magoon.

Just like the Cottagers. What was your reaction to Scott Magoon's illustrations? 
Scott hit it out of the park! I love his sense of humor from his past books, and I admired how he was able to bring inanimate objects, such as a spoon and chopsticks, to life. He brought my puns to a whole new level. Adults, too, will appreciate these funny elements. And of course, kids love the “Nut Butt” line.

From THE NUTS: BEDTIME AT THE NUT HOUSE. Illustration copyright 2014 by Scott Magoon.

I must confess, that's my favorite line, too! What makes a good book? 
For me, a good book must have all of these qualities--a positive message, a great song, an interesting ending, puns and humor, a good story, a fantastic opening line, and an educational aspect. For example, in THE NUTS: BEDTIME AT THE NUT HOUSE, kids learn about big, bigger, and biggest. Because I'm a former teacher and interested in interactive literacy, my books include music, movement, call and response, and repetition.

Do you usually write the story or song first? 
I once read about a sculptor who said that the knew the stone had a sculpture in it, he just has to find it. The story is there and I’m discovering it, but it takes time. I give hundreds of performances and will tell a story hundreds of times before it’s done. So in a way, I’m writing it in front of a live audience. If the story works great as a performance piece, then it will work as a read-aloud. Rhyme, meter, repetition, and movement to words--these help kids memorize sight words. The first lines of THE NUTS: BEDTIME AT THE NUT HOUSE are easy to remember because of the rhyme and rhythm.

Could we expect more books about the Nut family? I hope so!  
Yes. THE NUTS: BEDTIME AT THE NUT HOUSE is the first in a series. Book two is called THE NUTS: SING AND DANCE IN YOUR POLKA DOT PANTS. We hope there will be more books and even easy readers.


Nutty fun! Now let’s talk about YOU. What one word best describes you? 

You’ve had enormous success in your career. What has been the highlight for you? 
Reaching beginning and emergent readers. I’ve received many letters and emails from parents sharing how their children were non-readers or non-verbal until they read my Pete the Cat books. One parent wrote that her child’s first words were ‘I love my white shoes!’ What’s happened with the first four Pete the Cat series has gone beyond anything I could have imagined.

What’s your favorite dance? 
Mama Nut’s disco dance. In THE NUTS: BEDTIME AT THE NUT HOUSE, she does moves from KC and the Sunshine Band and Travolta. The next book about the Nuts, THE NUTS: SING AND DANCE IN YOUR POLKA DOT PANTS, includes lots of good dance moves, too.

What would you say to seven-year-old Eric if you could travel back in time? 
Follow your dreams. You can do it!

Excellent advice. Thanks, Eric! And now it's time . . . to disco! Hit it, Eric.

About Eric Litwin
Eric Litwin (Mr. Eric) is a guitar-strumming, book-writing, harmonica-blowing, song-singing, folksy, fun type of guy. He is the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of the first four Pete the Cat picture books and the author of the new musical series The Nuts. Eric's books have sold over 1.5 million copies, been translated into seven languages and won 15 state and national awards including a Theodor Geisel Seuss Honor Award. 

He has also recorded award winning music CDs. Eric is a popular performing artist who plays guitar, sings, tells musical stories and brings books to life. He is also a nationally respected keynote speaker on interactive literacy and music. Eric is the co-creator of The Learning Groove which offers parent and child music classes and preschool music curriculum. Eric likes music, books, and coffee.

To learn more about Eric's books, visit his website

by Eric Litwin, illustrated by Scott Magoon
Little, Brown; July 2004
ISBN-13: 9780316322447 

It's bedtime at the Nut House, but little Wally and Hazel Nut aren't ready to go to sleep."We're Nuts! We're Nuts! We're Nuts!"

Why go to bed when you could be singing and howling at the moon? But Mama Nut insists... "All little Nuts need to go up to bed!"

Who will win this bedtime tug-of-war?

In an unforgettably catchy bedtime adventure, bestselling author Eric Litwin and artist Scott Magoon invite readers to chime in and join the nutty fun!

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