Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Mr. Pig Live . . . with Penny and Jelly! And a GIVEAWAY!*

Welcome to my hit daytime talk show, Mr. Pig LIVE! I'm your host, Mr. Pig. Today's guests are in show biz, too. They're the stars of a charming new picture book by Maria Gianferrari and Thyra Heder.

With a little help from her dog Jelly, Penny realizes that she and Jelly have a unique talent to share--unlike any other in the school talent show.

Let's give a big round of applause to . . .



Welcome, Penny (and Jelly)! What is your full name?
Penelope Ann Butter.

I love your boa and tee-shirt look. What one word best describes you? Besides "stylish"?

If you were stranded on a desert island, what would you bring?
Jelly, of course (and some water).

From PENNY AND JELLY: THE SCHOOL SHOW. Illustration copyright 2015 by Maria Gianferrari.

Um, Penny, what's in your pocket?
A toad. Don’t worry—its head is sticking out.

I see! What is your idea of the perfect day?
A picnic with Jelly beside a lake.

What are you reading right now?
I’m re-reading my favorite book, Because of Winn Dixie; Jelly’s reading Gaston. 

Two of my favorite characters! What is your favorite word?

From PENNY AND JELLY: THE SCHOOL SHOW. Illustration copyright 2015 by Maria Gianferrari.
What is your favorite sound?
Jelly singing.

If you could dine with three characters from other books, who would they be?
Could I have a play-date for Jelly instead? With Hound (from The Penderwicks), Winn Dixie, and HMS Beagle? 

Forgive me, but I ask this questions of all my guests. Do you have a belly button?
Of course—it’s an “inny.”

Last question. What was it like working with Maria Gianferrari?
It was fun, but Thyra gives me a lot more freedom. 

Thanks for joining us today, Penny and Jelly! Please stay for a PENNY & JELLY-themed lunch, prepared especially for you by Nina at Mamabelly's Lunches with Love.

(Scroll down to check out today's Literary Lunch!) 

* Win a copy of PENNY & JELLY: THE SCHOOL SHOW! Leave a comment to enter. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, September 23.

* Last week's Back-to-School Giveaway winner of a signed copy of Audrey Vernick and Matthew Cordell's First Grade Dropout is: Lori Alexander! Congrats, Lori! Please email with your mailing info. 

About the book
by Maria Gianferrari; illustrated by Thyra Heder

HMH Books for Young Readers, July 2015
ISBN 978-0544230149

"Penny and Jelly are sure to warm the hearts of both future talent-show contestants and readers who have similarly close canine friends." --Kirkus

"Little ones anxious about finding a talent will be reassured by this heartening tale with a cozy conclusion: sometimes the best talent is friendship." --Booklist 
by Maria Gianferrari; illustrated by Thyra Heder
HMH Books for Young Readers, June 2016
ISBN 978-0544280052

In this young and funny picture book companion to Penny & Jelly: The School Show, Penny is invited to go to a slumber-under-the-stars sleepover—but with no pets allowed, how can Penny enjoy the night? Readers of Pinkalicious and Ladybug Girl will swoon over best friends Penny & Jelly.

About the author
Photo credit: Monogram Arts Photo
Maria Gianferrari writes both fiction and nonfiction picture books from her sunny, book-lined study in northern Virginia, with dog, Becca as her muse. Maria’s debut picture book is Penny & Jelly: The School Show, illustrated by Thyra Heder. A second Penny & Jelly book titled, Penny & Jelly Slumber Under the Stars, will be released in June 2016. Maria has five additional books forthcoming from Roaring Brook and Boyds Mills Presses as well as Aladdin Books for Young Readers in the coming years. To learn more about Maria, visit her website: and on Facebook.

And you can visit Penny & Je
lly at their website:, and on Instagram:

About the illustrator
Thyra Heder grew up in the Boston area and now lives in Brooklyn, where she spends a lot of time drawing in the studio with her dog, Toby. She has a special talent for losing things and dancing like a maniac. She has performed in a school show only once, lip-synching to the Grease soundtrack as Danny Zuko. Her first picture book, Fraidyzoo, garnered numerous starred reviews and accolades, and her newest book, The Bear Report, will be released in October 2015.You can learn more about Thyra and her work at


  1. Oh I have a question for Jelly! Do you prefer Milk Bones or Gainesburgers?

  2. Jelly told me he likes Milk Bones, Cathy :)!

    Thank you so much for the fun interview, Mr. Pig, and thanks to everyone at the Little Crooked Cottage :)

  3. Penny and Jelly look like an adorable pair! How exciting that there's a second book in the works.

    1. Thanks, Carrie :). I'm really excited about book two as well. Thyra's art is even more amazing!!

  4. Jelly, we love GASTON by Kelly DiPuccio, too. And you just might be interested in her next book. . . EVERYONE LOVES BACON. We also love Penny & Jelly. Maria and Thyra did an excellent job thinking you up.

    1. So do I--Gaston is wonderful, Anika! I'm looking forward to vising here when Bacon arrives at The Little Crooked Cottage :)

      Thanks again for everything!!

  5. Great interview! I enjoyed learning more about Penelope Ann Butter! ;)

  6. This book looks adorable! Thanks for the chance to own one. I think my kids would enjoy it.

  7. Thanks for the chance to win such an adorable book!

  8. Thank you all for entering to win PENNY & JELLY! And the winner is . . . Cathy Ballou Mealey! Congratulations! Please email your mailing address to

  9. Thanks to all of the Little Crooked Cottagers for having Penny & Jelly as guests :)!!