Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Mr. Pig Live...with (THE INFAMOUS) Louie and Ralphie Ratso...and a GIVEAWAY!

Sound check… are we ready? Cue the lights! 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. . .

Hello friends, and welcome back to MR. PIG LIVE! 

Today, I'm thrilled to welcome...


<<Whistles>> <<Applause>>

These two brothers are tough on the outside, kind on the inside, and the stars of a funny, heart-warming new chapter book series, THE INFAMOUS RATSOS!

MP: So, first things first. What are your full names, boys?
L. Louie Ratso.
R. Ralphie Ratso.

Illustration copyright 2016 by Matt Myers.
MP: What three words best describe you?
L. Tough, tough, tough!
R. But underneath, really kind, helpful, and generous.

MP: What is the worst thing about being you?
L. Unfortunately for us (but fortunately for everyone else), we’re really bad at being bad.
R. Every time we try to show the world how tough we are, it just shows how good we
are. It turns out being tough all the time is really, really…tough.

Illustration copyright 2016 by Matt Myers.

MP: What is the best thing about being you?
L. It turns out we’ve become infamous…
R. …for really good reasons!

MP: When do you feel the happiest?
L. When we’re doing something nice for someone else.
R. And when we’re together. Especially when we’re with our dad, Big Lou.

Illustration copyright 2016 by Matt Myers.
MP: What is your favorite word?
L. “Nyah-nyah!” (Wait…is that a word? If not, I’ll go with the word “plan,” because I have 
lots of them.)
R. “Righto!”

MP: What is your favorite food?
L. Cheese sandwiches.
R. Our dad’s meatballs. With extra sprinkly cheese.

MP: What is your special talent?
L. Coming up with clever plans.
R. Throwing water balloons. LOOK OUT!

MP: If you could dine with three characters from other books, who would they be?
L. Templeton from Charlotte’s Web, Roscuro from The Tale of Despereaux
R. — ooh, and any of those Rats of NIMH!

MP: If a genie gave you one wish, what would you wish for?
L & R: To have our mom with us again.

MP: What is your most embarrassing moment?
L. In our next adventure (publishing in September 2017), THE INFAMOUS RATSOS Are
Not Afraid, I’m afraid everyone will find out that I’m afraid of ghosts — particularly one
that might actually be living in our neighborhood!
R. And a rumor goes around school that I like a girl. What could be scarier than THAT?

MP: What is your pet peeve?
L. When my clever plans don’t turn out the way I expect.
R. Leaky water balloons.

MP: What was it like working with Kara LaReau?
L. I like what she did with our story. She’s almost as clever as I am (and that’s saying a
R. And boy, is she tough — but usually just on herself, when she’s writing.
L. I hope she keeps telling stories about us.
R. Me, too. And I hope Matt Myers keeps illustrating them. His artwork is super-cool!

Illustration copyright 2016 by Matt Myers.
MP: If you have a pocket, what is in it right now?
L. Some notes I made for a new plan. It’s sure to be the best one yet!
R. A few balloons (for making water balloons), a bar of soap (which we recently used to
soap — and then wash — a neighbor’s windows), and half of a cheese sandwich from
yesterday’s lunch.
L. You really should empty your pockets more often, little brother.
R. Right-o!

I'd better end this interview before Ralphie takes aim with another water balloon — many thanks to the Ratso Brothers for coming all the way from the Big City to chat with us! 

I hope you're all hungry, because our caterer Nina from Mamabelly has whipped up a particularly infamous Literary Lunch just for you. Click here for a peek at Nina's bento of goodies!

About the Author:

Kara LaReau is the author of picture books
such as UGLY FISH and OTTO: The Boy
Who Loved Cars, illustrated by Scott Magoon,
Tale of Table Manners, illustrated by Lorelay
Bové; a chapter book series called THE
INFAMOUS RATSOS, illustrated by Matt
Myers; and an upcoming middle-grade trilogy
called The Unintentional Adventures of the
Bland Sisters, illustrated by Jen Hill. Kara
lives in Providence, RI with her husband and
son and their cat.


Louie and Ralphie Ratso are determined to be as tough as their truck-driver father, but the rats’ efforts go hilariously awry in this funny, thoughtful, and smart chapter book...LaReau packs substantial comedy and poignant emotion into each chapter (the boys’ mother has "been gone for a little while now"), adeptly amplified by Myers’s spot art.
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

LaReau keeps the action high and completely appropriate for readers embarking on chapter books...The humor springs from their foiled efforts and their reactions to their failures. Myers' sprightly grayscale drawings capture action and characters and add humorous details, such as the Ratsos' "unwelcome" mat. A nicely inventive little morality "tail" for newly independent readers.Kirkus Reviews

The father-son dynamic is realistic and honest. Young readers will feel for the family as they learn to deal with the absence of a loved one. This slender novel packs a strong message of overcoming loss through love and kindness. A solid purchase; a chapter book that entertains and uplifts.School Library Journal

Generous black-and-white illustrations evoke setting (a rundown city neighborhood) as well as reinforce the storyline and the light tone of the text, with its natural vocabulary. Here’s a beginning chapter book with heart.The Horn Book

* And now for the GIVEAWAY!!! Kara is kindly sending a signed copy of THE INFAMOUS RATSOS to one lucky reader! To enter to win, simply leave a comment below! 


  1. Hooray for the Ratsos!! I love that they're rat characters. It's a sweet and funny book. Congrats, Kara :)

  2. Thanks, Maria! Looks like you're the winner of the INFAMOUS RATSOS giveaway! Be sure to send your mailing address to kara at! :)