Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Mr. Pig LIVE SPECIAL with… Kirsten Cappy!


Eek! My special guest has arrived. Oh, I'm so excited for you to meet her. What a treat! She's the fiendishly clever mind behind Trick or, a new website celebrating scary, mysterious and fantastical tales! Which, as you can imagine, is right up our alley here in the Little Haunted Cottage. Mwahahahaha! 

MP: KIRSTEN CAPPY! Welcome, ghoulfriend.

KC: Mr. Pig, you look devilishly handsome in that Dracula cape.

MP: Well, thank you. You are likewise a vision, my dear. Come in. I've just put the kettle on. How about we watch a film clip while we wait for our tea?

KC: Perfect!

MP: Wow. That was creepy and cool. Tell me about the name, Trick-or-Reaters.

KC: The name? It is the phrase “Trick or Treaters” being attacked by monsters. What?  Yes, in each manifestation of the logo, a creature is stealing the second T, changing "treaters" to "reaters."  In one version the “T” itself is an adorable fuzzy monster fleeing a many tentacled beast. "Reaters" is "readers" in my kidlit-crazy imagination.

MP: We appreciate a kidlit-crazy imagination in the Crooked Cottage. I mean, you are talking to a pig dressed as a vampire, right now, are you not? Enough said. So who designed all the cool Trick or Reaters graphics?

KC: Most of the images on the site were imagined and illustrated by Maine College of Art students who (as artists do) took the idea to frightfully fantastic levels .

MP: I'll say. And how did you come up with this monstrously clever idea?

KC: Many Octobers ago, I was presenting children's book marketing projects to a group of clever creators at The Writing Barn in Austin.  Author Nikki Loftin stopped me and said, "It is all well and good that you can come up with meaningful marketing for social justice books, but I have a book about teachers fattening children up with candy in order to eat them.  Make something of that!"


"What about connecting The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy ,” I stalled, “to that rather strange holiday where strangers fatten children up with candy.  What selected a book excerpt and dropped it as a wee booklet in Trick-or-Treater bags?"  

Everyone at The Writer’s Barn immediately volunteered to drop Nikki's booklet in Trick-or-Treater bags.  We quickly added up neighborhood numbers and the reach would be to at least 700 kids with 10 volunteers.


That got me wondering...could we create children's book discovery on Halloween - a holiday where whole neighborhoods open their doors to children?

MP: Fascinating. So how does it work? Who can use

KC: TRICK OR REATERS  creates book discovery on Halloween (and throughout the year) by giving Trick-or-Treaters access to scary, mysterious and fantastical stories.

Any school, library, bookstore, family or bookish individual can print out the TRICK OR REATERS black & white flyers from the site. Those flyers can be dropped in trick-or-treaters bags and buckets. The flyer leads children to where they can explore 100 free stories contributed by children’s book authors and illustrators. Simple, cool, and literacy-rich!

There is NO login and NO data is collected on users. Ever. (That would be evil.)

Kids can freely explore using a Age-o-meter, Scare-o-meter or a series of creepy keywords to chose a story to explore. Those stories are delivered in video shorts, audiobook clips, written excerpts or by slideshows of art. Many are story teasers connected to a published book and many of those books have free downloadble activities.

MP: Love it. What are some of your favorite spooky stories on the site?

Picture book author/illustrator Kevan Atteberry, creator of Declan, the rather lovable monster in Bunnies! and Puddles! (HarperCollins), has created original sequential art that tells a brand new story about the master and his pastel bunny friends. This has a Scare-o-Meter rating of 1, but a laugh that will be decimals higher.

Topping the Scare-o-Meter at 10 is an excerpt from the girl ninja novel, Deadly Flowers by Sarah L. Thomson (Boyds Mill Press) that makes me quake every time I read it. I will just say here that it is tagged as being in the “Giant Centipedes” genre on TRICK OR REATERS.

There are stories of ALL kinds at EVERY scare in between.
MP: Mama Pig once read a story to me called The Tailypo; do you know it? It scared the tuna salad out of me back then, but I wanted to read it anyway. What's a favorite spooky Halloween book from your childhood?

KC: Oh, I did NOT like to be frightened as a child. In fourth grade, our teacher read a story about a new wife who always wore a silk ribbon around her neck.  She told her husband that he must never try to take it off or “he would be sorry.”  I won't spoil the ending, but let's just say the spookiness made me lose my head. That's why we have the scare-o-meter on the site. For kids like me. 

MP: <<Ahem>>, by the way, if you want to sleep over, you can. Not because I'm scared. *cough* Oh, no. Like I said, I love scary stories. But…you know… if you wanted to stay, I we could light the fire, and I do make a mean hot chocolate. (Jus' saying.) Anyway, are you reading something seasonal or spooky right now?

KC: I am reading something utterly magical right now.  The forthcoming novel by H.M. Bouwman is called A Crack in the Sea (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) It dares to imagine a different outcome for two groups that would have been tragically and brutally lost at sea. I am not going to give anything away. Oh, but maybe this. There is also a kraken love story. Kraken Love. What could be more seasonal than that?

MP: We've released the Kraken! Now, it is time for tea. Thanks, Kirsten, what a frightfully delightful chat, and I'll go right now to Trick or Reaters and print out flyers for all the ghouls that haunt the Little Crooked Cottage's door on Halloween night. (You'd be amazed at the cast of characters we get trick-or-treating 'round these parts.)

And if YOU want to add stories to your array of Halloween treats, go to to download flyers, read some spooky (or not too spooky) stories, and even sign up to SKYPE with a Trick or Reaters author on Halloween!

KC: Thanks, Count Pigula!

MP: My pleasure. Mwahahahahaha!

Kirsten Cappy of Curious City builds creative outreach projects for authors, illustrators, and publishers focused on engaging readers with story.

Trick or Reaters is the Frankenstein Monster of Kirsten and Curious City, funded by the Erin Murphy Literary Agency and kid lit authors.

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