Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Mr. Pig Live . . . with the Bland Sisters! Plus a non-bland LITERARY LUNCH!

Ahoy, mateys! Welcome to my hit talk show, Mr. Pig Live! Today I'm interviewing the reluctant stars of THE UNINTENTIONAL ADVENTURES OF THE BLAND SISTERS, a three book middle-grade series written by my roomie Kara LaReau and illustrated by Jen Hill. The first book, The Jolly Regina, is out this month! 

These two firecrackers have just returned home after being kidnapped by an all-female band of pirates. They were unwillingly swept into a high-seas romp that might have lead them one step closer to solving the mystery of what happened to their parents. Let's find out more!

Welcome to the show and thanks for leaving your house to visit me! What are your full names? 
J: Jaundice Bland.
K: Kale Bland.
From The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters: The Jolly Regina. Illustration copyright 2016 by Jen Hill.

What three words best describe you?
J: Serious. Resourceful. Almost-always-right.
K: Tidy. Reluctant. [Consults dictionary.] Articulate.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what would you bring?
J: My smock. As long as it contained at least one cheese sandwich, preferably on day-old bread.
K: My trusted dictionary and loyal companion, Dr. Snoote.
From The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters: The Jolly Regina. Illustration copyright 2016 by Jen Hill.
Would you rather be able to fly or be invisible? (Or can you already fly or be invisible?)
J: Neither.
K: Frankly, they both sound exhausting.

What is your favorite sound?
J: The delicate plink-plink-plink of our ficus tree dropping its leaves. We’re not terribly good with plants, I’m afraid.
K: My sister reading the dictionary to me. In the evenings, we read the dictionary to each other, then we stare at the wallpaper until we fall asleep. 
J: It’s really quite tranquilizing.

What is your least favorite sound?
J & K: A knock at the door.
If a genie gave you one wish, what would you wish for?
J: To never have to leave our house.
K: To know where our parents are and when they’ll be coming home.
J: Right. That, too.
If you have a pocket, what is in it right now? 
J: I have innumerable pockets in this handy smock, which I made myself [models proudly]. Right now, I am carrying
-a teabag, only slightly used
-a roll of masking tape
-a small ball of tin foil
-a shoelace with several knots tied in it
K: I don’t have any pockets, but I do have a backpack. That’s where I keep Dr. Snoote.

What is your pet peeve?
K: Mine is when Jaundice forgets to empty her smock-pockets. I’m the one who has to do the laundry, after all.
J: Mine is when anyone or anything touches my toes.
K: She really is quite sensitive about them. All in good fun, I once brushed her big toe with the tip of a feather, and she wouldn’t speak to me for days.
J: I’m still not sure I’ve forgiven you for that.

What was it like working with Kara LaReau?
J: You might say she’s breathed new life into us. Honestly, I just don’t feel like myself when she isn’t here, tap-tap-tapping away at that funny little machine she calls a “laptop.”
K:: [Nodding] And she wears muted colors, which is nice, since bright colors hurt our eyes. She drinks too much coffee, though.
J: Any coffee is too much, in my opinion. [Holds up slightly-used teabag] She’d be much better off with a nice cup of weak, tepid tea. 
K: True. Jaundice is almost always right.


by Kara LaReau, illustrated by Jen Hill
Published by Abrams, January 2017
Meet Jaundice and Kale Bland, two sisters who avoid excitement at any cost. Together, they patiently wait the return of their parents, who left on an errand years ago and have never returned.
One day, the Bland sisters are kidnapped by an all-female band of pirates. They're unwillingly swept into a high-seas romp that might just lead to solving the mystery of what happened to their parents. 
With whimsical illustrations and Roald Dahl-esque wit, The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters is the visually stunning, laugh-out loud funny start to a new series for readers who are looking for anything but a bland adventure. 
"LaReau servers her humor dry, adding some serious swashbuckling for good measure ... Meanwhile Hill's pen-and-ink cartoons give the book precisely the right strange and silly tone." --Kirkus

Kara LaReau was born and raised in Connecticut. She received her Masters in Fine Arts in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts and later worked as an editor at Candlewick Press and at Scholastic Press. She is the author of picture books such as UGLY FISH, illustrated by Scott Magoon, and NO SLURPING, NO BURPING! A Tale of Table Manners, illustrated by Lorelay BovĂ©; an award-winning chapter book series called The Infamous Ratsos, illustrated by Matt Myers; and the middle-grade trilogy THE UNINTENTIONAL ADVENTURES OF THE BLAND SISTERS, illustrated by Jen Hill.  

Kara lives in Providence, Rhode Island with her husband and son and their cat.

Jen Hill is the illustrator of DIANA'S WHITE HOUSE GARDEN by Elisa Carbone, DOING HER BIT: A STORY ABOUT THE WOMAN'S LAND ARMY OF AMERICA by Erin Hagar, SPRING FOR SOPHIE by Yael Werber, and BE KIND by Pat Zietlow Miller. She is also the author and illustrator of PERCY AND TUMTUM: A TALE OF TWO DOGS, a book she wrote about a Pomeranian and a Dachshund, two dogs she one day hopes to own.
Jen is a graduate from the Rhode Island School of Design. You can find her in Brooklyn, NY, where she's either doodling away at her studio in the Pencil Factory, or at home in Cobble Hill with her husband and her cat.


Nina from Mamabelly made this non-bland lunch:

Jaundice and Kale Bland are the careful heroines of Cottager Kara LaReau's new book THE UNINTENTIONAL ADVENTURES OF THE BLAND SISTERS. The two sisters avoid excitement at all cost and stick to their routine. One day, a knock on the door changes their boring, bland lives forever. Having been kidnapped by an all-female band of pirates, the Bland sisters are off on unintentional adventures!

Nina from made a bland pirate lunch to match:
  • bland white pirate yogurt with a pirate skull
  • kale and strawberries with Jaundice and Kale's initials
  • bland crackers with the Jolly Regina planks
  • and two Kale and Jaundice sandwiches
Want more fun literary lunch ideas? Follow Mamabelly here:
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  1. Congrats on another book, Kara!! And love that literary lunch by Nina! Hooray for female pirates :)!

  2. Ooooooh! I can't wait for this. And it's a trilogy? Yipee! Thanks for the sneak peek. I'll be on the lookout for this book next week. It looks amazing.