Monday, September 8, 2014

Mr. Pig LIVE . . . with Joe and Sparky!

Hello, friends! Welcome to a special back-to-school episode of my hit talk show:


Why is it a back-to-school episode, you ask? Well, because it's past Labor Day and now that all you little piggies are back in the halls of learning, it is my pleasure, dear viewers, to bring you the who's who of children's book characters and get your brains ready for some fantastic reading!

Speaking of fantastic reading . . . today's guests are none other than SUPERSTARS Joe and Sparky from Cottager Jamie Michalak's hit series of the same name. Her latest, Joe and Sparky Go To School, just came out in paperback.

Roll the clip, please. . .

Lovely to see you both. Um, Joe, can you duck down a bit? Your head is out of frame. Great. Thanks. Let's get started. What are your full names?
J: Joe Giraffe
S: Sparky Turtle

What one word best describes you?
S: Safety-conscious.

What is your pet peeve?
J: I do not have a pet peeve, but I do have a pet worm named Wiggy.
S: Joe says Wiggy is super talented. He can make the letters S and O with his body.

That is impressive! If you were stranded on a desert island, what would you bring?
J: A surfboard, basketball, my fruit hat, a flashy yellow convertible, striped sports socks, Wiggy (my pet worm), and-- 
S: I think Mr. Pig means one thing, Joe. I would bring a safety helmet to protect myself from falling coconuts. Safety first!

What did you eat for breakfast this morning?
J: 152 1/2 leaves
S: a worm
J: (gasp) Wiggy?!
S: Of course not. I have never, ever met Wiggy. Does he really exist?
J: Yes, but you can not see him right now. He is visiting his girlfriend in Niagara Falls.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
J: I would like to be the world’s first flying giraffe.
S: I would like to use contractions.

What is your favorite word?
J: hubbub
S: nap

What is you least favorite word?
J: nap
S: idea — because every time Joe says, “I have an idea” we get into BIG trouble.

What is your favorite sound?
J: The sound of noisy, short people laughing.
S: The whoosh of the magic pond we found in the school restroom. The water disappeared — and then it came back again!!!

From JOE AND SPARKY GO TO SCHOOL. Illustration copyright 2013 by Frank Remkiewicz.

If you could dine with three characters from other books, who would they be?
S: I would dine on the Very Hungry Caterpillar, the Lowly Worm, and Fly Guy.
J: Sparky, Mr. Pig said “dine with” not “dine on!”
S: Oh. This is awkward.

Right, we have a strict no-eating-the-guests policy in the Cottage. Or the hosts for that matter. I can't tell you how many times we had to remind SHARK when he was here (shudder). Where was I? Oh yes, what is your most embarrassing moment?
J: When we went to school for a day, the teacher said, “Clap your hands, stomp your feet, put your bottoms in your seat!” I did . . . and broke the chair.
S: I once flipped over while doing the Hokey Pokey. (Turtles are not made to shake things all about.)

From JOE AND SPARKY GO TO SCHOOL. Illustration copyright 2013 by Frank Remkiewicz.
If a genie gave you one wish, what would you wish for?
J: hands
S: safety goggles

What was it like working with Jamie Michalak?

S: This was our third time working with Jamie. She drinks too much coffee and lives with two noisy, short people who give her ideas for stories.
J: If you see her, tell her that I would like my fruit hat back.

I'll let her know. Well, thank you both SO much! Before you head back to the cageless zoo, Nina from MamaBelly Lunches with Love has prepared a fabulous lunch for you! 
S: Are there worms in it?
J: Very funny.

Oh, there's Jamie. And pssst, Joe, she's wearing your fruit hat.

Jamie Michalak is the author of more than twenty-five children's books, including the award-winning Joe and Sparky books--Joe and Sparky Go to School, Joe and Sparky, Superstars!, and Joe and Sparky Get New Wheels, all illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz; She also wrote The Coziest Place, illustrated by Jon Davis and So You Want to Catch Bigfoot? illustrated by Mark Fearing, as well as numerous movie and TV show adaptations. Jamie lives in Barrington, Rhode Island with her husband and two sons. To learn more about her books, visit Jamie’s website,

Frank Remkiewicz is the beloved illustrator of more than 100 children’s books--fourteen of which he has authored himself. Frank created the artwork for many popular series, including the Joe and Sparky series of early readers, the popular Horrible Harry series by Suzy Kline, and the bestselling Froggy series by Jonathan London. Frank has also written and illustrated several books of his own, including The Last Time I Saw Harris, Gus Makes a Gift, and Gus Gets Scared. He lives in Sarasota, Florida. To learn more about Frank, visit his website,

Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
Candlewick Press, June 2014
ISBN 978-0-7636-6278-3 (hardcover)
ISBN 978-0-7636-7181-5  (paperback)

      "This book is perfect for the newly independent reader and makes a fine bridge from Amelia Bedelia to Ramona. Limited but lively vocabulary, a large font, and carefully placed illustrations—all in a humorous, high-interest package—will make this a hit."  —The Horn Book, starred review

“Michalak will have readers giggling over the silly exchanges and comedic misunderstandings that follow as Sparky and Joe attempt to fit in at school. . . . The vibrant watercolor and colored pencil cartoons and well-targeted humor . . . will entertain growing readers.” —Publishers Weekly


(Winner announced next week!)

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