Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Mr. Pig Live ... with Magique & Hugo Fromage! PLUS AN UNCANNY GIVEAWAY!*

Hello, friends! It's time for an all-new episode of MR. PIG LIVE -- a talk show of scintillating interviews with your favorite children's book characters, hosted by me, MR. PIG!

Today, we have TWO special guests joining us. Please give a warm welcome to the colorful characters of Kara LaReau's latest Bland sisters adventure (out today!!!), The Uncanny Express . . .

Magique and Hugo Fromage!

Thanks for visiting! I must say, you two are my most mysterious guests. Will you reveal your full names? 
M: Magique, darling! Or, if you like, you can call me the Queen of Magic.
H: I am the great detective, Hugo Fromage. *bows* So pleased to make your acquaintance, Monsieur Pig.

What three words best describe you?
H: Brilliant, perceptive, and of course, humble.
M: Mysterious, marvelous, and of course, MAGICAL. 

I hope this isn't too personal, but ... do you have a belly button?
M: I prefer to leave that a mystery, like just about everything else about me.
H: Excuse moi?
All images copyright Jen Hill.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what would you bring?
M: My Disappearing Cabinet, in case I need a change of scenery.
H: A magnifying glass. Hugo Fromage is always on the case!

When do you feel the happiest?
M: When I’m pulling off a really good illusion. And of course, when I’m hearing applause.
H: When I am able to bring the guilty to justice!

Would you rather be able to fly or be invisible? (Or can you already fly or be invisible?)
H: I would prefer to be a fly…on the wall, to truly observe my suspects.
M: I can do both, darling. I am a magician, you know!
All images copyright Jen Hill.

If you have a pocket, what is in it right now? 
M: Magicians never reveal what’s in their pockets, or up their sleeves!
H: I do not carry anything in my pocket, mon petit lardon. Everything I need is up here, in what I call my brain stew. *taps a gloved finger against exceedingly-round head*

Do you have any siblings?
H: There is no other Fromage but Hugo. When they made me, they broke the mold, as they say.
M: Hmm…I don’t like to reveal spoilers, so you’ll have to read THE UNCANNY EXPRESS to learn more!
All images copyright Jen Hill.

What was it like working with Jaundice and Kale Bland?
M: I’m afraid they don’t have a dramatic bone in their bodies, the poor dears. But they were surprisingly effective as my assistants.
H: I must agree with you, Mademoiselle, Magique. In the end, they proved themselves worthy of my esteemed company.

What was it like working with my cottager roomie Kara LaReau?
M: Talk about a magician — she conjures characters and stories out of thin air! Though she really could use some flair in her wardrobe. I’d suggest more capes, caftans, and turbans.
H: Much like a good detective, Mademoiselle LaReau keeps her eyes and ears open. 
M: And she was the one who brought you and me together. Let’s not forget that. 
H: Her instincts are, as they say…uncanny.
M: I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Thank you for making us the first stop on your tour, Magique and Detective Fromage! And for those of you at home, the fun doesn't end here. Add a comment below to enter to win an uncanny . . .

* GIVEAWAY!!! The prize includes signed copies of The Uncanny Express and the new paperback of The Jolly Regina with snazzy bookmarks, a pack of Jolly Regina postcards, and an official Hugo Fromage mustache!
Winner announced on Tuesday, January 16.


The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters
The Uncanny Express

by Kara LaReau
illustrated by Jen Hill
(Amulet, 2018)

An inventive story in the tradition of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient ExpressThe Uncanny Express has all the whimsy and humor that readers who are looking for an anything-but-bland adventure will love.

"Fans of Dame Agatha’s whodunits will enjoy catching the sly riffs." -- Booklist

"LaReau has a lot of fun with her Agatha Christie homage, filling her book to the brim with requisite gags and puns...Move over, Holmes and Watson. There's a new detecting pair in town, and the name's Bland." -- Kirkus

The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters
The Jolly Regina 
(Amulet, 2017)

In the spirit of A Series of Unfortunate Events and the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series, The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters will captivate middle-grade readers looking for humor, hijinks, and a swashbuckling good time. Meet Jaundice and Kale Bland, two sisters who avoid excitement at any cost. Together, they patiently await the return of their parents, who left on an errand years ago and have never returned.

"LaReau serves 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

"Filled with puns, intrigue, and ample evidence that women make excellent—and ruthless—pirates, it’s a promising introduction to the Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters series." -- Publishers Weekly

"Replete with puns, gags, and life lessons, this transgressive voyage may “ketch” fans of envelope pushers like Barry Yourgrau, Alan Katz, or Roald Dahl." -- Booklist

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 a middle-grade trilogy called 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.



  1. Love your books, Kara! Looking forward to reading about the Uncanny Express with the hilarious Bland Sisters. ;)

  2. Hi, Kara! I like that you drew inspiration for each book in your series from other literary greats. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I'm very excited to see what Kale and Jaundice are up to in The Uncanny Express!

  4. Looking forward to their second adventure lots! Congratulations.

  5. Maxwell is super excited there's a 2nd in the series - the 1st book took many train rides throughout the summer with him!

  6. I’m probably too late to win, but if not I'd love to win the Bland Sisters books!

  7. I still need to catch up on adventure #1--congrats to you, Kara!!