Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Mr. Pig Live . . . with Parker Bell!

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 moi, MR. PIG!

Today, we have a special guest joining us. Please give a warm welcome to the STEMtastic star of Cynthia Platt's chapter book, Parker Bell and the Science of Friendship. It's budding scientist . . .

Parker Bell! 

Welcome to the Cottage, Parker Bell! Let's get started. What one word best describes you?
Mad Scientist! Okay, I know that’s two words, but one word really isn’t enough to describe my scientific know-how.

We don't have many human characters on the show. Do you have a belly button?
I didn’t hatch from an egg, and I’m DEFINITELY a human (I’ve done tests to confirm this already), so I have a belly button. 

What is the best thing about being you?
Having Cassie Malouf, coding and fact-remembering genius, as my best friend. We fit together like complimentary angles.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
You don’t need a superpower when you’re an engineer. You can build a superpower for yourself. But I guess flying would be kind of fun.

What's in your pocket right now? 
One Ultra-Megabot eraser, seven paper clips (you never know when you’ll need them), four guinea pig pellets, and a pencil.

Fascinating! What is your pet peeve?
Can a pet peeve be a person? Or more than one person? Then mine would definitely be my nemeses, the Dempsey Triplets. Aidan, Braidan, and Jaidan a.) tell bad jokes and b.) don’t care about science. Enough said.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what would you bring? (Certainly not the Dempsey Triplets.)
Obviously, I’d bring my guinea pig, Algebra. And a desert island wouldn’t be the same with my BFF Cassie and some of my dad’s world famous chocolate chip cookies (I guess I’d bring my dad and my mom along, too!). 

What is your favorite word?
ROBOT. Isn’t that the best word ever? It has a long O and a short O, and sort sounds like what it means. Also, I love to build robots, so it would probably be my fave even if it didn’t sound so fierce.

What is you least favorite word?
I have six least favorite words: “Parker, you’re going to be late!” I hear my parents say them an awful lot. 

What is the worst thing about being you?
My mom really doesn’t understand my fashion sense. She also doesn’t like it when I do things like take apart the toaster to see how it works. I am very misunderstood in my own family.

  1. What are you reading right now?
    I just read Counting on Katherine by Helaine Becker and Dow Phumiruk, which I loved. And I took Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, Winifred Conkling, and Laura Freeman out of the library, so that’s up next. I’m OBSESSED with Katherine Johnson right now! I might need to get a poster of her to put up in my bedroom next to my Mae Jemison and Jane Goodall posters.

    What is your favorite sound?
    The sweet sound of a guinea pig squeaking.

    What is your least favorite sound?
    Did I already mention my parents telling me I’m going to be late? 

    If you could dine with three characters from other books, who would they be?
    Tricky question, but I’d expect nothing less of you, Pig. I’d want to have lunch in my dad’s bakery with Ramona Quimby, Jasmine Toguchi, and Narwhal. Not that a narwhal could really stop by for lunch. Or that it would eat food from my dad’s bakery. Maybe I should have picked someone who was more of a scientific possibility for lunchtime?

    What was it like working with Cynthia Platt? 
    I was a little worried at first because she dresses super-casual like my mom does, but it turns out she’s really into science. She’s even edited lots of nonfiction books, and has a daughter who’s really into science and engineering, too. So she got me.

    She's a lucky writer. And I'm lucky to meet you. Thanks for coming, Parker Bell! We can't wait for your new book -- coming in May! 

Parker Bell and the Science of Friendship
by Cynthia Platt
illustrated by Rea Zhai
(Clarion Books, 2019)

In this fun young-middle-grade novel with STEM appeal, Parker really wants to win the school Science Triathlon—but first she’ll have to figure out how to keep her BFF from being stolen.

Budding scientist Parker Bell really wants to win the school Science Triathlon and follow in the footsteps of her idols, chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall and astronaut Mae Jemison. She’s sure that if she teams up with her trivia whiz BFF, Cassie, they will dominate the Science Bee, Egg Drop, and Animal Adaptation Presentation. When Cassie invites her new friend, Theo, to join their team, Parker is worried—that Theo won't help them win and might steal her best friend. As the three work together, Parker learns that you don’t have to be the best to be a real scientist and a good friend.

Cynthia Platt is a children’s book editor as well as a writer. She’s the author of three picture books: Panda-monium, A Little Bit of Love, and Grow. Parker Bell and the Science of Friendship is her middle-grade debut. Cynthia lives in Massachusetts with her husband (who is a middle school science teacher), daughter (who loves engineering), and guinea pig (who is very unscientific). Visit her online at, on Twitter @cynplatt, and on Instagram @cynthiaplattbooks.

Rea Zhai is an illustrator based in Bejing, China, where she lives with her husband and their three cats. When not working, Rea is a bass player in a small blues band. Parker Bell and the Science of Friendship is her first book for children. Find her online at and on Instagram

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