Monday, May 13, 2013

Platypus Police Squad Blog Tour--Interview With Jarrett Krosoczka

This post has been cross-posted at A YEAR OF READING as part of the PLATYPUS POLICE SQUAD Blog Tour,  Ms. Hahn put the post together, and included the interview from  the TTI team.

We are thrilled to give you a sneak preview of Jarrett Krosoczka's art in his new book, Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked

Look like fun? Here's the book trailer:

Want to know more? Here's an interview with Jarrett:

How did you think of writing Platypus Police Squad?
I was actually trying to write a book called "Penguin Police Squad," but then penguins were just everywhere, so I began to search for another animal that started with the letter "P" and I came to the mighty platypus! But it all started in 2004 when I drew a character from Punk Farm a year before that book was published. A kid guessed incorrectly that my next book was about a bunch of farm animals that were cops. So that stuck with me--a book about animal cops who wore aviator sunglasses!

Why did you make the characters platypuses instead of humans?
When you work with animals, you can get away with more things than if the characters are humans. Also, platypuses are way funnier than humans! 

Why do the place and the time from each chapters change?
Each chapter represents a different scene in the investigation. It's almost as if the chapters were pulled from a case file that the detectives needed to file after the case was solved!

How many books will be in this series? Can you tell us anything about upcoming books?
Right now we are planning on four. The second book is called The Ostrich Conspiracy and it takes place in the newly built Kalamazoo City Dome. (There's a teaser for this at the end of book 1.)

How did you get the Idea to write the Lunch Lady series?
After a chance encounter with my old lunch lady, I began wondering about her life. One led thing to another and I started writing a graphic novel series about a lunch lady who fought crime!

Why are the tools used as weapons in Lunch Lady?
Well, if you saw your lunch lady walking the halls with nunchucks, you'd begin to ask questions, now wouldn't you? And Lunch Lady simply can't have her cover blown, which is why her nunchucks are disguised as fish sticks. Besides that, she does spend her entire time in the cafeteria, so she is surrounded by resources to create crime-fighting gadgets!

Still want more? Check out the Platypus Police Squad Virtual Launch Party on May 23 -- chat with Jarrett and win prizes!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Time to Interview N.D. Wilson

Today we are interviewing the author of 100 Cupboards, N.D. Wilson.  We read his book as a class read aloud and we all loved it. The book is a fantasy about a boy who found magical cupboards. Each cupboard takes you to a different place. This is the first book in a trilogy.  

Book Review: H.I.V.E.


        H.I.V.E  is a book about a boy named Otto Malpense. He lives in an orphanage. He saved the orphanage by “convincing” the Prime Minister to not close it down. By doing that somehow a lady tracked him down and shot him with a special kind of sleeper gun. While he’s asleep people take him to a school called H.I.V.E. H.I.V.E stands for The Higher Institute of Villainous Education. He meets some friends and they all make a plan to escape H.I.V.E. Can Otto and his friends survive their stay at H.I.V.E and escape? Read the book H.I.V.E to find out!
The author of H.I.V.E. is Mark Walden. There are seven books in the series of H.I.V.E. The first book is H.I.V.E.: The Higher Institute of Villainous Education. The second book is H.I.V.E.: The Overlord Patrol. The third book is H.I.V.E.: Escape Velocity. The fourth book is H.I.V.E.: Dreadnought. The fifth book is H.I.V.E.: Rogue. The sixth book is H.I.V.E.: Zero Hour. The seventh book in the series is H.I.V.E.: Aftershock. Mark Walden is coming out with the eighth book. The eighth is going to be called H.I.V.E.: Deadlock.


Book Review: How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor


     Barbra O’ Connor made up this awesome book called How To Steal A Dog.  Before I get to the story I have a question.  Have you ever thought where your classmates live?  Have you ever thought if they were poor and lived in a car?  Who would ever think of these questions?  But what happens if it’s true? What happens if your best friend lives in a car?  Or their dad ran away when they were just two, and they just never told you?  Well that’s what Georgina’s life is like.  Her dad ran away with almost all their money.  Now she lives in a car with her mother and brother Toby.  
Georgina is getting sick of their car and she gets a crazy idea.  What happens if she could steal a dog that somebody loved so much they would pay $500 for?  If she succeeded she would say I found the dog and get the $500.  So Georgina goes out looking for the perfect dog and spots one.  Georgina takes the happiest dog in the world and hides him.

Will Georgina be able to hide the dog and get the $500 to get a new home or will she get caught?  To find out read How To Steal A Dog by Barbra O’ Connor!


Friday, April 12, 2013

Time to Interview Shane Evans

Shane Evans came to Indian Run Elementary School in March. Shane Evans was thoughtful enough to take a couple of minutes to let us interview him----LIVE!  Our whole group was very excited about it because it was our first one in person. We got to meet the author, Shane Evans, and he was very kind. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Time to Interview Kate Messner

Welcome to our third TTI interview. We interviewed Kate Messner, author of Capture the Flag and Hide and Seek.  We are trying different formats for our interviews. We wrote questions on Pages, then emailed the questions to Kate Messner.  She answered them. Then we wrote our questions and her answers to post.

TTI TEAM: What is your favorite genre to write?

KATE MESSNER: That’s a difficult question for me to answer because I really love writing in lots of different genres — from quiet picture books about nature, to funny chapter books, to thrillers and mysteries. But right now, today, I’d have to say mystery because that’s where my brain is at the moment. When I finish writing to you, I’ll be heading downstairs to my writing room to work on MANHUNT, the third mystery in my Silver Jaguar Society series!
TTI TEAM:  Did anyone inspire you to be an author? If so, who?

KATE MESSNER: My parents always encouraged me to write, so they were one inspiration.  My other big influences were the authors whose books I read when I was a kid. I thought Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume were amazing — the way they could invent characters who felt as real to me as my flesh-and-blood classmates. They made me want to write stories, too.

TTI TEAM:  What is the most challenging thing about being an author?

KATE MESSNER: For me, the most challenging thing is drafting a new project.  When I’m researching and brainstorming, I’m all kinds of excited about the new idea. And by the time I’m revising, it’s in good shape and I feel like a really good writer because I’m making the manuscript stronger and better. But drafting? My first drafts are often messy, with lots of scattered ideas,  and when I’m in the process of writing that first draft, I hate to even read what I’ve written sometimes.  

And of course, the other hard thing is letting go of a project. When I’m working on a book, it only belongs to me, and there’s a certain joy in that — writing just for yourself. But when the book comes out and shows up in bookstores and libraries, it’s not just “my book” any more; it’s everybody’s book, and that means different people will react to it in different ways. Not everyone will like it, and that’s okay, but it’s one of the tough parts of being an author.
TTI TEAM:  When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?

KATE MESSNER:  Well, I always loved writing stories, but when I was a kid, I didn’t really understand that being an author was a job that you could have — like being a teacher or doctor or something. So when I was little, I wanted to be a marine biologist.  It was after I started teaching (and sharing lots and lots of books with my students) that I remembered how much I loved telling my own stories and started writing seriously for publication. 

TTI TEAM:  How did you get the idea of writing Capture The Flag?

KATE MESSNER:  The reason I wrote this book might surprise you. It’s because I really love airports. I love how busy and bustling they are…and how everyone at an airport is going somewhere, and everyone has a story. Some people are having the best days of their lives and some may be having the worst. Airports are just super-charged with stories – and I couldn’t imagine a better place to set a mystery.

TTI TEAM:  What was the most challenging part of writing Capture The Flag?

KATE MESSNER:  Figuring out exactly HOW the bad guys could steal the Star Spangled Banner!  Happily, I don’t have much personal experience with committing huge crimes like this, so that required some real work. As an author who travels to visit schools and libraries, I’ve spent a lot of time in airports, but the other setting for this book – the Smithsonian Museum of American History – required a special research trip. I spent a morning at the museum before it opened – I toured the flag exhibit with its curator, prowled the back hallways, and even rode one of the freight elevators until I figured out just how my make-believe bad guys might pull off their Star Spangled heist. 

TTI TEAM:  Why did you decide to make the Star Spangled Banner stolen? 

KATE MESSNER:  When I knew I wanted to write a heist story set in an airport, I sort of went “shopping” online at museum websites to find the perfect thing to steal. I considered Lincoln’s top hat and Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, but ultimately, the flag seemed like a more super-charged symbol. Not only is it truly valuable in terms of monetary value; it’s priceless as a symbol of America, and that means the stakes for the mystery would be extra high.

TTI TEAM: Where did you go to college and what did you major in?

KATE MESSNER:  I went to  Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communication and majored in broadcast journalism. I was a TV news producer and report for seven years before I went back to school to get my teaching degree later on.