Weekly Readings XX

Weekly Readings 20 Banner - Talking Animal Addicts V2 - MINI

Welcome one and all to another edition of Weekly Readings!

 

Weekly Readings is when your lit. rat reviews books I’ve read here and there. While T.A.A. focuses on animal stories, we do give humans their due now and again…

This week, we’ve got an otter’s intergalactic adventures, a boy who dares to be himself (dress and all), and beauty queen drama-Dino style!

9780062247766-2

Otter in Space (@i_am_otter)

by Sam Garton (@SamuelGarton)

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

(An Imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books)

Pub. Date: May 5th, 2015

 

While on a trip to the museum, Otter becomes enthralled, (and just so you know, Otter [she comes around here sometimes, and I’m honored], many awesome paintings are made today, post the invention of crayons, just saying…)

But once at the space exhibit, Otter had discovered her newest passion: Space!

 

In particular, a fascination with the moon, and while scoring some stellar souvenirs from the museum’s gift shop, she was unable to get a commemorative moon rock.

Of course, Otter doesn’t give up, and after AGES of deep thought, she has a notion: Why not just snag the real deal?

 

So, with Teddy in tow, Otter begin preparations for her lunar mission…

 

Sam Garton’s illustrations have this warmth and charm about them that ground you in the world.

 

You always feel Otter’s “Always on the Move” spirit on every page.

 

Like in her debut book, Otter tells her story to us, first person POV is rarely used in picture books given it can read awkward;y when the reader is most often a parent or other adult, but like Eloise, it just works, and really, who than Otter herself better to tell us *“Pretty Much” exactly how it happened.

(*Bonus Points if you can guess in the comments what show I’m referencing. Hint, it involves pink hair and “Thinking Big.”) 

It’s no secret T.A.A. LOVES Otter, not just your lit. rat, but our ever growing fantastic fauna team, especially my swine-feline duo, Swinebert Glockchester and Dempsey Woyzeck (from “Swinebert & Dempsey“), here’s what they had to say- 

 

Swinebert (Grown Up 1.5)

Swinebert Glockchester

Yo Chicks and Chickies!

Dempsey and I are big fans of Otter, before we knew of her first book’s release, we met her on Twitter (We’re they’re, too, via @Swinebert_and_D) ,

and from there it’s been history in the making… I’m happy to report Otter’s new book is just as awesome as the first! It also reawakened memories of playing astronaut as a young piglet. I dreamed of being the first pig in space.

I didn’t achieve that dream, but I hope I live to see who will be the first pig in space, and despite certain propaganda on the web stating otherwise, we’ve yet to have pigs in space, may that change someday.

If I hear about the first otter in space, I’ll be sure to let my pal, Otter, know. (*Wink*) 

 

TRUG-2.5

My nephew Trug is a big fan of Otter, too, in fact, he had a MAJOR crush on her, but after bravely sharing his love letter to Otter (and the world), she turned him down, but he’s feeling a lot better about it now. 

 

 

 

DEMPSEY FRAME

 

Dempsey Woyzeck

I have two nieces who LOVE Otter as much as S.B. and I do, and thanks to my knowing her (if only virtually) I’ve been dubbed the

“Cool Uncle.”

 

 

LANGLEY SOLO FINAL

Something my brother Langley,

is super jealous of. (Cackles Evilly….)

Just kidding, Langley, you know we love you!

 

 

 

 

I Am Otter

(Cover For “I Am Otter” by Sam Garton)

Otter’s first book, “I Am Otter” was one of T.A.A.’s first “Most Anticipated Reads” in 2014, our inaugural year.

“Otter in Space” was among our “Most Anticipated Reads of 2015″ , and has proven worthy of this honor. Otter is someone I’m glad to know,

both on Twitter, and on my bookshelf.

 

Check Out “What The ‘Critters’ Say” About “Otter In Space”

Check Out The

OFFICIAL Trailer –

 

Jacob's New Dress

Jacob’s New Dress

Written by Sarah and Ian Hoffman

(@SarahHoffman101)

Illustrated by Chris Case

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company

(@AlbertWhitman)

Pub. Date: March 1st, 2014

Jacob, like many kids loves to play pretend, and dress-up, being someone else for a time.

What set Jacob apart is that instead of pretending to be dinosaurs, dragons or superheroes, he liked to play princesses, something fellow classmate Christopher (a “typical boy”) doesn’t get, and when kids don’t get something, it’s grounds for ridicule.

 

Luckily for Jacob, his friend and fellow classmate Lily gets him, and at home, he could fully be himself, dress and all.

 

But even when Jacob wasn’t playing the princess, he felt more free in a dress than typical boyish wear.

 

Before I go any further, I want to commend co-authors Sarah and Ian Hoffman for having both courage and the conviction to tell this story, especially as it derived from personal experiences with their son.

 

Illustrator Chris Case really gave the visuals in this book a raw vibrancy that I’m always a fan of book covers that show off the most unique or dare I say, controversial aspects front and center.

 

When I first saw the cover last year I thought, “Work it, Jacob, this is your truth, own it!”

We need more boys like Jacob, to be themselves unapologetically, whatever that looks like for any of us.

See

“What the ‘Critters’ Say”

about “Jacob’s New Dress”

 

 

9781619632639

Tiara Saurus Rex

By Brianna Caplan Sayres (@BriannaSayres)

Illustrated by Mike Boldt (@MikeBoldt)

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books

(@bloomsburykids)

Pub. Date: Feb 17th, 2015

 

 

The Literary Rat has seen many genre-bending masterpieces in his day.

Everything from heroic weasels, to a wolf raised by rabbits, and canine crooks turned cooks, but of all the books I read last year, “Tiara Saurus Rex” easily stands out among them.

 

Just like “Jacob’s New Dress”, “Tiara Saurus Rex” has a twist, a beauty pageant (a classic storytelling device among girls) starring dinosaurs, often depicted as a boy-centric obsession.

 

I could imagine this is one of the “after hours” activities the offspring of  the “employed dinosaurs” and other prehistoric wildlife from “The Flintstones” might have.

 

Well, I couldn’t see Dino stomping (Or in his case, SPRINTING) on the catwalk, but him being a family pet versus a working critter, that’s understandable…

 

Among the many hopefuls, Tina (the T-Rex diva glamming it up on the cover) is the most confident she’ll win it all, and without spoiling the ending, let’s just say Tina’s got some stiff competition, and through it all, just might make a new friend instead of a bitter rival.

 

Forget shows like “Toddlers in Tiaras” or “Dance Moms” for a moment.

 

Pageants don’t have to be vicious war zones anymore than little league has to be a precursor to your child’s MLB prospects. Nor should it be.

 

With all due respect to serious young athletes who want to go pro, some of us just want to have fun and be fairly fit, okay?

 

I love that this book takes cues from child-centric pageants, and certainly influences of the iconic “Miss America” pageant sneak their way in, but retrofitted for the starlets-in-training, and  Mike Boldt’s illustrations uses a splendid color palette that’s less “pinky” than you might suspect.

 

While I personally don’t have issues with the color pink in general (it’s my second favorite color after red), I know it can be a “touchy subject” for some, wherever you are on the gender spectrum, and I’ll just leave it at that.

 

“Tiara Saurus Rex” does for pageantry what “Dinosaur Train” does for the dino-lovers in general, and the sciences in particular, entertains and delights to the 10th power, and then some.

 

Speaking of Dinosaur Train, I’d think Shiny Pteranodon would ADORE this book if it existed in her era. (Yes I’ve seen the show, so I know her character fairly well, so there! LOL)

Check out the OFFICIAL Trailer For

“Tiara Saurus Rex”

That’s it for Weekly Readings.

Check us next time!

Panel By Panel (2nd Edition)

Panel by Panel (with Swinebert and Dempsey 2.5.5

 

Swinebert: Yo Chicks and Chickies!

Welcome to the second edition of “Panel by Panel” where my pal Dempsey and I chat about out one of our many passions-COMICS! (and graphic novels)

 

Dempsey: This week, S.B., myself and our friend (and podcast director/producer), Taurean J. Watkins (aka “The Literary Rat), review Steven Universe, not the show (though we definitely will get to that) but the comics based on said show-

Steven Universe #1-#5

Steven Universe: Vol. 1-5

Publisher: kaboom!

(from BOOM! Studios)

[@boomstudios]

 

 

From Taurean J. Watkins 

[aka “The Literary Rat”] (@Taurean_Watkins

0-steven-universe-0

(Left, Taurean J. Watkins,  

Right,  Steven Univserse Banner)

I fell in love with “Steven Universe” since it debuted on Cartoon Network over a year ago.

 

For those out of the loop (esp. those of you gave up on CN YEARS ago, but need to check back in for this one if nothing else) it’s about a kid who is half-human and half-gem, “Gems” are otherworldy beings with human-like forms, and that’s all I can share on that front without spoiling the story for you.

 

The series follows the adventures of our titular character,  and three of the of the “Crystal Gems” who protect Earth from intergaltic threats (Thematically, a mix ofThe Secret Saturdays” and “The Fantastic Four“).

SS+FF

(Left, “The Secret Saturdays, Right, Fantastic Four)

 

Garnet, the strong sem-silent type.

 

Amethyst, the free-spirited/scrappy foodie, also the youngest of the three, and Pearl, the level-headed, logical and slightly over-protective “Mother Hen” of the group.

 

The fourth was Rose-Quartz, the former leader of the Crystal Gems, and Steven’s mother, who (again for story reasons I won’t spoil here) passed on her powers to Steven, who slowly begins to awaken them and learn where he fits within the Crystal Gems, who act as his guardians/mentors in differing ways, and the humans who live in small costal metropolis of Beach City.

 

It’s the kind of show I rarely see much anymore, and was plesantly surprised to find on Cartoon Network especially.

 

This is one of the rare departures in CN’s series roster that has an overarching plot it’s building toward, while also having entertaining side stories weaved in.

AT+RS (REMIX)

A contrast departure to current hit series like “Adventure Time” and “Regular Show” which are more episodic and situational in nature (like many of CN’s first original series like “Ed. Edd ‘n Eddy“, Dexter’s Labrotory and “The Powerpuff Girls“). 

 

 

 

(Top, Adventure Time Blu-Ray Seasons 1-5

Middle, Regular Show Blu-Ray Seasons 1-3

Bottom, “Ed, Edd ‘n Eddy, Dexter’s Labrotory,

The Powerpuff Girls”)

 

 

While there are plot throughlines in Adventure Time, they’re more convoluted (esp. from season 4 onward), open-ended, and move at a slower pace.

 

 

If you like an overarching storyline, that’s a little loose in how it’s told (versus a more tradtionally lineral tale) this is the show for you!

 

It’s got it all: Multi-demenstional characters. A world with rooted back story that’s shared bit by bit when relevant. Action, drama, comedy, romance, and ocasional improptu musical moments that don’t feel either annoying or overdone.

 

It also naturally has a diverse cast of characters

(both in terms of ethnicity, age, life stage and personality) without coming off fake or forced. 

In many ways “Steven Universe” is for Cartoon Network what “Avatar: The Last Airbender”

(and it’s sucessor, “The Legend of Korra”)

did on Nickelodeon, takes the world and its characters seriously (no matter how offbeat and quirky they may be), gives them respect, but still has fun with them along the way.   

Avatar and Korra

(Top, Avatar: The Last Airbender – Books 1-3,  

Bottom,  The Legend of Korra – Books 1-4)

I highly recommend it to viewers who want something with a more defined plot, that moves a fair bit faster. On that note…

Steven Universe #1-#5

When I heard back in Summer 2014 there’d be a comic series based on the show, I was really skeptical, as these adaptations can go horribly wrong, something us book nerds at T.A.A. know all too well (RE: Books adapted to movies)

But I’m happy to say that for the first five volumes in, the team at kaboom!/BOOM! Studios have blown me away!

 

They nail the characters on all points, the dialogue, their mannerisms, and especially important for this series, the sizable supporting cast doesn’t get short-changed while centering on our gem-tastic quartet.

 

The bits with Steven and Lion in volumes 2 and 5 are especially touching/hilarious (for PEANUTS fans, think of the scenes with Lucy and Snoopy and you get an idea of what I mean).

 

I also love how they reference specific elements or episodes of the show without ailenating newcomers, but still reward long-time “Steventhusiasts” such as myself.

 

I’m also impressed how they use varying illustration styles throughout, often matching the tone of the story/vingette in each volume: Wispy and detailed for the warm fuzzy stuff, loose and super-stylized for the super-funny/quirky stuff, and something right in the middle when all the above are present in one story.

 

They all feel right and close in spirit to the art style in the series proper, but different enough so that it doesn’t have that generic feel like some comic adaptations of characters who aren’t native to the comics/graphic novel space.

 

Plus, I love the “Manga-Inspired” color spreads in-between the various stories in each volume. For those who LOVE the color spreads of “One Piece” and “Naruto” you’re in for a treat.

 

My only technical nitpick is that the speech bubbles can a bit hard to read, not so much the fonts they choose, but rather I think they can be a bit bigger to make for easier reading, but it’s a minor gripe for what is a stellar (so far) take on the world and characters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swinebert’s Thoughts

Swinebert (Grown Up 1.5)

 

Like Taurean, Dempsey and I are BIG “Steven Universe” fans, and we too were skeptical of how the comics would fare, but after Taurean read/vouched for them, D and I  jumped in, and we agree,

they ROCK! The comics totally capture the heart of the show and run their own creative  stroke through it to stellar efffect. 

 

 

 

 

Dempsey’s Thoughts

DEMPSEY FRAME

To get a little metaphorical, the characters in Steven’s “Universe” have a lot of paralells with my family.

 

No, we’re not a team of warriors weilding anicent magic, but the family dynamics of the Woyzeck Clan and Steven’s nontradtional family certainly have overlap.

LANGLEY SOLO FINAL

(Langley Woyzeck, Dempsey’s Older Brother)

My brother Langley and I fight a lot, kind of like Amethysyt and Peral, only Langley’s not as goofy and isn’t quite as food crazy as me and S.B. are, and I used to be more uptight similar to Pearl, but I’ve lightened up in recent years.

Dominic Woyzeck

(Dominic Woyzeck, Dempsey’s Dad)

My dad and I have differing personalites and tastes, but we both LOVE Steven Universe, and while we used to be distant, we’re as close as Steven and his dad, though mine’s a tad more relaible and as smart as he is kooky!

My favorite story was where Steven and his friend Connie are trying to raise money give Beach City a new library and how Pearl’s neatnik ways lead to hilarious results!

I also loved how Pearl and Connie had an exchange on how “realistic” a book character should be portrayed, Swinebert and I had such a debate once, thankfully I didn’t grill S.B. too much…(LOL!) 

Final Thoughts

Taurean: A worthy companion series for new and diehard fans.

Swinebert: Hardcore Steven Universe must not miss this worthy companion adapatation.

Dempsey: Stven Universe enters the comics world without a hitch. 

 

 

You Can Find Swinebert & Dempsey On Twitter via @Swinebert_and_D

(Tweet them! They don’t bite…)

 

 

facebook-346725

 

 

☚ They’re also on Facebook! 

 

 

T.A.A. on YouTube 2

They also contribute videos to

T.A.A.’s YouTube channel!

Check back next time for another edition of 
“Panel by Panel.”
 

Until then,

Keep reading, keep doodling,

and be careful not to get a papercut!

 

Oh, almost forgot-

 

 

(Steven Universe Intro –

Cartoon Network on YouTube)

 

Hey, we couldn’t feature something

“Steven Universe” related without a sing-along session!

Critter Chat with Swinebert & Dempsey Pt. 2

SD Critter Chat

 

This is part 2 of your lit. rat’s interview with swine-feline duo, Swinebert Glockchester and Dempsey Woyzeck, from T.A.A. FM’s upcoming podcast series, “Swinebert & Dempsey.

 

If you missed it or are new here, read part 1 of this interview. Okay, let’s jump back into it-

Taurean: Can you tell me about your fellow pet friends? What are they like?

 

Swinebert: Sure! We’ve got tons of them, but the ones we’re most tight with our next door neighbors: Clarke, a Jack-Russell mix (OBSESSED with aviation and motorcycles), and his feline roomies, Chuck and Lilac.

 Clark, Chuck and Lilac(Left, Clark, Right, Chuck and Lilac – Neighbors)

Swinebert: There are the squirrels who live in our  backyard. At first, we were enemies after the prize acorns that grow in the many oak trees in our backyard. We’ve long since resolved that and became friends.

 

It took them a lot longer to warm up to Dempsey, his being a cat and all, they worried he’d try to hunt them down, but 

 

THe Backlot Squirrels

 (The Backlot Squirrels – From Left to Right:

Little Wally, Mac, Hazel, and Filbert)

 

Swinebert: We also have plenty of family who live in White Oak Acres. While we of course consider our humans (and their kin) family, I’m talking about our non-human relations-

TRUG-2.5.5

(Swinebert’s Nephew, Trug)

Swinebert: For me there’s my darling nephew, Trug, as our regulars know, and his folks: my brother, Ross, and my sis-in-law, Flair. My Ma, Pa and two kid sisters live back on the ranch where I was born. I video chat with them three times a week, and we visit each other when we can.

 

My Grand-Hog Wes lives at the ranch, too, but he’s always traveling, even at his age, he rarely slows down. I hope I’m that gutsy in my golden years!

 

Dempsey: For me, most of the Woyzeck clan live in various parts of the U.S. and Europe. I  have to give a nod to my Uncle Briggs, my dad’s adoptive hedgehog brother. He lives in another town, but visits us often.

 

Dominic Woyzeck and Briggs Woyzeck II

 (Left, Dominic, Dempsey’s Dad. Right, Dempsey’s Uncle Briggs)

 

On that note, my sister Nina’s also adopted, but she’s not a cat, or a hedgehog-she’s a goat.

The Woyzeck Family

(The Woyzeck  Family – From Left to Right: Dempsey, Langley, Nina, Dominic and Claire)

Dempsey: Here in White Oak Acres there’s my brother, Langley, kid sister Nina, and my parents, Dominic and Claire.

Uncle Doyle and Aunt Moxie

(Left, Uncle Doyle, Right, Aunt Moxie)

Dempsey: In Summer 2014, during me and S.B.’s world tour holiday, I got to meet my Uncle Doyle and Aunt Moxie. They live in London. 

 

Taurean: Who are some your other friends and neighbors, both human and non-human? How you meet? What are they like?

 

Thorne

(Connect with Thorne Thistlestop 

via @TheBookishFox on Twitter!)

Swinebert: Well, you know of our friend, Thorne Thistlestop

(aka “The Bookish Fox”) who’s the librarian at “Bookmobile Sentinel.”  A traveling library in our neighborhood.

 

Taurean: Something I always love to ask duos like yourselves is, who are your favorite duos?

 

Swinebert: I’ve got a soft spot for the classics: Laurel and Hardy, Gilbert and Sullivan, Cagney and Lacey-Swinebert's Duos - FINAL TRANS

Swinebert: But of course we’ve got awesome duets today-

Joe and Sparky, Cork and Fuzz, Herman and Rosie, the list goes on!

Swinebert''s Duos 2

(Covers for “Joe and Spark Go To School”, “Cork and Fuzz: Spring Cleaning”, and Herman and Rosie)

Dempsey: The comic nerd in me would say “Batman and Robin” in particular the Tim Drake Robin, as he had the most bittersweet connection with the dark knight.

Dempsey's Duos - FINAL TRANS

Dempsey: Also, literary duos of note for me are: Tom Sawyer and Hukcleberry Finn”, “Holmes and Watson”, and “Phileas Fogg and Passepartout.”

Dempsey's Critter Chat Playlist - TRANS

(Covers for “The Essential Indigo Girls”, “The Essential Simon and Garfunkel”, “The Carpenters: Singles: 1969-1981)

 

Dempsey: But I also love musician duos such as “The Indigo Girls”,

“Simon and Garfunkel”, “Puffy AmiYumi” and “The Carpenters.”

 

Taurean: Of course at T.A.A. we LOVE books, but we’re lovers of television, too, what are some of your favorite shows?

 

Swinebert: Here’s the thing, Dempsey and I like a lot of the same shows, but we have our differing tastes. So, first we’ll start with shows one likes more than the other. That okay with you?

 

Taurean: Sure, please proceed.

 

Swinebert: Okay, I love shows that don’t just tickle my funny bone, but assaults it! Shows like Zatch Bell, various “Peanuts” Specials, and Kodocha.

 

I also love shows that have food at the center: Antique Bakery, Toriko, and I’m So PSYCHED that Yakitate Japan’s anime is coming stateside!

 

Dempsey : For my part I LOVE shows where you learn stuff, like “Modern Marvels.” and “Bill Nye The Science Guy” DVDs that’s both fun and informative. But I also love fun documenterary-style series stuff like “Unlikely Animal Friends.” If you think Swinebert and me are an “Odd Couple”, some of the unions formed between varting species are even more out there, and seriously, I’m surprised Disney hasn’t optioned some of these stories for film.

 

They need to do more of the cool animal films they had in the 60s, 80s and 90s again! Anway, my girfriend Celeine and I are both big fans of “Too Cute” and “Inuyasha.”

Taurean: So what are some shows you both like?

 Swinebert and Dempsey's Fave Shows - FINAL TRANS

Swinebert: We’re both fans of “Sailor Moon” 

(we’re both die hard romantics),

 Naurto, One Piece, Avatar: The Last Airbender

(the non-James Cameron version)

and “The Legend of Korra.”

 

 

Taurean: What books do you think would make a great film or animated series that don’t yet have one?

 

Swinebert:  Otter, like you, D and I are big fans, we first met Otter on Twitter  (@i_am_otter), and we’re looking forward to her two books in 2015!

Otter Trilogy

(Covers for “I Am Otter”, “Otter in Space”, and

“Otter Loves Halloween!”)

Swinebert: As I commented on in your review back in 2014, my nephew Trug had a NAJOR crush on her.

 

Even though Otter turned him down (and he’s still perplexed about why she offered instead to set him up with Giraffe…) I was nevertheless impressed with his courage. The game of love, despite how cynical, comical and downright trvial we portray it, is NOT a game for wimps.

 

Like most things in life, it takes the guts of an olympian athlete, the , and the blindless optomism that’s easier for kids like Trug (with so much life ahead of him) than folks like me, who while nowhere near my final years, sometimes have a harder time keeping the faith.

 

After all, I’ve had many crushes, a couple serious relationships, yet nothing steady at the moment.

 

As I said then and still stand by now, he’ll make the one who finally does look his way a happy mate.

 

For my own part, I still believe that I will find a sweetie sow who makes my piggy heart skip a beat, and feeling my trotters are strolling on clouds.

 

While it’s never fun to come up short: be that flunking a test you actually studied for, , or as in in Trug’s case “Not getting the girl’

 

Dempsey: “Varjak Paw” needs to be a movie, and an awesome one! I like how the book has the action of “Warriors” but does it’s own thing.

 

But I’d be open to an animated series if it was done right and they don’t stretch the story too thin in an episodic format. 

 

Apparently, it was optioned at one point,

but nothing came of it.

 

Someone PLEASE make this film (or animated series) before I’m out of my nine lives!

Varjak Paw Duet

(Covers for “Varjak Paw” and

“The Outlaw Varjak Paw”)

Panel by Panel (with Swinebert and Dempsey 2.5.5

(Panel By Panel: with Swinebert & Dempsey Logo)

Taurean: As some T.A.A. fans know, we just launched “Panel by Panel” our comics/graphic novel column where you guys, and myself, review titles and discuses trends and opinions about this vibrant medium.

(Steven Universe Intro –

Cartoon Network on YouTube)

[The Literary Rat DARES you to sing-along…]

Taurean: I know on Facebook, you’ve professed your love for “Steven Universe.” I’m a fan, too, and I recently checked out the comics put out by “BOOM Studios“, and I was skeptical at first, but they blew me away!

 

Swinebert: We felt the same way at first, though we were excited when  we first learned about them last summer (before new episodes of the series resumed after a LONG break where we feared it was canceled) , we’ve been burned by bad comic versions of television shows or films we love.

But when we heard what you had to say about the comics, we gave them a go for ourselcves. As a fellow “Steventhusiast” we knew we could trust your vouching for them.

 

Steven Universe #1-#5

(Steven Universe: Comics #1-#5, BOOM Studios)

Dempsey: We’ve read the first 5 books and knew we had to review these for “Panel by Panel” so you’ll have to wait and see what we thought…

 

To Be Continued…

 

 

Check back next Sunday for part 3 of my chat with Swinebert & Dempsey…

 

You’ll learn more about what they’re planning just for T.A.A. fans! A sneak peak of what they’re working on next, and a whole lot more!

I Am Otter (Release Celebration with Swinebert & Dempsey)

I Am Otter

 

 

Today is the release day for “I Am Otter” by Sam Garton, last year T.A.A. named it one of “Most Anticipated Releases for 2014” during our Picture Book Month 2013 celebration (UPDATE 5/6/14: Check out our Review!), I’ve invited my friends, Swinebert & Dempsey (@Swinebert_and_D) to stop by and celebrate-

 

Swinebert: Morning Chicks and Chickies! Today’s a big day for an e-friend of ours and Dempsey and I made this video to celebrate-

Dempsey: Special Thanks to Taurean J. Watkins at Talking Animal Addicts for helping S.B. and I create this video!

World Book Day 2014 Twitter Chat Transcript

 

tweeting-150413_1280

 

Yesterday was “World Book Day” and T.A.A. celebrated by bringing together some of our partners and letting them borrow the official T.A.A. Twitter feed (@TAA_Editor) for a Twitter chat.

If you missed the chat live, you can now read the transcript below-

 

ME: It’s Noon EST, and now #TheLiteraryRat Signs off and my special guests take over!

 

Swinebert: Yo Chicks ‘n Chickies! Dempsey and I will be the moderators for this special #WorldBookDay Twitter Chat on T.A.A.’s Twitter Feed.
Dempsey: Are the others here yet?

Swinebert: Bonnie and Guido just got here, Gabriel and Rum, too.

Dempsey: Okay, than let’s get started. First up, we’ll each share our most special book/reading memories. Who wants to go first?

 

Guido: I’ll start! My fave book/reading memory is when Graham (My master’s son) read me “Dominic” by William Steig. Dominic-Steig-William-9780374418267

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonnie: My favorite book/reading memory is when Andrea  read me “Pippi Longstocking”

Pippi

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Swinebert: My turn! Swinebert: My best book/reading memory was the first time I read to me nephew, Trug, “Olivia”

 

 

Dempsey: My favorite book/reading memory was first discovering poetry by Emily Dickinson.

 

 

 

 

 

Swinebert: Last but far from least, Gabriel Crisping and Rum Wheatland (From @Taurean_Watkins’ GABRIEL) share their top book/reading moment.

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Gabriel: I have two greatest book/reading memories…The first is reading “Martin’s Mice” by

24178Dick King-Smith. I wish more cats could be like Martin. The second was reading “Charlotte’s Web” with my Dad…Though I didn’t care for Templeton at first. No wonder humans have issues with rats if he’s the sole model they look to.

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Rum: My favorite book/memory was reading the first “Redwall” to my sisters, because they always screamed at the scary parts. (They LIKED it)
Swinebert: Great picks, everyone, now we’ll move on to the next roundtable question: What’s everyone reading at the moment? Rum, why do you go first this time?
Rum: Right now I’m reading “Nightshade City” by Hilary Wagner.
Nightshade City (Nightshade Chronicles #1)
I’ve got a lot of catching up to do with the last one coming out soon!
Gabriel: I’m reading “Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife” by Sam Savage.
ME: #TheLiteraryRat‘s interjecting a quick sec to say I just bought this recently can’t wait to read it. Carry on, guys, you’re doing great!
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Bonnie: I’m reading “Comfort Food” by Kate Jacobs. Quite a story.
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Guido: I’m reading “Wolf Story” by William McCleery.
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Dempsey: I’m reading “Toes” by Tor Seidler.

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Swinebert: As for me, I’m reading “Welcome to the Bed and Biscuit” by Joan Carris. Great picks again, everyone!
Now before we head to the next roundtable question, let’s chat about what we plan to read next.
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Gabriel: I’m planning to read “Junkyard Planet” by Adam Minter. 
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Rum: Next on my list is “Manhood for Amateurs” by Michael Chabon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

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Dempsey: Next up for me is  

“The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents

(Discworld #28) by Terry Pratchett.

4313522Bonnie: Next for me is “The School of Essential Ingredients”

 by Erica Bauermeister 

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    Guido: My next read is “The Daring Adventures of Penhaligon Brush” by S. Jones Rogan.
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Swinebert: As for me, I’m looking forward to
“Sailor Twain: Or: The Mermaid in the Hudson” by Mark Siegel.

The Pelican Chorus

Swinebert: Okay, now for the next roundtable question…What’s your favorite book to re-read? This time, I’ll start us off, mine is beyond doubt “The Pelican Chorus: and Other Nonsense” by Edward Lear.
Dempsey: For me, “Around the World in 80 Days” by Jules Verne.
Melrose and Croc (A Christmas to Remember
Guido: “Melrose and Croc: A Christmas to Remember” by Emma Chichester Clark. It reminds me of the day my master adopted me. (Whimpers)
Swinebert: You okay, Guido?
Guido: Yeah, just got a bit overcome there. It was a happy memory, you know?
Bonnie: I know what you mean, Guido, I remember Andrea adopted me several years ago. Other girls passed me by because I looked “Old.” Andrea was the first soul apart from my mother who said I was beautiful. We clicked instantly.
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Anyway, my favorite book to re-read is “Oscar, Cat-About-Town” by James Herriot. Had I not met Andrea, I’d be a bit like Oscar.

Gabriel: My favorite book to re-read is “How to Save Your Tail” by Mary Hanson. How To Save Your Tail (Hardcover)

 

 

15799039Rum: “Hickory by Palmer Brown” because my sisters love my reading to them and it’s not too cutesy for me…

Swinebert: Way to dig deep, folks, especially you, Guido. Our next roundtable question is…If you could hang out with any literary character, who would it be and why?
51ZV5S69Z9LDempsey: For me, it’d be Martin from “Martian’s Mice” since neither of us care for eating mice and we’d be a great foster dad team.
Guido: I’m a bit torn. Part of me would want to spend time with Sam the Cat Detective…327702 (1)

But he might not tolerate a canine sidekick… So, I’d then go with #Clifford
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Bonnie: I’d love to spend the day with the “Bed and Biscuit” crew. It’s clearly rarely boring there!
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Gabriel: I’d love to spend the day with Montague Mad-Rat from
Tor Seidler’s “A Rat’s Tale” as we both like to work with our paws.

Rum: Not to mention you both have dames you’d do anything for.

Gabriel: Rum, please!
Rum: Hey, what’re you blushing for?
Gabriel: …Just go next, please…
Rum: Okay…well, I’d love to spend the day with Bingo and J’miah from “The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp.” 
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It’d be like having the adopted little brothers I never had for real. I love my sisters but I always wanted a brother.

 

Swinebert: For me, I’d have to say Piglet since he reminds me a lot of my nephew Trug, only Trug’s FAR less timid.
Swinebert: Okay, now for our next roundtable question…What book’s world would you most want to visit and why?
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Dempsey: I’d visit the world of “Catwings” if I could get wings!
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Swinebert: I’d go to the world of “Dragon Rider” if I got the chance to meet a dragon, either Firedrake or someone else, if he/she were nice.
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Bonnie: I’d inhabit the world of Narnia if I could be friends with Lucy, she reminds me a lot of Andrea when she was little.

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Guido: I’d go to the world of Doctor Doolittle and have him be my doctor so my human would finally know how I really feel without him guessing.
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Gabriel: I’d go to the world of “Redwall” because they’d be swords my size to wield. 

Rum: Interesting choice coming from you. Well, like Bonnie, I’d go to Narnia, too. I’d be the big boss of a band of vigilante forest warriors.
Swinebert: Interesting choices, folks. Okay, on to the next roundtable question…Our last question is: What’s the one bit of advice you’d give to a literary character?
Bonnie: I’d advise Oscar from “Oscar, Cat-About-Town” to not give up finding a forever home too easily.
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Rum: I’d tell Skilley from “The Cheshire Cheese Cat” by Carmen Agra Deedy, “We need more cats like you!” Cats who LOVE cheese and are willing to strike bargains with rodents…Like a feline “Pied Piper.” (WITHOUT sending rats or mice to a watery grave…)

9822Gabriel: I’d warn Jasper from “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH” that he’s ruining a friendship with Nicodemus needlessly.

Gabriel: Given my own story, I’ve got personal experience on the matter…

Guido: Being co-host of an upcoming pet advice show, I’d advise the naughty cats from “Detective LaRue: Letters from the Investigation”-
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Guido: Watch yourself! What humans overlook, we pets in the know will remember.
9780689829536Dempsey: I’d warn Oliva from “Olivia” to not tease Ian too much. Being a “Little Brother” myself, trust me when I say this…
Dempsey: Vengeance (like a boomerang) is Karma!
Swinebert: As for me, I’d just let Wilbur from “Charlotte’s Web” know that the day will come when some some humans see us as more than food. I’m glad my human does.
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Swinebert: That’s it for roundtable questions, everyone had such great answers, but before we wrap things up…For those new to T.A.A. and have no idea who some of us are, we’ll share a bit about ourselves. We would’ve done intros first, but we wanted to dive right in. Anyway, I’m Swinebert, and my pal Dempsey and I star in our own show to debut on #TAAFM later this year-
[sz-youtube url=”http://youtu.be/c0kNnoWGu3A” userdata=”Taury” /]
Guido: Bonnie and I also have a show on #TAAFM
[sz-youtube url=”http://youtu.be/4pUqVKqVZSM” userdata=”Taury” /]
Bonnie: We hope pets (and their owners) send us questions that can be answered on the show. You can even tweet us your questions-
Gabriel: My friend (Or at the time, “Frenemy”) Rum and I in the upcoming release “GABRIEL” by Taurean J. Watkins (@Taurean_Watkins) You can learn more about me here-
[sz-youtube url=”http://youtu.be/Iioyk5Wo66g” userdata=”Taury” /]
Rum: And me here-

[sz-youtube url=”http://youtu.be/cC-Jw-Axmjo” userdata=”Taury” /]

Gabriel: Thanks to Mr. Quint (my toymaking mentor) and @Taurean_Watkins for setting up our Facebook page and creating our book trailers.
Guido: Me and Bonnie also want to thank @TAA_Editor for letting us borrow T.A.A.’s Twitter account for this chat in honor of #WorldBookDay!
Swinebert: Dempsey and I third those thanks to @TAA_Editor (aka #TheLiteraryRat) and thanks to all of you who followed along with us! Well, this pig’s signing off, for Dempsey and all our guests today, goodbye and have a acorn-tastic day!

1st Annual Swinebert & Dempsey’s “Hog ‘n Claw Bowl”

Hog and Claw Bowl 2014 (FINAL)

Swinebert: We’re late, but whatever, welcome to the 1st Annual Swinebert & Dempsey “Hog ‘n Claw Bowl” Where we share our favorite ads aired during (Or in some cases prior to) Super Bowl 2014.

 

[sz-youtube url=”http://youtu.be/slk7yCySQ3s” userdata=”Taury” /]

GEICO (Maxwell at the DMV)
Swinebert: We pigs need more respect. I sure know how Jabberjaw feels at times…

Dempsey: I can relate. I get so tired of cats seen as anti-social, pompous, megalomaniacs who only see the worst in humans, rarely the best!

[sz-youtube url=”http://youtu.be/LKuQrKeGe6g” userdata=”Taury” /]
Cheerios (Or Why we still have faith in humanity at large)

Swinebert: Just sweet.

Dempsey: Quite right, S.B. Though I wonder the “Bargain” Langley (My Big brother) got prior to my birth…

[sz-youtube url=”http://youtu.be/ABxP3t7XP3g” userdata=”Taury” /]

Chobani (Mr. Bear Goes WILD…)
Swinebert: This describes my Dad when he had to be on a highly restrictive diet, yogurt (In general) saved his sanity. He can now eat as likes, but this ursine tantrum brought me back to those days, which is FAR funnier in hindsight as it was serious back then.

 

Dempsey: Had similar “Dad” issues myself, S.B. But they had nothing to do with diet. We’re good now. But things were wicked intense for ages!

 

Swinebert: Well that’s it from us. What were your favorite Super Bowl Ads? (Please keep comments “Safe For Work” even if the videos in question weren’t)

 

Dempsey: Special Thanks to Talking Animal Addicts for letting us guest blog here today. Our site’s still in the works. But you can follow S.B. and me on Twitter (@Swinebert_and_D)

T.A.A.’s Next Big Thing

NOTE: For those of you who subscribe to our newsletter “Bites From The Cheese Shop” I apologize for the delay in bringing it out, I had lot of early year stuff I had to address, but will assume a regular schedule soon. Thanks for your patience.

Sorry I’ve been MIA much of this month. I’ve been busy with lots of boring offline stuff that had to get done, and there was a bit of drama regarding the status of my debut novel GABRIEL, which I’ll talk more about at a different time.

But today I’m happy to announce our newest project! If you follow us on YouTube, Twitter or Facebook (We’re also on Pinterest!), you’re already aware, but to you loyal blog readers I’m happy to announce our newest project for T.A.A. in 2014-

 

T.A.A. FM

 

[sz-youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiZkLkBvfAE” userdata=”Taury” /]

 

 

 

Here’s a promo for “Guido and Bonnie”  one of the shows available on T.A.A. FM-
(Plus, learn how to get your questions answered on the show!)

 

[sz-youtube url=”http://youtu.be/4pUqVKqVZSM” userdata=”Taury” /]

Another show debuting on T.A.A. FM is about a dynamic duo of a different sort…

[sz-youtube url=”http://youtu.be/N0Mlg4Zz7yg” userdata=”Taury” /]

T.A.A. fans, let’s make them feel welcome by sending them your support be tweeting out your congratulations to them via @Swinebert_and_D

(You can also find Guido and Bonnie on Twitter via @GuidoandBonnie)

I’ll have more details about these and other content on T.A.A. FM when we launch later this year. #TAAFM

You can always click  the “T.A.A. FM” tab at the top our homepage  as updates and behind-the scenes content is added before and after launch. Get ready, T.A.A. fans, soon you’ll be taking your fantastical fauna with you anytime, anywhere, via our podcasts. If you’ve got comments, questions, and suggestions for T.A.A. FM, feel free to share them below (And tell your friends about us!)

I’ll be inteviewing Guido and Bonnie along with Swinebert and Dempsey on the blog, and you can send them questions in the comments below or emailing me at taury-at-talkinganimaladdicts.com

They don’t have a website yet, but you can find Guido and Bonnie on Twitter (@GuidoandBonnie)

You can learn more about Swinebert and Dempsey via Facebook, Twitter (@Swinebert_and_D), and Pinterest

Until next time, may the fantastical fauna be with you!