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!

Panel by Panel with Swinebert & Dempsey (1st Edition)

Panel by Panel (with Swinebert and Dempsey 2.5.5

I’ve long wanted to do reviews of comics/graphic novels on T.A.A. for some time, but it didn’t fit in the “Weekly Readings” format I use for picture book reviews.

 

Why? Because while picture books are just as visual as comics and graphic novels, the latter requires A LOT MORE of its readers.

 

They’re also a lot longer than picture books, and can tell more complex plots and often include at least one subplot.

 

The blend of words and pictures is more sophisticated than it might first look.

 

The stories in the panels, and occasional full page spreads, can be as complex or as simple as their creator(s) desire, FAR more freedom than the average picture book.

 

Those who say comics aren’t “REAL READING” are WAY mistaken! 

 

At T.A.A. we want to champion the fun, the fantastical, and fauna, that gives those without a voice in “reality” a voice on T.A.A. and beyond!

 

Your lit. rat came to comics FAR LATER in his life, and my tastes are highly eclectic, but because I have a limited pool of knowledge…

I’ve enlisted my friends/podcasting partners

(and self-proclaimed comics connoisseurs), Swinebert & Dempsey (@Swinebert_and_D), to take part in our comics/graphic novel reviews on T.A.A.

For our first edition of “Panel by Panel”, Swinebert, Dempsey and I are reviewing our mutual Twitter buddy, Eric Orchard’s debut graphic novel-

9781603090728_zoom

Maddy Kettle

(Book 1): The Adventure of the Thimblewitch

by Eric Orchard (@inkybat)

Publisher: Top Shelf Productions 

Pub. Date: September 30th, 2014

 

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

 

Dempsey: When our friend (and podcast director/producer), Taurean J. Watkins (aka “The Literary Rat), approached us to be on his reviews team, we knew we wanted to do comics, and it was unanimous what our first book would be…

 

 TJW Headshot V2

From “The Literary Rat”, Taurean J. Watkins (@Taurean_Watkins)

Something that I think has held some comics and graphic novels back is feeling they have to been in one camp versus another.

 

You either have to be “Funny” or “Dark and Brooding” but they can’t be both or a middle ground between the two.

 

Every reader wants something a bit different, and for me, generally speaking, I gravitate to books that can make me laugh, but they’re also not afraid to get serious when the story demands and deserves it.

 

Even when you’re writing about steampunk flying machines, witches and pipe-smoking critters, there is still a level of seriousness that the reader can take seriously in the context of the story’s world, the less it’s like ours, the more crucial that is.

 

Naruto and One Piece

(Naruto Vol. 5/Naruto Vol. 28, 

One Piece Vol. 11/One Piece Vol. 61)

Series like “Naruto” and “One Piece” are great examples of this.

 

Like the series above, this book has a very distinct art style, the mural-like compostion is apparent from the cover onward, the panels are clearly defined without looking sterile.

I love the use of shadow and light at play, and the soft rounded/angular look to the characters.

Even the clouds have their own distictive look, slightly reminiscent of those old school cloud trails via 1930s cartoons with a slight nod to the psychedelic 60s in terms of color shading. This mix of bright colors and mural-style presentation made the book feel modern yet retro in the good sense of the latter.

My road to reviewing “Maddy Kettle” is an intersting one.

Often writers debate amongst themselves if social media is worth their time, and if so, what platforms make sense for them.

 

I know many of my favorite authors simply aren’t interested in social media or simply find it too much of a time suck that would prevent them from writing actual books, they don’t even have a basic website (which I think even the most luddite folks need, but I’m not getting on that soapbox here! LOL).

 

But for me, I would likely never have learned about “Maddy Kettle” had I not been on Twitter and started connecting with artist-author Eric Orchard (@inkybat on Twitter), at least not as soon as I did.

 

There really is a skill to reading comics and graphic novels. Just as there is great skill in crafting them in the first place.

 

From developing the story, scripting the dialogue, drawing the art (or hiring the illustrator if the author’s not also the illustrator, the latter a lot more common in the comics/graphic novel space than picture books), and bringing it all together in the final book we buy.

 

As an author myself, I know firsthand that some of the hardest things to pull off, look the most effortless to lay readers, and from the cover onward, you can feel the care and attention that went into this book. 

 

 

Swinebert (Grown Up 1.5)Swinebert’s Thoughts

Back in Fall 2014, when I got my hooves on “Maddy Kettle” I knew from the first few pages this was a book I’d always cherish, and the fact that it’s the first of a multi-volume series only has me jonesing for the next installment. 

 

 

 

 

Side Note: Since Dempsey and I first connected with artist/author Eric Orchard on Twitter, we often wondered where his *handle “Inkybat” came from, and after reading “Maddy Kettle”, we now know… 

[*Handle is another way of saying Nickname or Username.]

Anyway, back in late Summer 2014, my nephew Trug saw the cover (while D and I were conversing with the author on Twitter), he said, “Uncle Swinebert, to the bookstore, now!”

The book wasn’t out yet, but our pal and producer, Taurean J. Watkins, found the book on Net Galley, and after checking it out himself, he shared it with me and Dempsey, and I shared it with Trug, and here’s what he says-

TRUG-2.5

“I’ve been in love since seeing the cover (back in August) I finally read it and it ROCKS! I’ll be on ‘Cloud Nine’ to get the next installment.”

-Trug Glockchester

 

 

 

DEMPSEY FRAME

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Dempsey’s Thoughts

I LOVE heroes, or in this case HEROINES, like Maddy for many reasons.

First, she LOVES books, as do I, be they fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and (obviously) comics and graphic novels.

Second, she’s not afraid to take charge of a situation, even if those closest to her (such her overprotective yet thoughtful parents, who when this story begins are Kangaroo rats, more on that later…) would rather her take a “wait and see” approach, which in real life is sometimes the best move, but doesn’t nesscarially make for thrilling storytelling.

Third, she drives her own story, BUT, is not above getting help along the way.

While first-time entrepenuers often shout “It’s all about getting off your duff and being your own boss” most of us need SOME help from others to either just get started on reaching our goals, or after we’ve reached our goals, keep it going if’s something that requires ongoing commitment versus a one-time push that requires less hands-on proddling. 

 

It’s like the difference between day camp versus a tradtional summer long camp.

 

Any leader worth his or her salt knows that while looking out for their team is essential, if you can’t also rely on the the team you’ve assembled or grew over time, you’re doing them and yourself a disserivce. 

 

Just how we need to remember that every viewer or reader is an actual living being , not merely a statistic, we need to treat our team members with the same level of respect we’d want as the team leader.

 

Maddy has those qualities that allow her to take the lead, but not be arrogant during times she needs info she can’t get on her own.

 

That’s something we bookish types tend to have in common, our curious thirst for knowledge allows us to not feel above seeking council from others.

 

Asking for help isn’t the same is asking somone to “do it for you” and that’s the kind of nuance we don’t teach kids enough or at all.

 

This book shows that difference in a non-preachy manner, as the best stories speak for themselves (though that doesn’t make marketing them any easier for some of us).

 

Final Thoughts

Taurean: A spunky steampunk fairy tale with NO shortage of charm and wit.

Swinebert: Maddy Kettle is Acorn-Tastically OUT OF THIS WORLD!

Dempsey: A crackerjack start of what looks to be a hearwarming yet gutsy series.

FINAL NOTE FROM THE LITERARY RAT

Check out our fan book trailer for

“Maddy Kettle (Book 1):

The Adventure of the Thimblewitch”

 

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!

 

 

UPDATE 3/31/15: T.A.A. recently learned Eric Orchard (creator of Maddy Kettle) is being hospitlized after a violent misunderstanding with police last night.

 

 

On behalf of Swinebert & Dempsey, and everyone at T.A.A., our thoughts and prayers go out to Eric and his family.

 

Love,

Taurean J. Watkins

Founder and “Literary Rat”

Talking Animal Addicts

Weekly Readings V

Weekly Readings V (BETA)

 

T.A.A. Fans Old and New,

Welcome to another edition of Weekly Readings! 

 

Usually, Weekly Readings is when your lit. rat reviews a mix of picture books I’ve read here and there. But this week, I’m focusing on one book in particular- 

 

I Am Otter Cover

I Am Otter (@i_am_otter)

by Sam Garton (@SamuelGarton)

Publisher: Balzer + Bray (An Imprint of HarperCollins)

Pub. Date: April 29, 2014

As Long time T.A.A. fans know, this book was one of our “Most Anticipated Book of 2014” picks during our 2013 celebration of “Picture Book Month” founded and run by author Tara Lazar (Her debut picture book “The Monstore” is available June 4th, 2014) and this is one of the few things in life I have ever pre-ordered, which I can still count on one hand.

 

Your lit. rat has read and re-read this book, and I’m happy to finally be able to say it was worth the wait. But for those of you not yet convinced, or just unaware of this book (and it’s star) allow me to clue you in, but before I go further-

Question, what do “I Am Otter” and Jeff Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series have in common?

They both began as online “Experiments” that soon attracted many eyeballs across the web, and particularly in the case of Otter, across continents, and soon their now publishers (Amulet Books [U.S.] and Balzer + Bray [imprint of HarperCollins] respectively) approach them for bringing them to print, and the road to this book’s release is a great example of “Out of the Box” marketing that today’s authors and/or illustrators can learn from, but that’s a topic for another time and place… 

 

Anyway, our tittle character has something in common with another famous kidlit character, the iconic Paddington Bear, who also began life anew when he migrated from darkest Peru to England where a mild-mannered family took him in, unaware of the adventures and antics that would await them…  

 

But while P.B. had an established biological family in his native homeland before being taken in by the Brown family, Otter began not knowing where she came from when left on the doorstep of the human (Known as Otter Keeper) who like the Browns, got more than he bargained for…

 

Children from adoptive or blended families can relate to Otter’s initial unease settling in, and like many children, a special toy friend can make all the difference, just like Christopher Robin and Pooh and Co., or a non-wizard Harry had his bucket of dinosaurs, Otter has Teddy, and together with Otter Keeper, they have more fun than you could believe!

 

But as the saying goes, all unbelievable fun has to come to an end, and after a fun-filled weekend, Monday comes, and with that, Otter Keeper goes to work, and despite Otter’s attempts to prevent Monday from coming, it always barges in-   sad dog eyes

This is one of rare books that comes along every so often, where the reader’s not only rewarded with a plucky, well-defined character, but for anyone who had to “Make your own fun” from an early age as I did, can relate to Otter doing her best to pass the time, some ideas working better than others, and yet somehow always involve messes and mayhem, just when the grown-up in your life comes home and there’s nowhere to hide!

 

As with many picture books, facial expressions are very important to highlight the unspoken moments that bring characters alive, and that vital quality is in full view here as subtle lines and shading indicate fear, anger, movement and joy.

While many folks relent (or at least occasionally bummed out) how digital the world of visual arts has become, there’s nothing to fear here.  To me, the best visual artists still achieve this organic warmth to their illustrations, even if the final art to appear in the book was digitally enhanced, or it was digital all along.

 

Even books where technology is inherently modern and integral to the story, that warmth is still there, and vital to the experience. You’ll find that detail throughout.

 

Not since Snoopy, Garfield, or Calvin and Hobbes have I met a character as lively and unique as Otter, may she have a long and lorded life in the literary landscape for many years to come.

Look out, Olivia, there’s a new picture book princess in town. (We still love you, too, though!)

 

While this lit. rat normally prefers to work solo when it comes to our book reviews at T.A.A., this was a title that I wanted some extra POVs on, and with that, I’ll let my friends, Swinebert & Dempsey (who shared in the launch celebration of I Am Otter at the end of April 2014), share their thoughts on Otter, her book, and it how relates to them-

 

Swinebert: This book reminded me of the day I met Ferenc. I used to live on a ranch with my Ma, Pa, and siblings.

Unlike most pigs, we weren’t raised to be…food, but rather for show.Ma was a retired show pig, and Pa worked in movies (Think Babe or Gordy), and to Mr. Gregory we weren’t his “Meal Ticket” in more ways than one, we were his friends, family even.

 

But times got tough  when the human recession of 2008 hit. Mr. Gregory was being pressured to sell the ranch, and sell me, and my siblings for slaughter meat. It was during those scary times I met Ferenc when he was a kid.

 

He not only found a way to save the ranch, but saved me, my sibs, and our folks from being sent to Hog Heaven (By way of a Butcher) and gave Mr. Gregory a new lease on life along with his livelihood.

 

When Mr. Gregory insisted on giving Ferenc a reward for his help, the only thing he wanted, was to take me home.   He had a heck of a time convincing his parents to bring me home, but thank acorns he did.

 

Ferenc also gave me my name, the “Bert” in it came from his favorite uncle, and my new life had begun in earnest…

Ferenc and Swinebert Collage 2 (Left Ferenc & Swinebert as Youth | Right, Ferenc & Swinebert Grown-Up)

For many years we lived in Brooklyn, but after Ferenc grew up and graduated college we moved out to put down our own roots in White Oak Acres, a quiet-looking city-town hybrid in suburbia- Overhead view of White Oak Acres

(Overhead view of White Oak Acres)

winebert and Dempsey's House

 (Swinebert & Dempsey’s House)

Here I would meet my best pal, Dempsey, and make so many new and captivating friends, including Otter.

 

Though we’ve not met outside cyberspace, I knew when I first encountered her when me and Dempsey were getting our barrings on Twitter, she’d fit right in with the folks we know and love offline. 

 

But even though she’s my friend, I’d love the book even if I’d not known her (virtually or otherwise) beforehand, because it reminds me how lucky I am to have Ferenc, and while I’m sometimes ticked off when he leaves me out of cool stuff, he’s there for me when it counts.  The only problem is- TRUG 2

(Swinebert’s Nephew,Trug)

My little nephew Trug (who loved the book, too, after his favorite uncle, ME, read it to him) has fallen in love with Otter, and when I say love, I mean the “Flowers and Chocolate-covered acorns, WILL YOU MARRY ME?” kind of love.

 

Otter, should you read this, can you please give a shout out to my nephew Trug on Twitter? I don’t want to lose my “Coolest Uncle Ever!” status. Swinebert's Signature (FINAL) MINI  Dempsey: Like Swinebert, this book reminded me of the day I met my human, Vermont (Goes by “Vernie”) back when I was a kitten. (This was long before I met Swinebert and his human, by the way)  

 

Vernie (when he was a little boy) originally wanted a dog, but got me instead, and at first he didn’t like me.

I too wasn’t sure I’d like Vernie at first, either, until I saw his room the first time, and saw his bookshelf, filled to bursting with books, except the last shelf on the bottom. (More on that later…)

Vernie loved to read, as did I, that was the first glimmer of hope, but what put my kitty heart at ease was when he was reading a book for school.

 

Vernie had a hard time learning to read, and reading aloud helped him remember it better, one night as he read aloud, I hopped onto the desk to keep him company.   Also, because he was reading a story I wanted to hear for ages. He saw I was engaged and he kept reading to me.

When he finished, I thanked him for telling me the story, and that I could help him read better if he was interested, and if you could’ve seen the look on his face, you’d think he’d won MILLIONS or something.

Anyway, he agreed, and as I helped him read better, we started to connect, the first time he hugged me (Because he WANTED to, not because he was told to) I wanted to cry tears of joy, but we cats aren’t ones for crying (Unless we’re in pain) so I purred instead.

 

I asked him why he didn’t like me at first.

 

He said the last time he met a cat, it was mean to him, and he did nothing wrong to it, and it made him think all cats were mean, but meeting me changed his mind, and I’d already changed my mind about Vernie. No one who loves books as he does (Especially because he struggled with reading in the beginning) can be all bad.

He’s grown up now, and still wants a dog, so S.B. and I’ll probably have a howling new member of the family someday, but Vernie and I are like Otter and Teddy now, true friends and inseparable, until (like Otter Keeper) he has to go to work, but with S.B. and our friends, I’m never bored or lonely.

 

But when I do want my “Alone Time” (which all cats do at some point) I can nap in the bottom shelf of Vernie’s bookcase that I mentioned earlier,  and can look at a picture of Vernie and me when I do miss him, or read a book from my literary collection, but I have to store most of my books in my private library in my and S.B.’s backyard clubhouse-

Swinebert and Dempsey's Backyard Clubhouse

 

(Swinebert & Dempsey’s Backyard Clubhouse)

  All My Anchovies, Dempsey Special Thanks to Swinebert & Dempsey (@Swinebert_and_D) for stopping by to share their opinions (and a bit of themselves) today.   That’s it for Weekly Readings. Next time, we’ll be back to our usual multi-book format.

UPDATE (5/16/14): Giveaway’s over! Winner announced.

 

UPDATE (7/16/14): Watch the video below to hear what the “Critters” say about “I Am Otter” and a sneak peak at where she’s headed next! (Feel free to share it with friends!)

NOTE FROM THE LITERARY RAT: If my ramblings convinced you to buy one or more of the books mentioned above, please support T.A.A. by clicking on the affiliate cover images above or links within the review(s).

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

 

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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.

ddtreas2
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.

 

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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!