Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Book With a Truly Great Title--And an Interview with the Author

It's Carl again. Your ever-vigilant bloggers Bill and I are always on the watch for new and exciting books. We are there, night and day, always looking, never sleeping, never eating, never taking a shower----whew, I didn't mean that!! But we do try to keep our eyes open for new books and authors. So I was glad to hook up with Alan Silberberg, who used to write for the Cartoon Network and Disney. (He wrote episodes of Doug for Cartoon network) He's written one book that's really entertaining and has a great title--Pond Scum.

Pond Scum has great characters and a lot of them are animals. There's Willy, the brave dragonfly. There's his best friend Mooch, a salamander who's always hungry and eats anything that crawls, squirms, or flies (Willy finds it hard to be best friends with someone who has eaten your cousin). We also have a one-eyed skunk named Hinky, a spider called Fat Mama who leads the Alliance (a league of all the animals at The Pond), and General Eduardo Ignacio Santo Domingo, a crow with truly nasty plans for the Alliance. Of course, there are human characters, too. Oliver, the main character, seems like a bad kid at first--he has no friends, is rude to his mom and sister, and spends all his time doing nothing but pulling wings off flies and watching TV. He's not really so bad, though--his parents are going through a divorce and he has trouble coping. The animal and human worlds collide when his mom wants to move into the house by The Pond. The Alliance has kept humans away for years by attacking, stinging, and stinking because of what a human did a long time ago, but Olliver's mom is determined to stay. It looks like misery for everyone. Then Oliver finds a magic gem that lets him morph into any animal that he touches with it. What happens then? You've got to read to find out--but I bet you'll enjoy the ride! The story moves right along, there's lots of humor, and the author puts in enough twists and surprises to make you sit up and notice. I hope some movie studio picks up this book because it would make a fantastic movie! Read it and see if it doesn't create a movie in your head!

Mr. Silberberg has also been good enough to give us an interview. He also drew the pictures.

Why do you think it’s cool for boys to read?

It's cool for boys to read because reading makes everyone cooler. Stories that we get to imagine in our brains make us better story-tellers - and story-telling comes in handy when explaining why your homework is late or when you're trying to talk to a girl, who will always be impressed by your brain-power! It's cool to know stuff.

Is it cool for boys to write/draw? Why?

Writing and drawing is probably the coolest thing a boy can do - and when you put those two together and use drawings to tell a story...NOTHING compares to that feeling of showing your comics around to your friends.

Who was your favorite comic character when you were a boy? Do you have a favorite character now?

Who was my favorite comix character as a boy - Hmmm. Truth is I was never really a super-hero kind of comics reader (though that would be the cool answer!). I did love Peanuts and reading the Sunday Comics pages was a ritual for me. These days I really like Pearls Before Swine because the characters are so great... and because my son, who also likes to make cartoons is a big fan.

What is your favorite sport?

Favorite sports team: as a guy who grew up near Boston - the Boston Red Sox! (I feel bad for the Patriots - but am okay they lost)

What do you like to do for fun?

For fun - I like to go the movies with my family and I like to hear live music. But lots of time the most fun I have is when I can just doodle and draw cartoons with no deadlines - just because I like it!

What is the favorite book you have written?

My favorite book is Pond Scum - because that's the only one that's published right now. I have a second book finished and I'll tell you more about that soon...(it's in the editor's hands now!)

Which do you like better—cheeseburgers or pizza? What do you like on them?

Cheeseburgers hands down! Because A) they taste awesome and B) Someone can mess up a pizza by adding fancy-shmancy toppings or a sourdough-olive crust or weirdo cheese....but a cheeseburger is always a cheeseburger (unless they add bleu cheese and then it's just something I throw away!)

Thanks, Mr. Silberberg!! I hope you guys out there pick up on his book. I had a good time with it and it even made me think about some things--Fat Mama says something at one point that I don't think I agree with. What was it? Read the book and then write us and I'll discuss it with you! Only way you'll find out!
BTW, Mr. Silberberg has a great website. Check it out here or look at the Links section on the left-hand side of the page.

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