Interviews with favorite storybook stars
Cork and Fuzz get the scoop!
..and other silly things.)
Page 1


April 14, 2010

Runaway Mummy cover
                                       Art © Michael Rex

Fuzz is delighted to meet Rotten Little Mummy from Michael Rex's book The Runaway Mummy: A Petrifying Parody, published by G. P. Putnam's Sons 2009, and is hoping the little mummy won't try running away from him before the interview is over.

Fuzz: I really like your book!  What's a parody?  Is that some kind of a parrot, or party, or parasol?
Rotten Little Mummy: Thanks!  A parody is when you take a story or a song or something, and you mix it all up to…um…kind of poke fun at it. Like, if it’s a sweet story, you make it scary, and if it’s a serious story, you make it silly.

Fuzz: Do you have a favorite game you like to play?
Rotten Little Mummy: Yes.  I like to play “Polite boy who is alive.” I pretend I’m still a regular living boy, and I’m very sweet and I do my homework and take baths without a fuss. And I don’t try to scare anybody.  I just try to be really helpful and nice, and play sports and be a good loser.  My Mummy hates it.

Fuzz: Is that why you tried to run away from Mother Mummy?
Rotten Little Mummy: No. I was kicking my ball around in the tomb, and Mummy said I shouldn’t do that!  Then the ball hit the canopic jars, and they cracked.  Do you know what’s in a canopic jar?  Intestines and lungs and gross stuff needed for the afterlife!  That stuff got all over the floor and she got so mad, so I ran.

Fuzz: You told Mother Mummy you were going to turn into many things. What if you really did turn into a gargoyle on a mountaintop? Do you think you'd see any animals up there?
Rotten Little Mummy: Nope.  If they saw me they would be too afraid and run away.  Anyway, I have some animals in my tomb, like snakes and scarabs and a mummy alligator.

Fuzz: If you really turned into a sea serpent, what do you suppose would be the scariest thing you'd find at the bottom of the sea?
Rotten Little Mummy: Sea Serpent school.  

Fuzz: Oh, now I get it!  The Runaway Mummy is a parody of The Runaway BUNNY!  Thanks for teaching me a new word, Little Mummy!  Parody!  (And thank you, Michael Rex!)


April 7, 2010

Otto Grows Down cover
                        Art © Scott Magoon

Cork and Fuzz often talk about growing up, but today they meet a boy who grew down! This very funny book, Otto Grows Down, was written by Michael Sussman, and illustrated by Scott Magoon, Sterling Publishing 2009. Cork and Fuzz giggled all the way through it, and at the same time were a little worried about Otto's dilemma.

Fuzz: When it's my birthday, I never get cake or candles because I'm a possum.  I live in the woods and possums don't get those things. Is there another way I can get a birthday cake?
Otto: I’d be happy to bring you a cake on your birthday! Otherwise, you could consider becoming someone’s pet. I’d love to have a pet possum!

Cork: I thought your book was very funny, about how everything was backwards.  Are you usually a funny person?
Otto: Well, I often think funny thoughts. Like, if a cow laughed real hard, would milk come out of her nose? And if corn oil comes from corn, where does baby oil come from? In a way, I also have a funny name. It’s a palindrome! That’s a fancy name for a word or phrase that reads the same backward or forward. Here’s a secret about Otto Grows Down: Every name in the story is a palindrome. Otto, Anna, Bob, and even Mom & Dad!

Fuzz: Do you know any backwards jokes?
Otto: Oh, sure. What happens if you sing country music backwards? You get your job and your wife back! And this one’s sort of backwards: If your nose is running and your feet smell, you must be upside-down!

Cork: Did you walk and run backwards, too? That must have been hard if you were playing baseball or something like that.
Otto: Yeah, baseball was pretty rough. Especially since I was the pitcher. Every time a guy got a hit, I had to catch the ball with my bare hand. Why I didn’t use my glove, I’ll never know. My favorite sport was fishing. I’d take a dead fish down to the creek and put it on my hook. When I lowered the fish into the water, it came alive and swam away!

Fuzz: If I were to come to your seventh birthday party so I could have some cake, how would I get there?
Otto: Boy, you really have a thing for cake, don’t you? Here’s the problem. Being a character in a picture book, I’ll never grow any older. (Unless you can convince that Sussman guy to write a sequel.) But that’s okay—I love being six!

Fuzz: Cork, can I go to Otto's house for some cake?
Cork: But maybe he'll kidnap you and keep you for a pet!
Fuzz: Oh. Okay, then, I won't go. But I'm sure going to miss having cake.
Cork: Goodbye, Otto.  Thank you.  (And thank you, Michael Sussman!)


March 31, 2010

Very Big Bunny cover
                             Art © Marisabina Russo

Fuzz meets Amelia, A Very Big Bunny, for this interview. She is a young bunny who is big for her age, and sometimes that makes things difficult for her, especially in school. Then she meets Susannah and things start to look a little brighter. This sweet book is written and illustrated by Marisabina Russo, and published by Schwartz & Wade Books, 2010. Fuzz has a crush on Amelia, although I doubt he'll admit it.

Fuzz: I am a tall possum.  You are a big bunny. I like to eat a lot.  What are your favorite things to eat?
Amelia: I love anything orange like pumpkin soup, carrot cake, nasturtium salad, and of course, orange smoothies. Yum! Sometimes I eat my dandelion crowns, but only if I'm really hungry. 

Fuzz: You go to school.  I've never been in school.  What's it like? Are there good and bad things about it?
Amelia: I'll start with the worst thing about school  -  getting up so early in the morning. I'm a sleepyhead. Mama has to tickle my big bunny feet to get me out of bed! The best thing...hmmm...probably my teacher, Miss Iris. K. Arugula. She's the smartest, nicest, funniest teacher in the whole school. And I like gym, too, especially when we do the bunny hop. I don't want to sound like a show off, but Fuzz, you know, I'm a really good dancer.

Fuzz: Can you tell me how to make a dandelion crown?
Amelia: First you pick the dandelions and make sure they have long long stems. That way you can tie the stems together in little knots. You tie and tie and tie until it's long enough to make a circle that fits your head. Susannah always finishes hers before me because she has such a tiny little head. Then she helps me by picking more dandelions for my crown. 

Fuzz:  Sometimes those other bunnies weren't very nice to you because you were big. Why didn't you just beat them up?
Amelia: No way, Fuzz! Fighting is dumb. And anyway, I don't like lumps or bumps or crumpled bunny ears. 

Fuzz: You are a very gentle and sweet bunny. Do you  ever post on Facebook and would you be my friend?
Amelia: I'm not on Facebook. My parents say I'm too little. Can I still be your friend? I've never had a possum for a friend. Maybe you can teach me how to hang upside down from a tree and I can teach you how to get really high on the trampoline!

 Fuzz: Oh, yes, yes, yes! I'll be your friend!  Thank you, Amelia!  Thank you, Marisabina!


March 24, 2010

Yes Day cover
                                   Art © Tom Lichtenheld

Cork is excited because today is his first time interviewing a real book illustrator, Tom Lichtenheld, through the eyes of his character Tommy.  Tommy's very funny book is Yes Day! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, published by HarperCollins Publishers 2009.  Imagine one special day when everything you ask for gets a YES answer! 

Cork : I sure could use a Yes Day once in awhile. Is there one every month?  Or, how often does it come around?  I don’t think it's on my calendar.
Tommy: Yes Day only comes around once a year, and your parents get to pick the month.

Cork : Do you think it would be okay for a muskrat to use hair gel like you did in the book?
Tommy: That would be awesome! You would be the handsomest muskrat in the swamp!

Cork : Oh, good!  I thought maybe I'd look like a porky-pine.  You invented your own game in the story. Would you invent a game that a muskrat and a possum could play together?
Tommy: Okay, it goes like this. First, the possum hangs by his tail from a low branch on a tree. Then the muskrat gets some fuzz from a cattail and uses it to tickle the possum’s nose. Pretty soon the possum giggles so much he falls down and chases the muskrat into the swamp. You can play this game on any day, even if it’s not Yes Day.

Cork : I'd like that, and so would Fuzz!  But, there are a lot of NO days on your calendar…Not in Your Life Day… Don't Even Ask Day… When Pigs Fly Day  What does that last one mean?  About the pigs flying?
Tommy: The thing about pigs flying is a joke. See, since pigs can’t really fly, it’s like saying “This will never ever happen, not in a bazillion trillion years!”  We learned about these kinds of sayings in school. They’re called “idioms.” If you said “I have a frog in my throat,” that would be an idiom. Unless you really did have a frog in your throat, then that would just be gross.

Cork : On your next Yes Day! would you ask if I can come over to eat pizza and play?
Tommy: Sure, but I’m not sure my Mom would let a muskrat and a possum into the house, so we might have to eat our pizza through the kitchen window, the way I ate my lunch in the Yes Day book.

Cork: Oh! Oh! Oh!  YES!!! I'd like that! Thank you, Tommy!  (And thank you, Tom Lichtenheld!)


Joyce Stengel

St Pat and the three Brave Mice cover
                        Art © Herb Leonhard

To celebrate St. Patrick's Day, Cork (the muskrat, not the county in Ireland) interviews Tulla, a brave little mouse from the book St. Patrick and the Three Brave Mice, by Joyce Stengel, illustrated by Herb Leonhard, published by Pelican Publishing Company 2009. Cork thinks it a really scary book because it has a mean snake in it. 

Cork:  You really met St. Patrick, didn’t you?  What was he like?
Tulla:  He was like my granddad, Papa Whiskers, kind and caring with a twinkle in his eyes.

Cork:  Weren’t you afraid of that snake?  What’s the worse thing a snake can do to a mouse like you?
Tulla:  Afraid?  I was trembling from my whiskers to the tip of my tail.  That snake could swallow me whole!  But I had to help St. Patrick.

Cork:  You were very smart to braid grass into a rope.  Where did you learn to braid?
Tulla:  I once lived in a house in Killarney and, come morning, I’d watch the mother braid her little lass’s hair.

Cork:  St. Patrick’s bell is called a clogga.  That’s a fun word to say.  Do you know any other fun Irish words?
Tulla:  Here’s a few to tickle your tongue, Naomh Padraig for St. Patrick himself; daideo, that’s what I call my granddad; and to greet a friend, ye might say, “Dia daoibh.”

Cork:  When St. Patrick chased the snakes from Ireland, all the mice were safe.  Did St. Patrick think that that would lead to too many mice?
Tulla:  Too many mice?  Impossible.  St. Patrick was as happy as a mouse.  He sang out, “Bulla!  Bulla!  Hooray for Tulla.  She’s made my day!” 

Cork: I like that he made a rhyme with your name. I could do that with my name, but the only thing I can think of is "Snork! Snork! Hooray for Cork!" 

Oh, well....

Thank you, Tulla!  Thank you, Joyce! 

And to all our friends, 

"May your day be touched
by a bit of Irish luck,
brightened by a song in your heart,
and warmed by the smiles
of the people you love."

Author unknown.

December 4, 2009

~Fun and Fright~
A Pair of Poems

               Art © Lisa McCue

Fuzz's Poem


One day I found a big, brown box.
A perfect place to hide!
I had to scrunch my legs and tail
so I would fit inside.

Then Cork came by.  I heard him call.
I know he couldn't see me.
I jumped out with a great big "ROARRR!"
Now Cork's not talking to me.

* * * * *

Cork's Poem


Last night I had a scary dream.
It left me filled with fright!
I went to find my best friend
when the morning sky turned light.

While on my way, I saw a box,
tipped slightly on its rim.
Then Fuzz yelled, "ROARRR!" just like my dream,
and now I'm mad at him!

               Art © Lisa McCue


December 2, 2009

                                      Art © John Manders 2005

Cork has been chewing the tip of his tail out of excitement about today's interview!  The storybook star is Henry from Carolyn Crimi's books, Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies, and Henry and the Crazed Chicken Pirates, illustrated by John Manders.  The spotlight is lit, the microphone is on... 3...2...1... GO!

Cork: How did Barnacle Black Ear, the baddest bunny brute, get to be so mean?
Henry: Oh gee, it’s a long story involving a lost treasure chest and a very hungry shark with a taste for bunny meat. Some day I’ll tell it to you over a cup of coconut milk.

Cork: Sometimes I see a bunny near my pond.  Should I be afraid?
Henry: That depends—is he wearing an eye patch and saying “ARRR!” a lot? If so, run as fast as you can, my friend. 

Cork: You've read an awful lot of books.  Do you have a favorite one?
Henry: Well, Quick ‘N’ Easy Recipes for Marooned Pirates sure did get me out of a jam. And I’ve found 30 Days To Longer Ears to be quite instructive. But my own book, Henry’s Plan for Impending Danger from the Unknown Enemy Who Wrote the Scary Note is destined to be a Newbery winner. 

Cork: You know some very long words like 'meteorology.'  What is the longest word you know?
Henry: Gosh, I’m no blatherskite. I’d rather not gasconade, if you don’t mind.

Cork: You said in the book that you cooked up some tasty seaweed stew.  Can I have the recipe, and would it work with pond weeds?
Henry: Yes, yes, and yes.

Seaweed Stew

2 paws full of seaweeds (can substitute pond weeds but certainly not pond scum)
a pinch of sand (optional)
2 gallons seawater

Mix all ingredients in a microwave-proof kettle. Cook on high for five minutes. Sing “One Hundred Bottles of Carrot Juice on the Wall” while you wait for it to cook. Let cool for one minute. Drain into seashells. Slurp delicately. Freeze leftovers for future adventures.

Cork: I think I might want to try that.  I think.  Maybe.  Or... maybe not. 
                                                                                           Thank you, Henry. (Thank you, Carolyn!)
                                                                                                     The end.


November 28, 2009

Cork's Poem

~Thinking Time~

At times I like to be alone
to think about some things,
like why the clover smells so sweet,
or why the birdy sings.

So many things to think about!
A little time each day.
Okay! Five minutes. That's enough!
"Hey, Fuzz!  You wanna play?"

Art © Lisa McCue


November 25, 2009

                         Art © Gris Grimly

As luck would have it,  Fuzz's very first interview is with a MONSTER!  But seeing as Fuzz is generally clueless, he plunges ahead.  The monster is one of the stars of Campfire Songs for Monsters: Sipping Spiders Through a Straw, written by Kelly DePucchio and illustrated by Gris Grimly.

Fuzz: I want to try sipping spiders through a straw, but I don't have a straw.  Is there another good way to eat spiders?
Monster: Monster loves to roast spiders with marshmallows. Monster really loves to roast spiders with marshmallows and small, fuzzy animals! M'mm.

Fuzz: I like the poem about goon underwear.  What is underwear anyway?
Monster: Underwear make good nets for Monster to catch spiders and small, fuzzy animals.

Fuzz: Cork is my best friend. Do you have any friends?
Monster: Monster has lots of friends!  Monster has small, fuzzy friends over for lunch all the time.

Fuzz: I'm good at climbing trees.  What are you good at?
Monster: Monster good at shaking trees.

Fuzz: You wouldn't ever come to my house, would you?  Especially not at night, would you?
Monster: Nooo, silly Mr. Fuzz! Monster do not know where Mr. Fuzz live!  Where do Mr. Fuzz live?  Tell Monster so Monster never, ever visits Mr. Fuzz.  Especially not at night...with marshmallows. M'mm.

Fuzz: That's all.  You can go home now. Why are you looking at me like that?  




November 18, 2009


Cork's first guest is Cushion, star of two picture books - Porcupining: A Prickly Love Story, and Hokey Pokey: Another Prickly Love story, written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Janie Bynum.

Cork: Where did you learn to play the banjo?
Cushion: I just picked it up. But I make it a point to play every day so I don't get rusty.

Cork: I like the song you made up. Are you a baritone?
Cushion: No, I'm a porcupine.

Cork : The rabbits called you "burr-ball." Are all rabbits so mean?
Cushion:: They’re jumpy critters who get hopping mad at the least little thing. They look cute and fuzzy, but I find them to be sorta prickly.

Cork:  Do you and Barb have any children?
Cushion: Nope.  But I’m gonna practice taking care of a cactus. If it’s still alive after a few years, Barb says I can get a pet sea urchin.

Cork: Can I have your banjo?
Cushion: My banjo is my second best friend. You wouldn’t give away Fuzz, would you?

Cork: Oh. Okay. Thank you. The End.

Art © Janie Bynum                                        BUY PORCUPINING            BUY HOKEY POKEY

© 2009 Dori Chaconas