I’m happy to announce that today’s #FiveMoreThings guest is children’s author Mike Allegra. Mike is taking advantage of a chance to share a few more things with us today, and I’m super happy to have him visit. I know you’re going to enjoy Mike’s post, especially when you read about his latest book, so I’m going to turn the floor over to him. Take it away, Mike!
Mike, Taking It Away!
My Five More Things You May Not Know About Me List
- I Have an Alarmingly Large Collection of Mad Magazines
When I was younger, I collected lots of stuff. Cartoon Postage Stamps! 1972 Nixon Reelection Buttons! West German Train Buildings (O Gauge)!
Part of me collected because I loved the thrill of the hunt. Another, larger, part of me collected because I thought selling these collections would make me rich. Long story short, my attic is filled with worthless crap that nobody wants—including me.
But my Mad Magazine collection is a different thing entirely. Oh, how I loooooved Mad. I loved the articles, I loved the artists, I loved predicting the Fold-In without folding it in. Mad spoke to me in a way no other magazine could.
My mom, however, hated Mad. I never understood why she felt this way, but her opinion on the matter was so strong she banned the magazine from our house. This wasn’t the only Mom Rule I disagreed with, but it was the only one I found patently ridiculous. So, in a rare act of childhood rebellion, I snuck issues into my room and cultivated quite a nice little secret collection.
Years later, when Mom softened her views on Mad, I went hog wild. I bought up any issue I could get my mitts on. I now have Rubbermaid containers filled to the brim.
These Mad Magazines, like my other collections, are in my attic. Also like my other collections, they aren’t worth much money. But unlike my other collections, I’m glad I still have them.
- Organized Religion Got Me Addicted to Coffee
All through high school I was a devoted tea drinker. Every night I’d turn on the TV, select a tall stack of catalogues to parse through, and fire up the kettle. It was a nice way to wind down in the quiet hours before bed.
When I went to college, I planned to continue this ritual—and I did for a time. But shortly after the fall semester began, I discovered a nearby Episcopal church that served a full breakfast to anyone who attended the 8 a.m. Sunday service. I was an Episcopalian, I liked free food, and I didn’t mind being up early on a Sunday. So I went.
It was a nice service. It was a nice breakfast, too—but no tea bags. Beggars can’t be choosers, of course, so when the reverend offered me some coffee, I accepted a cup. It was the first cup of coffee I had ever tasted. I was hooked from that day to this.
Long story short: God is good.
- Bert is My Favorite Sesame Street Muppet
As a young’un, I connected with Bert. My obsession with rodents felt oddly similar to Bert’s obsession with pigeons (a.k.a. rats with wings). My weird collections (see above) were just as esoteric and worthless as Bert’s collections (bottlecaps, paperclips, etc.). I admired Bert’s propensity toward tidiness and his dogged refusal to embrace the madness that swirled around him. Was Bert persnickety? Yes, but understandably so. After all, Bert had a pesky roommate who was dumb as a box of hammers.
When I was a kid, I believed that if Bert and I ever met, we would become best friends. I still believe this.
- I like Polka
I enjoy all kinds of music. This includes Polka, which my wife, Ellen, is convinced is the music Satan pipes into the flaming tar pits of hell.
I understand where she’s coming from, but I can’t help it! Polka is fun! Bouncy! Joyful!
And, on occasion, a wee bit embarrassing.
One time, I borrowed a polka CD from the library. As I was listening to it in my car, my radio died. The disc cracked as I attempted to pull it from the machine. I explained the situation to the librarian and offered to pay for a replacement CD, but the lady just smiled and said, “Oh, there’s no need to do that. I don’t think Frankie Yankovic’s Greatest Hits will be missed all that much.”
That was the day I learned that librarians can be absolutely savage.
- My Pirate Voice is Terrible
To be more accurate, my pirate voice is awesome for about three minutes. After that, my throat strains and cracks, making my pirate character sound like he’s going through puberty. I need to figure out what to do about this, as I have about three jillion public Pirate & Penguin readings coming up this summer. Pray for me.
Author Mike Allegra
Mike Allegra is the author of 18 books for children including the picture books Scampers Thinks like a Scientist (Dawn, 2019), Everybody’s Favorite Book (Macmillan, 2018), and Sarah Gives Thanks (Albert Whitman and Company, 2012). He also wrote the chapter book series Kimmie Tuttle (Abdo Books, 2021) and Prince Not-So Charming (Macmillan, 2018-19; pen name: Roy L. Hinuss). Scampers was the winner of Learning Magazine’s 2020 Teacher’s Choice Award and was selected for inclusion in the Literati Kids subscription box. His story, “Harold’s Hat,” was the winner of the 2014 Highlights fiction contest and was published in the July 2015 issue.
MIKE’S LATEST RELEASE!
What happens when a pirate, hoping for a parrot, stumbles upon a bird of a duller plumage?
Pirate doesn’t know that Penguin is a penguin. But any bird can sit on a shoulder and squawk “shiver me timbers”…right?
Laugh along with Pirate and Penguin in this high seas tale of mistaken identity and find out whether they’ll find friendship before somebody walks the plank.
You Can Buy Pirate & Penguin HERE
And You Can Pick Up One of My Favorites,
Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles