#GuestDayTuesday – #MikeAllegra – #ReleaseDay – #SleepyHappyCapyCuddles

WoooHooo! Today is RELEASE DAY for my friend Mike Allegra’s latest children’s book, Sleepy, Happy, Capy Cuddles! Just like Mike, I’m a huge fan of these adorable, cuddly animals, and my pre-ordered copy should be on the way to my mailbox TODAY. I’m looking forward to sharing it with my 4-year old granddaughter, and I suspect my 8-year old grandson will enjoy it, too. (I know I will!) For those of you who want to learn more, here’s Mike to share his feelings about rodents in general, and capybaras in particular. Enjoy! Now take it away, Mike!


(Mike, Taking It Away!)

I don’t know if you know this, but I love rodents. I love them a lot.

Ever since I was in short pants, I cared for and loved many little critters: gerbils, rats, hamsters, and guinea pigs. Even now, I keep rodents (a pair of loving, if clueless, gerbils named Dusty and Oreo). Also, if I catch mice in my house during the hostile winter months, I’ll get one of my unused cages and set up a rodent resort, keeping the little guys well fed, happy, and comfortable until I can release them in the spring. 

So, yes, I am very pro-rodent. In fact, you may call me prodent.

When I started writing picture books, it was only natural that rodents would play prominent roles in my stories. Everybody’s Favorite Book, for example, featured a guinea pig the size of a mastodon.

Scampers Thinks Like a Scientist starred a pair of mischievous mice. (Scampers, who was female, was lauded for promoting women in STEM, which was pretty cool.)

And the hero of my new book, Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles, is a capybara.

If you don’t know what a capybara is, I’ll be happy to enlighten you. Capybaras are the world’s largest rodent, with adults sometimes weighing in at over 100 pounds. (Imagine a guinea pig the size of a golden retriever. Capybaras are sometimes nicknamed “Guinea Bigs.”) Native to South America, they are semi-aquatic, highly intelligent herd animals with calm—almost Zen-like—personalities.

Capys at Gatorland Wildlife Park & Preserve 

Capybaras also have a propensity for interspecies snorgling. Seriously, capybaras are happy to hang out with most any animal. Just a casual search of the internet provides all the evidence you could ever want: there are hundreds of photos of capys cuddling with birds, turtles, lizards, cats, dogs, rats, guinea pigs, goats, and pretty much everything else. There’s even a photo of a capy sidled up next to a caiman!

And here it is!

Cuddling might be an unusual habit, but it’s a nice one, too. The more I learned about capybaras, the more I figured that we could all learn from their mellow, inclusive ways.

Despite the fact that capys cuddle a lot, they rarely impose themselves on others; that is to say, they don’t get in your space demanding cuddles the way some animals might. Instead, they let the cuddlers come to them—and those cuddlers arrive in droves. (Another nickname for the capybara is “Nature’s Chair.”)

I don’t know how capybaras attract these cuddlers. Perhaps they give off pleasant pro-cuddle vibes? Whatever the reason, a capybara’s Cuddle-If-You-Want-To attitude seemed well suited to a fun and funny story with a subtle message about consent. Yes, the capybara in my story gets all the cuddle companions she could ever hope for, but none of those companions are pressured to cuddle. So everybody is happy—especially the capybara. And when a capybara is especially happy, she floofs her fur. Isn’t that adorable? 

Capybaras are the best. I hope to sleepily, happily, cuddle one someday.


Author Mike Allegra

Mike Allegra is the author of 17 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.

His new picture book, Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles (Page Street Kids) is now available for purchase HERE.

A Few More of Mike’s Books to be Found on His Author Page

You can reach Mike on Social Media Here:
Website
Facebook
Amazon Author Page 

 

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAbout – Children’s Author #MikeAllegra

It’s time for another #TenThings guest, folks, and I’m very happy to say that today’s guest is a truly funny guy who loves some of the same things in life that I do, most notably, capybaras! I’ve been a fan of them for many years, and am looking forward to the release of Mike’s new book, Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles. I know you are going to get a kick out of his hilarious #TenThings list, so let’s get to it. Mike, the floor is all yours!


Thanks, Marcia!

I Once Owned A Gerbil Escape Artist:
Over my lifetime I have owned seven gerbils. All of them were awesome, but Little Alcatraz was easily the awesomest. He was smart, fast, and personable. He also escaped his cage on multiple occasions—not to get away, really, but to show off. As soon as he broke out, he would search the house for me so we could play. Seriously, how awesome is that?

I Got Sidetracked On My Way To Buy My First Car:
At 17 I had earned enough money through my many retail jobs to purchase an automobile. But when it came time to buy, I decided to get a rolltop desk instead. All of my friends found this purchase bewildering and stupid, but, 30 years later, all of their crappy Chrysler K-Cars have eroded to dust while my gorgeous oak desk—still polished and pristine—holds a place of honor in my living room.

My Car Should Be Dead By Now:
My current transportation, a 2004 Kia Spectra, is probably the smartest purchase I have ever made. Eighteen years and 180,000 miles later she’s still running strong. Sure, she might be a little pokey climbing hills. Yes, the air conditioner is a bit finicky. And I admit it’s getting a little hard to ignore the growing rust patches. She also kind of farts when I push the gas pedal too quickly. The radio is shot. And the Check Engine light glows in perpetuity. But as long as she runs, I’m keeping her. Here’s to 18 more years!

I Consider Harrisburg, PA, To Be The Perfect Vacation Spot:
I feel this way primarily because of the Midtown Scholars Bookstore. I love that store most than most people. I love the coffee and the book selection and the architecture and the chairs and the smell of the baked goods and I wish I could live there and all I need is a little apartment in the basement and can somebody please make this happen?

I Hate The Giving Tree:
I hate that selfish kid. I hate how the tree doesn’t know how to say no. I hate how unconditional love is paired with self-destruction. And I really hate how the kid never reflects on or regrets his unforgivable behavior. The Giving Tree a terrible book that advocates toxic codependence.

Could someone please write a sequel? Suggested title: The Giving Tree 2: Stumpy’s Revenge.

I Watch Carpet Cleaning Videos On YouTube:
I can’t even begin to understand how I fell down this rabbit hole. All I know is, once upon a time I watched this elfin Ukranian guy tackle a filthy antique area rug that was once used to line a chicken coop. I watched in awe as each pass of his power washer lifted away a new layer of dirt and grime. When he was finished, the carpet looked almost new. I was gobsmacked. From that moment to this, I’ve been hooked.

I Like To Yell At The New York Times Crossword Puzzle:
Once you get past Wednesday’s puzzle, Will Shorts at the New York Times shows off his devilish side. It’s maddening and exhausting and cuss-worthy and I kind of love it.

I Am Accident Prone:
I wouldn’t mind being accident prone if my injuries were the result of me doing something manly, but they aren’t. I once broke my toe descending a single stair. One. Single. Stair. On another occasion, I fell up the stairs onto the vacuum cleaner I was carrying, crushing it to pieces and turning myself into a human-sized dust bunny. My most notable injury, however, was when I tore the ligaments in my finger while tucking in bedsheets. I had to wear a splint on my hand for six weeks because I like hospital corners.

I Am Probably The Only Person On Earth Who Thinks Rabbit Is The Best Character In Winnie the Pooh:
Poor, put-upon Rabbit is the smartest and least-appreciated resident of 100-Acre Wood. Sure, he’s crabby, but I think he has every right to be; Tigger keeps jumping on him and Pooh’s fat butt is blocking his front door. Cut the bunny some slack, okay?

I Was Into Capybaras Before It Was Cool:
I first read about these ginormous rodents when I was six; I was enchanted. I always loved rodents, but the idea that there was a rodent in South America the size of a dog was just too wonderful for me to contemplate. Someday, I told myself at the time, I shall tell the world about these amazing critters.


Mike’s new picture book, Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles (Page Street Kids) will hit store shelves in October 2022. You can preorder it HERE  now!


Author Mike Allegra

Mike Allegra is the author of 17 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.



A Few More of Mike’s Books to be Found on His Author Page

You can reach Mike on Social Media here:

Website
Facebook
Amazon Author Page