Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 9, 2022

Book Giveaway: SLEEPY HAPPY CAPY CUDDLES by Mike Allegra

Author Mike Allegra has a new picture book titled, SLEEPY HAPPY CABY CUDDLES, illustrated by Jaimie Whitbread and published by Page Street Kids on October 18th. PSK’s has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Mike and Jaimie.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

The rainforest roars with squeaks and squawks, alive with a rumpus of animal noises. Can any creature get a moment of rest and calm amidst this horrible hubbub? Not until…the blurbly blowing of bubbles, the fwippa fwip of flickering ears, and the shookita shimmy of a shaking booty bottom announce the arrival of the largest, friendliest rodent around (which really exists in the wild) who calls for something new: cuddles!

But, the animals wonder, can cuddles de-harden a shell? Don’t they look weird? Will that closeness feel uncomfortable? Capy has gentle answers to all these questions, helping every cuddler feel safe and happy. Because when others feel happy, the capy feels happy too. And when capy is happy, she floofs!

Curl up with this book and learn that no matter how you do it, everyone can appreciate a cuddle.

BOOK JOURNEY:

I first read about capybaras in a picture book when I was six years old and I kind of fell in love right then and there. Why wouldn’t I? Capybaras were rodents (I loved rodents)! They loved to swim (I loved swimming)! They were cute (cuteness rules)! And they were huge (more than 100 pounds)! The only rodents I knew about could fit in the palm of my hand, so when I learned about this Rodent Of Unusual Size, I was enthralled.

Throughout my life I had loved and cared for many rodents. Once I started writing kid lit, I looked for ways to include rodents in my stories. (I had featured a guinea pig in Everybody’s Favorite Book and a pair of curious mice in Scampers Thinks Like a Scientist.) It wasn’t long before my thoughts returned to capybaras.

At that time the internet had started to discover the capybara in general and the capybara’s interest in cuddling in particular. In case you haven’t heard, capybaras are happy to cuddle pretty much anything. In their native South America, they cuddle all kinds of indigenous birds, reptiles, and mammals without discrimination. There’s even a pretty famous photo online of a capy chilling with a caiman! Capybaras raised as exotic pets, often comfortably cuddle with cats, dogs, guinea pigs, rats, goats, and about a jillion other things.

I don’t know why so many species like to cuddle with capybaras but if I was to guess, I think it’s because they give off a welcoming, Zen-like, pro-cuddle vibe. If you want to cuddle me, that’s cool, capys seem to say. And if you don’t, that’s okay, too. No biggie. No pressure. Whatevs.

I just loved that relaxed, live-and-let-live energy. I had to write about about it.

The first draft of my book had the working title Chill Bill. Almost all of the main story beats were in place with that first draft, but I had trouble with my capybara’s character arc. A character arc is a narrative device where your main character solves a problem or learns a lesson over the course of the story. Your main character needs to change in some way. Almost every book in existence has such a character arc. But try as I might, I couldn’t figure out a good way to get my capy to grow or change. It was driving me a little crazy, really.

Then, while I was plugging away on what was probably my zillionth draft, I had an epiphany: “Why does my capybara need to change? Capybaras have life all figured out!”

So with my next draft, I kept my capy content and trouble free. She didn’t change a bit, but her calm and accepting demeanor changed the world around her.

And, right then and there, my story snapped into focus.

Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles became a story about animals discovering new ways to accept different ideas and peacefully connect with one another. The book also contains a theme about consent and boundaries. No animal is expected to cuddle. And any animal who chooses to cuddle, can cuddle in their own way and on their own terms.

No biggie. No pressure. Whatevs.

I can’t even begin to say how happy I am with Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles. The team at Page Street provided me with editorial notes that improved my story immeasurably. The illustrator, Jaimie Whitbread, breathed so much life into the characters. I just love everything about this book. If I was a capybara, I would floof with joy! (Because when capys are super happy they floof their fur, you see. Isn’t that adorable? Capybaras are the most awesome animal in the history of ever!)

MIKE’S BIO:

Mike Allegra is the author of 17 books for children including the picture books Pirate & Penguin (Page Street, 2023), Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles (Page Street, 2022), Scampers Thinks like a Scientist (Dawn, 2019), Everybody’s Favorite Book (Macmillan, 2018), and Sarah Gives Thanks (Albert Whitman & 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 also juggles, plays the banjo, and is known to appreciate a well-crafted fart joke. So there’s that.

You should totally check out his blog at www.mikeallegra.com

JAMIE’S BIO:

Jaimie Whitbread is and writer and a illustrator living in Texas.. Sleepy Happy Capy is her second illustrated picture book. She wrote and illustrated her first picture book, A Tiger Without Stripes which was published by The Innovation Press in 2020.

Most of that time is allotted to petting cats, being accosted by bugs, and getting way too excited about birds. But on occasion, she does also manage to paint the odd painting, sketch the odd sketch and write the odd story.

Even so, expect a lot of cats, bugs and birds. You can contact Jaimie at: Jaimiewhitbread@hotmail.com

Mike, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I love that you have introduced me to capybaras. I had no idea there were 100 pound rodents and I definitely had no idea that they love to cuddle other animals. I can see why you wanted to write a book about these unusal loving animals and share them with young children (and adults). Kids will adore the capy and love the other jungle animals who realize they like to cuddle, too. Children will say, “Floof!” after they read this book. Jaimie’s colorful illustrations are wonderful and really bring this book alive. Good luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. What a fun book with such wonderful illustrations. Can’t wait to add it to my collection! [Newsletter Subscriber]

    Like

  2. I’m in. Mike and I exchange blog posties and have rooted on each other’s publishing career. I am happy that he gets a book about capys published because he is definitely progeny and a talented writer. I will link this post on my blog. Congrats, Mike!

    Like

    • Ah, thank you, my friend. Promoting the innate awesomeness of the capybara is noble work indeed!

      Like

      • Haha-you are a progeny but it was supposed to read prodent. I guess spellcheck thinks highly of you as well.

        Like

  3. I adore capybaras as they remind me of my guinea pigs. I had no idea they like to cuddle! I can’t wait to read this adorable book. I enjoyed how this author found the heart of his story. I’m an email subscriber and shared on Facebook, Pinterest, tumblr, and Twitter.

    Like

    • Yay! A fellow capybooster! Thanks for your kind words, Danielle. I hope you enjoy Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I never heard of a capybara, so I was intrigued with your story as well as your process of seeing it to print. Sounds like a great Mike Allegra story. You have such talent. Can’t wait to share with our great grandkids. Good luck. Shared on FB and Twitter.

    Like

    • I know you’re not much of a rodent person, Patricia, but I think the capybara might be a good entry point for you to discover just how wonderful and affectionate rodents can be. (And don’t worry, capys don’t scamper around like their tinier cousins. They don’t have hairless tails like rats. They’re more like like ginormous lap dogs.)

      Like

  5. Well, now I want a capybara. (Although, like Kathy, I had no idea they were so big!) The world needs more cuddles. [Kathy, I subscribe to your blog.]

    Like

    • Capys do sound pretty awesome don’t they? And I agree with you, Janet, a more cuddly world would be a better world!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Adorable!! Love seeing a unique animal as the main character.
    Subscriber and retweeter ❤️

    Like

    • Thanks, Hannah!

      If you’re anything like me, the more you learn about capybaras, the more charmed you’ll be. They are amazing creatures.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I really *don’t* know that much about them! That’s why I’m glad to see them featured! Thanks for replying 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Mike Allegra is the bomb!! I love his blog and have personally autographed books from him I purchased for my nieces and nephew. They love them! I’m so proud of his success and consider him a great bloggie friend! ❤️❤️

    Like

  8. Wow! I had no idea! I teach wildlife biology, and I can’t wait to share this interesting trait about capybaras. What a wonderful book to share. Congratulations! Thanks for another great post, Kathy. I subscribe and will share on Twitter

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Looks like a joy to read which is sure to cause lots of spontaneous bedtime cuddling between readers and kids.

    Like

  10. Reblogged this on Terry Pierce and commented:
    A terrific personal writing we can all learn from…

    Like

  11. Great story, Mike! It’s so true that we have to work on manuscripts that are FUN, make us happy to write, and feed our creative spirit. Thanks for sharing and congratulations on your successes!

    Like

  12. Can’t wait to cuddle up with this book. I’m a newsletter subscriber.

    Like

  13. Would love to read this! (newsletter subscriber)

    Like


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