Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 16, 2023

Book Giveaway: PIRATE & PENGUIN by Mike Allegra

Mike Allegra has a new picture book titled, PIRATE & PENGUIN, illustrated by Jenn Harney and published by Page Street Kids on May 30th. 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 Jenn.


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.


The origins of Pirate & Penguin began with my wanting to work with Page Street Publishing again. Page Street released my previous book, Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles, and every facet of the editorial process was a delight. I got along wonderfully with my editor, Kayla Tostevin, whose ideas to tweak and improve Capy were uniformly excellent. The book’s marketing, led by Lizzy Mason, was passionate, creative, and effective. Everybody, from the publisher on down, was kind and thoughtful and enthusiastic. I was happy as a clam.

Once Capy was finished, I wanted nothing more than to keep this relationship going. So I did a ton of online research about Page Street and found a story about Kayla. In it, she mentioned that she always wanted to edit a book about a pirate.

That was all the encouragement I needed. From that point on, I thought very pirate-y.

My biggest challenge was to come up with a pirate book that was different from the jillion other pirate books out there. I had always wanted to write a book that was all dialogue, and a pirate story seemed perfect place to give it a try. Pirate-speak is just so much fun! I did, however, drive my family a little crazy with all of my “Arr”s and “Matey”s at the dinner table.)

I settled on the book being all dialogue, but who would my pirate talk to? Another pirate? That seemed redundant. A kid? I’ve seen too many stories about pirates interacting with kids. A parrot? That could be fun, but it seemed much too obvious.

That was when I started to contemplate parrot substitutes. I considered both a flamingo and a dodo before settling on a penguin.

I’m not a bird fan—my car gets pooped on much too often for that—but who isn’t a fan of penguins? They are just so cute and charming. Better still, a penguin’s natural skillset is pretty much the opposite of a parrot’s. Pairing a pirate and a penguin seemed to offer up lots of opportunities for comedy.

For example, at one point in the story Pirate asks Penguin to perch on his shoulder, the way a parrot might. (The sight of chubby penguin clumsily clambering up Pirate was just too amusing for me to resist.) As Penguin climbs, he accidentally loosens Pirates belt, sending buccaneer’s pants to the poopdeck, revealing a pair of Jolly Roger BVDs. This prompts Pirate’s horrified, “ARRR! ME UNDERGARRRMENTS!” From that point forward, Pirate describes Penguin as a “ground parrot.”

Long story short, I never knew I had a pirate story in me, but I did. And writing that story was the most fun I ever had with a picture book manuscript. Page Street, much to my delight, bought the story.

Oh, how I love this book. I love this book so much, I sold Page Street on a Pirate & Penguin sequel! So my professional relationship with Page Street will continue into 2024—and I couldn’t be happier.


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) to name a few.

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


Jenn Harney is an author and Illustrator who has been working in and around the children’s market for the last 25 years—first in coloring books and textbooks, then as a toy designer, and finally ending up doing what she always set out to do, illustrating for kids. Her work has been featured in Highlights for Children as well as several picture book titles.

She has illustrated the Wanda Seasongood chapter book series by Susan Lurie, as well as the picture books How to Become a Knight (in Ten Easy Lessons) by Todd Tarpley and Never Trumpet with a Crumpet by Amy Gibson. Underwear! marked her debut as an author/illustrator, and she followed it up with another adorable read-aloud, Swim Swim Sink, both published by Disney Hyperion. She is the author of the Hazy Bloom series, including Hazy Bloom and The Tomorrow Power and Hazy Bloom and The Pet Project.

She lives in Clevelandish, Ohio, with her husband, her daughter, and a corgi named Steve, and a fish with nine lives.

Mike, thank you for sharing you new book and journey with us. It is so much fun and kids love fun and pirates, so they are sure to laugh while looking at the pictures and listening to this story. What a great idea to have a lonley pirate who wants a parrot for his shoulder thinks the penguin that lands on deck is a parrot. I laughed when the pirate paints the penguin red, since the sun has faded his feathers. I love how you used so many pirate words. When Penguin spits out Pirate’s last cracker crumb, he yells, “You are the worse parrot ever! I can just hear the children running around the house yelling, “Batten down the hatches, Landlubbers.” The addition of a real parrot was a nice touch. Always love Jenn’s illustrations. She did another stellar job creating the illustrations for PIRATE & PENGUIN. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,




  1. Oh hooray! Another amazing Mike Allegra book. Drop my name in the bucket👍🏻Thanks! Congrats, Mike!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How fun!! Would love to win a copy. Email subscriber plus tweeted.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Mike and Kathy:

    I love pirates and Mike’s work is brilliant. Congrats on another great book. I posted this giveaway on Twitter. Argh!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well this book looks fun. I appreciated hearing about how you developed this idea. Congratulations!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great book! I can’t wait to read it. Congratulations, Mike and Jenn!
    I shared on Twitter and subscribe to your blog, Kathy.


  6. Arrrgh! Tis a brilliant pirate AND penguin book! Avast ye ground parrot and congrats Mike and Jenn!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well SNOGGERS! What a great book this be! Congrats:)


    • Snoggers is perhaps the finest word in the history of ever, isn’t it?

      Good luck in the raffle, Lauri! We need to catch up with another lunch sometime soon!


  8. H-on-k!!! I tweeted and I follow. Congrats, Mike and Jenn!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a brilliant reconceptualizing of the pirate/parrot story! Love it. Congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The title just sounds like there will be a lot of trouble. I shared on Twitter. I receive your blog post daily through email.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, there will be trouble (as well as the forging of an unlikely friendship)! Thanks for promoting the giveaway, Ashley! Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I think I already ordered a copy for the library, but who couldn’t use 2? Plus, Pirates and Penguins! What’s not to like?


  12. This looks hilarious! I can’t wait to read it. I’m going to hop over to my library’s website right now to see if it’s on order. (Sharing on Twitter; also, I subscribe to this blog.)


    • And if it isn’t on order, complain! Say you need to see a dozen copies! At LEAST a dozen!

      Liked by 2 people

      • It’s not showing up in the Alaska library system, so I’ll put in a request!


  13. I think I have almost all your books now and this would make a great addition for my (now) 15 grandchildren!!


  14. I am a huge fan of Mike and his writing and stories and books and have been from the very beginning! He’s a funny fine fellow. And I really enjoyed in this blog post hearing about Mike’s creative process and how he came up with the pirate and the penguin.


  15. Ahoy, Mike! The book sounds adorable! Congratulations!


  16. A wonderful twist on the Pirates story. Looks like you hit the mark Mike in an original idea. Love the idea he ends up with a Penguin. Love writing in all dialogue. Can’t wait to read ALL your books! I will post on FB, and Twitter and get Kathy’s e-zine daily.


    • Thanks so much for the very kind words, Penny! Here’s hoping you like my books!


  17. I love Mike’s imagination and he’s pretty good at the business end of writing too! Penguin was a great choice for a parrot. 🙂 Congrat to Mike and thanks for hosting, Kathy.


    • Oh, I’m pretty crappy at the business end of just about everything. I just like to work with people I like to work with!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Land ho! This looks like an epic adventure! Congrats, Mike!!!


  19. This is so great.

    I’m a subscriber.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Cant wait to read it if I win the giveaway


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