Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Allan Woodrow Interview - The Curse of the Werepenguin

Photo Content from Allan Woodrow

Allan Woodrow has written more than thirty books for children, including FIELD TRIPPED, UNSCHOOLED, CLASS DISMISSED, THE PET WAR, and THE ROTTEN ADVENTURES OF ZACHARY RUTHLESS. Also, under the name Fowler DeWitt, Allan wrote THE CONTAGIOUS COLORS OF MUMPLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL and its sequel, THE AMAZING WILMER DOOLEY. Allan’s next book, The Curse of the Werepenguin, will be released August, 2019.

Allan lives with his family outside Chicago. He regularly visits schools and libraries, and is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).


Hardcover | $17.99 
Aug 13, 2019 
352 Pages 
Middle Grade (8-12)
ISBN 9780451480446


"Young Frankenstein meets The Princess Bride in the most hysterically hilarious book I've read in years." Chris Grabenstein, #1 New York Times bestselling author 

“A bonkers delight that will make you laugh out loud.” —Adam Rex, New York Times bestselling author

“Delightfully wacky, cleverly absurd, and frighteningly hilarious. This book is so much fun you’re guaranteed to have a blast reading it!” —Chris Rylander, New York Times bestselling author

“This series opener’s overall outrageous sense of humor has a high appeal. As irreverent, sarcastic, and strange as murderous, barking penguins.” —Kirkus Reviews

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Sometimes I ride the elevator blindfolded, so if someone isn’t telling me what story I’m on, I ride up and down for hours.

But, assuming that’s not what you were asking about, storytelling is important because stories help us grow and learn. There’s an expression about writing that’s said a lot: “Show and don’t tell.” Telling the reader something happened is passive, usually unexciting and, often, forgettable. But showing the reader the action is not only far more interesting and dramatic, but sticks in your head. This “showing” by storytelling lets us see how to love, how to care, how to be heroic, and how to know the difference between right and wrong. Storytelling lets us make invisible connections between those lessons and our own lives, so we can be better people.

Plus, storytelling is fun (even more fun than riding an elevator blindfolded).

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
My most rewarding experience since being published was being published a second time (and a third, and a fourth…really, it doesn’t get old). Being a published author was a lifelong dream—it had been a goal of mine since I was in third grade (I have written proof: In third grade I wrote that I wanted to be an author when I grew up and I still have that note). And it’s not just accomplishing that dream that makes it rewarding, but knowing that I went for that dream. Really, I was crippled with fear of failure for many, many years. The decision to ignore that “you aren’t good enough” voice, and put something out there, is not easy. And that voice never goes away; it’s a constant battle between me and it. Knowing I can now ignore that voice brings me a great sense of pride.

In your new book; THE CURSE OF THE WEREPENGUIN, can you tell my Book Nerd Kids Community a little about it and why they should read your novel?
Here’s what it’s about: Bolt Wattle is twelve years old and an orphan. He thinks he’ll never have a family until he is sent off to live with a Baron in the far-away country of Brugaria. Unfortunately, the Baron is evil, turns into a sinister penguin at midnight, and bites Bolt. As far as families go, it’s pretty much rock bottom. Bolt has just three days to figure out a way to break the curse and defeat the Baron or he’ll become an evil penguin creature forever and the Baron will conquer Brugaria with his evil penguin army.

In other words it’s based (loosely) on real life events.

Why read it? For one thing, if you are ever attacked by a werepenguin in Brugaria the book might give you a tip to survive (although, more likely, you’ll be eaten). Also, and probably more importantly, who wouldn’t want to read a disturbing, yet hysterical story about evil penguins that will keep you up all night screaming in terror? I mean, other than most people?

For those who are unfamiliar with Bolt and Baron, how would you introduce them?
I would introduce them very carefully. (Or at least, I would introduce the Baron very carefully. You don’t want to make him angry.) Bolt is unwanted, unloved, and without many prospects for a happy life. The Baron is demented, diabolical, demonic and disturbing–and those are just the descriptive words beginning with the letter D (it gets worse as you go down the alphabet). And don’t forget about the girl bandit Annika, and the Baron’s lowly housekeeper Frau Farfenugen. They play big roles, too.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Mr. Poppers Penguins and Bolt. It’s lonely being a penguin-monster and Bolt could always use more friends.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Tie your shoelaces before a swordfight. If, however, you aren’t the sort who fights with swords, I’ll throw in a second, bonus piece of advice: dare to try to make your dreams come true. I already mentioned how I wanted to be a writer for a long time but was too scared to try. Once I tried … look what happened! I did it! It’s hard to ignore that “you can’t do it” voice. But if you try, maybe you can do it—whether it’s doing well on a test, or trying out for a local sports team, or making a new friend, or writing a book.

What was your favorite book as a child and why?
Completely true: we had an encyclopedia set in my house growing up, back when people had their own encyclopedia sets. I used to comb through that all the time. My favorite letter was P because I loved reading about U.S. Presidents and Prehistoric Creatures. Oddly, however, I can’t remember ever reading the section on Penguins.

All orphan Bolt Wattle has ever wanted was to find his true family. When a mysterious baron in far-off Brugaria sends for Bolt, he wonders if he's getting closer to finding his long-lost parents. But Baron Chordata appears to be a twelve-year-old boy who wears tuxedos all the time, shouts at everyone, and forbids Bolt from asking questions. Things couldn't get any worse . . . until midnight, when the Baron bites Bolt and turns him into a half boy, half penguin. Then things really couldn't get worse-- nope, wait, they get a lot worse. With the help and hindrance of a plucky girl who just might be the world's greatest bandit, a whale cult led by a man whose weapon is a stale loaf of French bread, and a sinister but friendly fortune-teller who can't stop cackling, Bolt's on a quest to reverse the curse, return to human form, and stop the Baron from taking over the country of Brugaria with his army of mind-controlled penguins in what might be the weirdest--and funniest--middle-grade novel you've ever read.

You can purchase The Curse of the Werepenguin at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you ALLAN WOODROW for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Curse of the Werepenguin by Allan Woodrow.


  1. "If you HAD to change your name, what would you change it to?" Conestoga di Laurenzini!

  2. If I had to change my name, I'd change it to Rose.

  3. I would change my name to Casandra

  4. Something I didn't have to spell all the time.

  5. It would have to be a one syllable name.