Sunday, April 15, 2012


- Blogging From A to Z Giveaway - Win A $20 Amazon Gift Cerificate

Welcome to Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (MMGM), a weekly event hosted by author Shannon Messenger. For a list of other MMGM posts, click HERE.

Walden Pond Press
Ages 8 & up

Along the Arctic Circle lies a small island called Neversink, whose jagged cliffs and ice-gouged rocks are home to a colony of odd-looking seabirds called auks, including one Lockley J. Puffin. With their oceanfront views and plentiful supply of fish, the auks have few concerns—few, save for Lockley's two best friends, Egbert and Ruby, a know-it-all walrus and a sharp-tongued hummingbird.
But all of this is about to change. Rozbell, the newly crowned king of the Owl Parliament, is dealing with a famine on the mainland of Tytonia—and he has long had his scheming eyes on the small colony to the north. Now Neversink's independence hangs in the balance. An insurgence of owls will inevitably destroy life as the auks know it—unless Lockley can do something about it.
Barry Wolverton's debut is an epic tale of some very un-epic birds, a fast-paced and funny story of survival, friendship, and fish. 

Barry’s adorable tale about puffins was just release at the end of March. Barry took some time out of his busy promotions schedule to visit with us today. He’s also providing a copy of his book to one lucky winner, so be sure to check out how to enter the drawing at the end of this post. Take it away, Barry!

Tell us about your book in one sentence.

It’s the epic saga of an unlikely hero, Lockley Puffin, who is called to act when his island home is threatened by a pygmy owl with a Napoleon complex.

What inspired you to write this story?

A general love of animals, and wanting to tell an animal fantasy in their own world, without humans. And specifically, a trip to the Baltimore aquarium where I saw the amazing puffin in person.

Share a little about your journey to publication.

It was a long one. Animal fantasies were very out of fashion when I signed with my agent in 2006. It shows how lucky I was to find an agent (Jen Rofe, of Andrea Brown Literary Agency) willing to work that hard for a project she knew would not be an easy sell. And she was right. We didn’t sell Neversink the first go-round. I revised the book completely and she sent it out again, and finally Jordan Brown at Walden Pond Press responded the way we had hoped. 

What books did you enjoy reading as a kid?

The Mouse and the Motorcycle books, the Jungle Books, Encyclopedia Brown, Piers Anthony’s Xanth books and the Chronicles of Narnia were some of my favorites. Along with Spider-Man comics, sports annuals, and Dungeons & Dragons manuals.

What do you enjoy reading now?

In kid’s lit I still love fantasy and secondary world fiction — Harry Potter, the Bartimaeus books, His Dark Materials. Still love animal books, both fiction and nonfiction. And I love poetry, even though I stink at reading it.

What can we expect from you in the future?

More than this one book, I hope.


Barry has graciously provided a copy of NEVERSINK for a giveaway prize. 
Just leave a comment below answering this questions: What is your favorite "animal" story?
Please include an email address so I can contact you if you win.
This giveaway will end on April 30th
Best of luck to all of you!!!


  1. The only animal story I can recall is the McGrowl books I read in middle school. I did rather enjoy them :]

    email: aroomwithbooks(at)gmail(dot)com

  2. Neversink looks like it will charm the pants off of you.

  3. I'll have to go with either The Call of the Wild or Bunnicula. Thanks for the giveaway! :-)

    pherlaithiel (at) gmail (dot) com

  4. Oh, my daughter and I love books with animal characters! This sounds like a good one.

    I'm not sure which animal story is my favourite, but I recently read Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck, which was a lot of fun.

  5. I've wanted to read this (so thank you so much for the giveaway opportunity) and I know my daughter would love it too!

    Barry, your to-publishing story encourages me, so thank you for sharing that as well.

  6. Sounds like a fun book. My all time favorite is Bunnicula. So clever. Thanks for the review and a chance to win the book.

  7. Awesome post Barry. That's great how your agent and you persisted in trying to sell your story. Cute cover.

    I'll let someone else win because my daughter's too old for this.

  8. I've never heard of this, but I love the idea of a pygmy owl with a Napoleon complex! That's funny!

    I'd have to say my favorite animal story of all time is Miss Bianca by Margery Sharp. Probably long out of print but I still have my copy!

  9. Nifty blog - glad I visited. Thanks for coming by Wordsplash. I'm not up on my middle grade fiction, but am learning. Enjoy the rest of a to z.

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  11. Wow, that sounds so great. I love reading animal stories and especially a new author's first book. Those are the best for a new writer to read, when not reading classics. Helps to know what is considered publishable today. If I do not win, I would love to review this for my blog (children's and middle grade books).

    I loved Babar when I was a kid and Curious George. I will still sit and watch a Curious George cartoon if I happen to run into channel surfing. Guess that's why O review kid's books. :-) Anything of Dr. Seuss is fantastic. Still have all of my Dr. Seuss books.

  12. Kung Fu Panda is my favorite.

  13. I always loved CHARLOTTE'S WEB.


    1. My teacher read Charlotte's Web to my 2nd grade class many, many years ago. I loved it so much. And I love the classic animated film.

  14. I think we have different stories here in my country. But I love Dr Seuss (now, as a grown up), even if the translations don't do it justice

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

  15. Ferdinand :)


    1. Ferdinand is my favorite, too! I bought a 50th anniversary edition 25 years ago. I still read it to my kids. They love it.

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  17. I have Neversink on my to-read list. Thanks for the giveaway! A favorite animal story - Charlotte's Web

    jenberger75 at yahoo dot com

  18. My favorite animal story growing up must have been, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh...or My Father's Dragon, and/or.....Fantastic Mr. Fox!
    LOVE animal stories!!
    Blair Loder

  19. Definitely Charlotte's Web. It really stuck with me as a child. lisalueddecke at yahoo dot com .

  20. Charlotte's Web is my favorite too. Although I love many other animal stories too, like Redwall, Jim Kjaalgard's dog stories, Dick King Smith's numerous mouse stories, etc. I could go on for a while.

    hg195 at yahoo dot com

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