BLOG TOUR, INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY: The Barftastic Life of Louie Burger by JennyMeyerhoff


Fifth grader Louie Burger figures that with a goofy name like his, he must be destined to be a king of comedy like his idol Lou Lafferman. But he’s only ever performed his stand-up act in his closet, where he and his dad created the most exclusive comedy club ever—if by “exclusive” you mean that no one’s ever allowed inside. With the school talent show coming up, Louie’s wondering if now is his moment to kill (that’s comedian talk for “make actual people laugh”). And maybe, if he brings down the house, he’ll win back his former best friend Nick—who seems to be turning into one of those annoying sporty types—and fend off his dad’s home-improvement obsession, which threatens to remodel Louie’s comedy closet into a private bedroom for his older sister. Barftrocious!


 Jenny Meyerhoff  is the author of a young adult novel, Queen of Secrets, and three books for young readers--Sami's Sleepaway SummerThird Grade Baby, and most recently, The Barftastic Life of Louie Burger, a story about an aspiring stand-up comic with an unusual catch phrase. Unlike Louie, Jenny is not  a comedian, but she does know a lot about barf. After all, she’s a mom. Her three kids love fluffernutters, comedy and reading. Jenny lives in Riverwoods, Illinois with her funny kids and her delightful husband. For more information, visit her website:


A laugh-out-loud look at a would-be comedian with a severe case of stage fright, The Barftastic Life of Louie Burger gives a light, fun look at the trials and tribulations of a fifth grade wanna be.  Louie wants to be a comedian, but he is terrified to show anyone his act.  He practices on the stage his father made him and put in his (rather large) closet, but he won't let anyone else see it. But his family and friends encourage him to enter the fifth grade talent show which he's afraid he will bomb.  In addition, he feels like he is losing his best friend, who enjoys sports, to a GIRL! Can he find a way to face his fears and keep his friend? Read and find out! Perfect for reluctant readers who love Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Big Nate, the book contains enough gross-out humor to satisfy even the most discerning reader. The illustrations are delightful and add the perfect complement to a story about friends and family and following your dreams. Highly recommended.


What's the 'story behind the story'?

The spark for The Barftastic Life of Louie Burger came one day when my middle son was sitting at the kitchen table enjoying his after-school snack and complaining to me about all the things that were wrong with his school.His complaints weren’t bitter and angry. They were funny. I thought to myself, “he sounds like a little stand-up comic.” Suddenly I had a vision of a story that would be told in the voice of a young comedian…what’s the deal with school? The next day I was writing the first draft.

What do you think is Louie Burger's best characteristic?

Well, I’m probably biased, but I love Louie’s sense of humor. He and I are on the same comedy wavelength. More important though, I think Louie’s ability to find the humor in the embarrassing, hurtful, and frustrating things that happen in his life is something that makes him a fun guy to be around. That kind of stuff happens to all of us, it’s what we do with it that makes the difference. I think Louie’s motto would be: If life gives you lemons, ask yourself why the lemon crossed the road.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you do?

One of my fantasy trips is to make a pilgrimage to Prince Edward Island, home of Lucy Maud Montgomery, one of my favorite authors, and setting of Anne of Green Gables, one of my favorite books. Of course I’d visit the beaches and explore the islands many beautiful spots, but I’d have to visit Avonlea and Charlottetown. I’d love to get inside the Anne books in such a sensory way.

If Louie could go anywhere in the world, where would he go?

Louie would definitely go to L.A. to watch a taping of Lou Lafferman LaffNite! Of course, when he got there, Lou would overhear Louie making a joke and would realize what a brilliant comedian Louie is destined to become. Then Lou would ask Louie to tell some jokes to the audience. That would go so well, Lou would broadcast the jokes on air, then he’d ask Louie to help him co-host the show, and when it was over Lou would realize that his show would never feel right again unless Louie became his permanent co-host.

Louie may have thought about this question before.

What do you feel is your best characteristic?

The thing I like best about myself is that I love to learn. I take classes, I read books, I journal to learn more about myself. The more I learn, the more I realize I do not know, and that helps me to be respectful and opento everyone I meet. They’ve probably got something to teach me!

How do you like to put together a story?

I am an outliner. Before I break out my laptop, I start a journal for each book. I spent weeks writing about my story, who the characters are, what their journeys are, the main events that will happen, and most importantly, how the story will end. Once I have a good handle on those questions, I write a loose scene-by-scene outline. Only when that’s done do I move to my computer.

In some ways that outline is like a first draft, just messier and faster. The times when I’ve tried to skip it, though, are the books that are sitting in a file collecting dust. I’ve just found that I can’t think and storytell at the same time. I need to think of the story first, then I can tell it.

What are your thoughts about the whole publishing process?

Exciting, terrifying, frustrating, exhilarating. As you can tell, I’ve found the publishing experience to be something of an emotional roller coaster, mostly because I think it can be a challenge to separate the creative part of the job from the business part, and because it can be a challenge to separate my identity as a person from the things I create.

But on the whole, I see it as such a privilege and an honor that my words have a life outside of me and, sometimes, connect with someone who really needed them in that moment.
Thanks to Jenny for answering my questions! Great answers.


Thanks to the publisher I have one copy to give away!
Be sure to fill out the form below for your chance to win.
Must be 13 or older to win.
US only.
Ends 6/21/2013

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Tues, June 4: Green Bean Teen Queen -
Thurs, June 6: The OWL for YA and Hooked on Books -
Fri, June 7: Dear Teen Me -
Tues, June 11: Geo Librarian -
Wed, June 12: The Children's Book Review -
Thurs, June 13: The Book Monsters -
Fri, June 14: Ms. Yingling Reads -
Sun, June 16: Nerdy Book Club -
Mon, June 17: As They Grow Up -
Tues, June 18: Kid Lit Frenzy -
Wed, June 19: Mundie Kids -
Thurs, June 20: There's a Book -


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