BLOG TOUR/GIVEAWAY: Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic by Mark Tatulli


Desmond's world is full of monster magic--packed with detailed drawings of custom-crafted wriggling worms, goblins that spring from toilets, and elaborate slumber party ghost scares.  He's an aspiring special effects wizard with dreams of creating his own dark amusement park rides, just like the Mountain Full of Monsters at Crab Shell Pier he'll be visiting on this year's school field trip.  But when Desmond takes his frightful pranks a little too far, he finds himself in trouble and his field trip privileges in danger.  Can he clean up his act, while staying true to who he is?


Mark Tatulli is an internationally syndicated cartoonist best known for his popular comic strips Heart of the City, which chronicles a fun-loving tenacious little girl's adventures in the big city of Philadelphia, andLio, which tells the adventures of a young boy and his pet squid. In addition to cartooning, Tatulli is an accomplished filmmaker and animator, and the recipient of three Emmy Awards. He lives in New Jersey with his wife, Donna, three children, and three nefarious cats, all of whom supply endless ideas for his books.

Desmond Pucket reminds me a lot of Greg Heffley in that he is his own worst enemy.  He builds a reputation as an incurable prankster and then must suffer the consequences. Fortunately for Desmond, he finds a way to come out on top despite all his difficulties. I'll admit that the gross humor about did me in, but I know many child readers, especially boys who would love all the monster magic that Desmond creates (there are even instructions for some of the tricks in the back of the book). And the book is full of disrespectful references to other people, especially adults.  But I figure that this is exaggerated enough that kids won't take it seriously and Desmond's monster magic really is quite creative. I have to wonder how many of these tricks the author has tried himself, he sounds quite experienced ;) There were even places I found myself snickering out loud. Children will definitely relate to Desmond's difficult situation at school and at home and his efforts to fix the problem, but I think they will also get the message about the importance of being oneself. I also liked the idea presented about how Desmond really brings a lot of what happens on himself. An entertaining read that has lots of appealing (if you don't mind gross) images, perfect for reluctant readers and fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Big Nate.

GUEST POST by Book Editor Andrea Colvin

As an editor, you read a lot of things that aren’t very good, and even more things that are just okay, and a few things that are almost really good. But it’s very rare that a manuscript crosses your desk that you just know, right away, is it. A manuscript that has that special blend of humor, prose, and timeliness, plus a certain amount of magic. Mark Tatulli’s proposal for Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic was one of those rare projects.

We had been publishing Mark’s Lio collections for a number of years into the adult cartoon market, but this was his first stab at a middle-grade title. At the same time, we were busy launching our first middle-grade line, AMP! Comics for Kids, with Lincoln Peirce’s excellent Big Nate collections as our calling card. So this was a perfect time for us to acquire a new property with a great character we could build going forward.

The fly in the ointment was that Mark had one of the best children’s literary agents out there, Dan Lazar from Writer’s House, and Dan had also sent this proposal to a lot of publishers with much more established middle-grade publishing programs than ours. And they were all interested in publishing Desmond Pucket. There was an auction and we managed to stay in the running up to the final round.

When it was down to us and one other publisher (one of the big six New York publishing houses), I got the opportunity to talk to Mark, and did everything I could to convince him to go with us. It worked! I like to think that what tipped the balance in our favor was how much I believe in this character and this story, and how much I want to get it in front of kids. And that’s what I’ve been working to do since that phone call.

As an editor, you won’t always love everything you publish, but you should believe in its potential. I’ve been lucky with Mark Tatulli and Desmond—not only do I believe, strongly, in the series’ potential, but I really, really love this book! 


1 print copy of Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic
US/Canada Only
Ends 11/25/2013


Monday, November 11th:  Buried in Books

Tuesday, November 12th:  Chaos Is a Friend of Mine

Wednesday, November 13th: Laurisa White Reyes 

Thursday, November 14th:  The Official Desmond Pucket Blog

Monday, November 18th:  Geo Librarian

Tuesday, November 19th:   You Can Read Me Anything

Wednesday, November 20th:   Novel Novice


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