Today, we are delighted to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for The Mechanical Mind of John Coggin by Elinor Teele, a hilarious new middle grade book in stores TODAY from Walden Pond Press.
We’ve got a Q&A with one of the books characters, Great-Aunt Beauregard Pickett Coggin. Plus, keep reading for your chance to win a signed copy of the book!
A resident of the port of Pludgett, Miss Beauregard Pickett Coggin is well-known for her ownership of “Coggin Family Coffins, Supreme Craftsmen of Death.” For this interview, I met Miss Coggin in her place of business. Her most distinctive accessory was a large hat crowned with the head of a stuffed passenger pigeon.
I’ve heard you described as a slab-faced, tight-fisted woman without a trace of imagination. Do you feel this is an accurate portrayal?
Who told you that? Was it that insane personage called Boz?
I’d rather not say.
I have a family business – do you think I have time for imagination? No! I’m run off my feet measuring corpses, making coffins, and expanding my line of operations. And I certainly do not have time for lily-livered interviewers who don’t have the guts to state their sources!
Would you like to end the interview?
No. I’d like you to ask a sensible question.
Okay. A wise literary agent once told me that villains have only one of two goals: power or money. What are your thoughts?
Are you calling me a villain?
Good. Because I have a Limited Edition Walnut with Brass Handles in stock that would fit you just fine.
So your thoughts are…?
Villains aren’t selfish or greedy. They’re smart. They’re charging eight miles ahead while all you dolts and dimwits are fiddling with your shoelaces. The reason that most of them break the law or try to blow up the planet is because they’re bored. They’re bored with waiting for everyone to catch up.
Let’s assume you’re right. Apart from intelligence – what makes a good villain?
Oh, I don’t know. Maybe the skill to string together a coherent sentence? Maybe the courage to pick an impossible goal and stick to it? Say what you want about villains, but most of them are far more entertaining than those soft-kneed doubters that society likes to call heroes.
You don’t think villains are ever conflicted? About morality, for instance? Or taking care of their family? Maybe they’re simply lonely.
Humph. Let me tell you something about family. You’ll never, ever run away from it. My great-nephew John seems to believe you can create your own clan, that friends and mentors and teachers form the backbone of your happiness.
But blood is what counts. John has responsibility running through his veins, and he knows it. Whatever airy-fairy dreams he might have, his destiny is to knuckle-down and make money. Inventing things is not the profession of a respectable person!
I see. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Yes. I take back what I said. You’d look much better in Maple and Silver Plate.
“Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women.”
Roald Dahl meets The Penderwicks in this quirky, humorous, whimsical, and heartwarming middle grade debut about two siblings who run away from home to escape working in the family coffin business.
John Coggin is no ordinary boy. He is devising an invention that nobody has ever seen before, something that just might change the world, or at least make life a little bit better for him and his little sister, Page. But that’s only when he can sneak a break from his loathsome job—building coffins for the family business under the beady gaze of his cruel Great-Aunt Beauregard.
When Great-Aunt Beauregard informs John that she’s going to make him a permanent partner in Coggin Family Coffins—and train Page to be an undertaker—John and Page hit the road. Before long, they’ve fallen in with a host of colorful characters, all of whom, like John and Page, are in search of a place they can call home. But home isn’t something you find so much as something you fight for, and John soon realizes that he and Page are in for the fight of their lives.
Also check out the Educational Activity Kit based on the book for use in the classroom or library!
And don’t miss the latest episode of WaldenTV, in which THE MECHANICAL MIND OF JOHN COGGIN is compared with the movie HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS:
In 2000, Elinor took a slow plane to England for doctoral work in Anglo-Saxon literature at the University of Cambridge. She wrote her thesis on the Old English Riddles, a compilation of bawdy and lyrical poems in the language of Beowulf. She graduated with a PhD in 2005.
To earn her daily bread, she is a freelance copywriter with her own business, Squam Creative Services.
Find Elinor Teele at her website here.
To enter, tell us in the comments below What do you think makes a good villain? Then complete this Rafflecopter form:
The contest runs through midnight (PT) on Tuesday, April 19th. U.S. only.
- April 11 – Bluestocking Thinking
- April 12 – Novel Novice
- April 13 – This Kid Reviews Books
- April 14 – Maria’s Melange
- April 15 – Unleashing Readers
- April 18 – Next Best Book
- April 19 – Foodie Bibliophile
- April 20 – For Those About to Mock
- April 21 – Walden Media Tumblr
- April 22 – Charlotte’s Library
- April 25 – Flashlight Reader
- April 26 – Teach Mentor Texts
- April 27 – Librarian’s Quest
- April 28 – Kid Lit Frenzy
- April 29 – Novel Novice
And no, that’s not a typo. We’re also hosting a SECOND stop on this blog tour, wrapping everything up on April 29th. So be sure to pop back then, too!