The Mudhogs is a children's book written and illustrated by Dalton James. Published in 2009, the book tells the story of three pigs, Piggy, Piggles, and Piglet, who are on a quest for mud, because it hasn't rained in several months.
This is the first book I've read that's narrated by a tick! What also makes this book special is that the author was only 8 years old when he wrote it, and it's his third book. I was charmed by this book and wanted to see how children would react to it. First, my daughter, Angela, age 12, read it. She thought it was a lot of fun. Then I brought it to my nephews, Baxter, age 4, and Erik, age 7. I read it to Baxter, and Erik read it to me. There were smiles and giggles, and both boys understood the story. The Mudhogs held their attention from the first page until the last.
In addition to reading his book, I had the opportunity to interview Dalton, and asked him some questions about his career as a young author.
An Interview with Author Dalton James
1) Welcome, Dalton! You've written three books, The Sneakiest Pirate, The Heroes of Googley Woogley, and The Mudhogs. What or who inspired you to write your first book?
DJ: My first grade teacher, Ms. Shoupe, read a book called Yuck Soup to us in school and then gave us the assignment of writing what we would put in yuck soup. I came home from school and told my dad that I wanted to write a book. He asked what I wanted to write about and I made a list of cool things I liked. I decided that I would write about pirates and I wrote The Sneakiest Pirates.
2) How long did it take you to write and illustrate The Mudhogs?
DJ: It took me about 3 months to get it all done, but it's because I have lots to do like school work and sports. It only took a couple days to get the story thought out and then write it but it took a while to draw and color all the pictures.
3) Are pigs your favorite animal?
DJ: Yes! I love pigs. I would love to have a real one, but my dad said we couldn't have one in the house. I have lots of stuffed pigs though.
4) Do you have any advice for other people, of all ages, who want to write books?
DJ: Just write down what you dream about. I always see the stories in my head and then I just tell my dad the story and then try and draw what the pictures looked like in my head.
5) I read that you're a senior black belt in Tae Kwon Do! What else do you enjoy doing when you're not working on a book?
DJ: I like to read books, play outside, play basketball and baseball. I'm pretty busy most of the time.
6) Will there be a fourth book?
DJ: Yes, I am almost done illustrating Super Pete Saves the Day, which is the third book in my series about the adventures of my dad and me. I have thought out a book called Snouter Pig, about a superhero pig, and I'm trying to think of a second story about the Mudhogs.
7) What do you want to be when you grow up?
DJ: I would like to be like my daddy and be a pediatrician, but sometimes I would like to grow up and be a writer or a policeman.
Thank you, Dalton. I wish you continued success with your books. It has been a lot of fun to read your book and interview you.
Special thanks to Dalton James and Bostick Publications for sending me this book.
Comments welcomed as always.