I was lucky to celebrate April Fools Day 2021 with a sweet and humorous interview with Sue Lowell Gallion and Joyce Wan and their adorable Pug and Pig before the third book in the series – Pug & Pig and Friends – joined Pug Meets Pig and Pug & Pig Trick-or-Treat on August 17, 2021. I hope you enjoy learning more about these adorable characters and their creators as much as I did. You can read my review of Pug & Pig and Friends here.
Pug made his publishing debut in Pug Meets Pig, published by Beach Lane Books in 2016. Before meeting Pig, Pug was a very happy pup. He had his own yard, his own bowl, and even his own cozy bed! That is, until Pig moved in and started eating from Pug’s bowl, interrupting Pug’s routine, and, worst of all, sleeping in Pug’s bed. The world wondered: could Pug and Pig ever learn to live together as friends? The answer was Yes! Since then Pug & Pig had a wonderful adventure together in Pug & Pig, Trick-or-Treat and are excited to share their new story Pug & Pig and Friends. You can connect with Pug here and here.
Welcome to Celebrate Picture Books, Pug! It’s quite a treat to talk with you today! I’m sure readers would love to know – What’s the best thing about being a pug?
Being everybody’s favorite. Oh, and the naps.
What is your favorite holiday and what do you like best about it?
Halloween. Answering the door with Pig, trick-or-treating with Pig, and eating all the tasty tidbits with Pig,
Eating all of those Halloween treats is fun! What is your favorite?
You’ve known Pig for a long time. What do you like best about her?
Once you get past her attention-hogging tendencies, she is fun-loving and radiates positivity. There’s never a dull moment when Pig is around.
I can imagine! So, tell me, what is it about Pig that makes her such a great friend?
She makes a great snuggle buddy during nap time.
What part of the day do you like best?
Nap time, with meal time being a very close second.
Today is April Fools Day, a holiday when people play tricks on each other. Have you ever played a trick on Pig?
I don’t like surprises or tricks as much as Pig does, but I covered myself with mud one time and pretended to be Pig’s shadow. Whatever Pig did, I followed. We had a really good laugh about it later.
That sounds like so much fun! I bet you can’t wait to unleash your newest book! And no bones about it – I’m sure kids are eager to read it! What’s that? Ohhh… Almost nap time…! Let me talk with Pig a little and then you can snuggle into your little house in the yard. Thanks for spending time with me!
Pig first trotted onto the literary scene in Pug Meets Pig. Even though she might have been a little bit oinksious about Pug’s initial reaction, Pig and Pug have grown to be best of friends. Pig is always ready to try something new and her welcoming smile is an ever-present part of her sty-le. For Pig there’s nothing better than sharing a new adventure with Pug, and she’s excited for the summer launch of Pug & Pig and Friends. You can connect with Pig here and here.
It’s so nice to meet you, Pig! In your stories, you’re always so happy. What’s the best thing about being a pig?
Being a pig is delightful in every way. I am a pig for all seasons. I do wish I was taller, and I’d like to get out of the yard more. Maybe in another book?
Did you say, “another book?” That would be fantastic! Just listen to all those kids saying, “Yes, please!” I bet they’re also wondering what your favorite holiday is and what you like best about it.
I like to find something to celebrate in every single day. But my birthday would have to be my favorite. I love to look around and see friends and family all together for one happy reason—a party! With treats!
From Pug & Pig, Trick-or-Treat, readers know you love treats, but what’s your favorite Halloween treat?
I am very fond of candy corn (I’m a pig, after all!). I also like miniature Snickers bars. I might peek in Pug’s treat basket when mine is empty, but don’t tell him. . . .
Ok, I got it: Shhhh…. What do you like best about Pug?
Pug is in charge of security at our place. He’s always on the alert for any change in our routine. I can relax and go with the flow. We make a good team.
You certainly do! What makes Pug a great friend?
Pug’s bark is definitely worse than his bite. (With that underbite, I’m not sure he could bite too well. He’s a champion chewer, though.) Underneath that tough guy exterior, he’s a sweetheart.
What part of the day do you like best?
I’m definitely a morning pig.
Today is April Fool’s Day, a day for pranks and shenanigans. Do you like playing tricks on your friends?
Of course! I like to keep my friends on their toes/hooves/paws/claws!
I can see why Pug and all of the neighborhood animals love you! Thanks so much for trotting over to chat with me today! I understand it’s nap time, so I’ll let you meet up with Pug and talk awhile with Sue and Joyce.
A Chat with Sue Lowell Gallion
As the daughter of a printer, Sue Lowell Gallion has a life-long love of type, paper, and the aroma of ink. She is the author of the Pug & Pig series and the picture book All Except Axle as well as a nonfiction board book, Our World: A First Book of Geography, and three books in the Tip and Tucker early reader series. Sue lives in Leawood, Kansas, with a black lab mix who provides her with daily inspiration. To learn more and download free activities for all of her books, visit suegallion.com. You can also connect with Sue on Instagram and Twitter.
Hi Sue! I’m so happy to be talking with you about your next Pug & Pig book with Joyce! Since we’re celebrating April Fool’s Day today, I have to ask: Have you ever played an April Fool’s joke on anyone? Can you tell readers more about it?
I grew up in a family and neighborhood of practical jokers. One of the most memorable was when the neighborhood set up a Used Christmas Trees lot on the driveway of a family that was out of town for the holidays. In fact, some jokes are better done on days other than April Fool’s Day! People are less suspicious.
Would Pug and Pig ever play tricks on each other?
Yes, their relationship has grown to this point. But at first, Pug probably would be annoyed.
I’m sure readers are eager to find Pug & Pig and Friends on bookstore shelves. Can you give readers a sneak peek of your and Joyce’s upcoming book?
I’ve been pondering Pug’s relationship with Cat since the first book, Pug Meets Pig. It took a lot for Pug to welcome Pig into his world, and his relationship with Cat was tricky to begin with. Expanding the circle of characters gave me lots to work with. I want each Pug and Pig book to have unexpected twists and explore feelings and friendships in a different way.
A thunderstorm in Pug & Pig and Friends is another layer. I was terrified of thunderstorms as a kid (and I grew up in Kansas City, right in the middle of Tornado Alley). I hope it’s a conversation starter or reassurance for kids who aren’t fans of storms, either.
Pug and Pig make such perfect companions. Where did the idea for this sweet series come from?
A friend in my water aerobics group told us about her daughter and family adopting a rescue pig. The family already had a pug, and the two animals didn’t end up getting along. I was intrigued with how the words “pug” and “pig” rolled off my tongue together. These two animals somewhat resemble each other, with their snouts and curly tails. And the joy of fiction is that you can make the story unfold (and end!) however you want!
In Pug Meets Pig, you mix humor and disappointment in such a poignant way. How do you balance those emotions in a story for little readers?
Kids feel deeply and those feelings are important. Experiences may seem small from an adult perspective, but they aren’t small to a child. The themes of handling change and growing in empathy are intriguing to me as a story creator. I also love funny moments in books and sharing giggles with kids over a story and the illustrations! Sometimes it’s easier for all of us to absorb or process emotions and ideas that way, too.
In your Pug & Pig stories, you show how friends don’t always like the same things but can still find ways to enjoy time together or cooperate. Why do you think this is such an important idea? What do you want kids to take away from your stories?
I hope the takeaway is that all of us experience the world differently and we don’t always feel the same way as others. Those differences need to be understood and respected, and friendship involves supporting each other in our differences. I want to continually grow in trying to understand others’ perspectives, and in giving others grace. And a sense of humor always helps! Joyce’s illustrations in Pug Meets Pig where Pig is stuck in the new doggy door really show that combination of humor and understanding. It’s one of my favorite spreads.
Do you identify more with Pug or Pig?
I probably am closer to Pig’s personality. I’m pretty sensitive at times. Pug was partly based on the personality of my dog, Tucker, but there’s plenty of Pug in me, too.
Thanks, Sue! I’ve loved learning more about your series and its two stars, Pug and Pig! I wish you all the best with Pug & Pig and Friends!
A Chat with Joyce Wan
Joyce Wan is the author and illustrator of several books for children, including Pug Meets Pig, Pug & Pig Trick-or Treat, Sleepyheads,You Are My Cupcake, We Belong Together, and The Whale in My Swimming Pool. Joyce lives with her husband and daughter in New Jersey. Visit her at wanart.com. You can connect with Joyce on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter.
Hi Joyce! It’s so wonderful to chat with you about your newest Pug & Pig book with Sue! These two characters are so endearing, you just can’t help but fall in love with them. In this latest story there’s a little bit of shenanigans going on, so since we’re celebrating April Fools Day today, I have to ask if have you ever played pranks on anyone?
Yes, mostly on my siblings, like using trick birthday candles that don’t blow out and wrapping a Christmas gift in an empty cereal box.
Your illustrations of Pug and Pig are adorable. It’s hard to imagine them looking any different than as these little bundles of cuteness. Did they undergo transformations as you developed your drawings for Pug Meets Pig? If so, can you talk about that a little?
My drawings usually require a few iterations before I get to a final design. I often work backwards, drawing things as they look with a lot of details and then stripping away lines, making things rounder, and simplifying as much as possible.
The upcoming Pug & Pig and Friends is the third book in the series. As the illustrator, what do you look forward to as you revisit the characters and setting with each new book?
I love revisiting characters and settings. The look and feel of the characters, and the world they inhabit have already been established (that part of the process can often feel daunting) so I get to dive back in and pick up where we left off. It’s like visiting and spending time with old friends.
I love your gentle color palette. Even though there are conflicts in the story, the calming colors give you the feeling that things will work out. Is that idea in your mind when you choose colors for these books?
Sue created such sweet and heartwarming characters and stories. I wanted to carry this through into the pictures, picking colors that evoke a cozy and comforting feeling, books that feel like a warm hug.
Would you say you identify more with Pug or Pig?
I have more of a happy-go-lucky, fun-loving personality like Pig but I do enjoy and appreciate my alone time like Pug—even more so with everyone home these days!
Thanks, Joyce! I know readers can’t wait to see Pug and Pig in their new adventure!
Readers, while you wait for Pug & Pig and Friends, enjoy Pug & Pig’s other adventures! You can find activities and coloring pages to enjoy on Sue Lowell Gallion’s website and on Joyce Wan’s website while you read Pug Meets Pig and Pug & Pig, Trick-or-Treat. Visit their page at Beach Lane Books, too!