Ladies and gentlemen (and quadrupeds), I introduce you to Ana and Daz, two of the stars from How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied!
Rachel: Hello! And welcome to your very first joint interview!
Ana: Hello! Daz, what the heck are you doing? Stop fixing your hair and get over here.
Daz: Yeah, yeah, don't get your underoos in a twist. I'm here. Top of the morning to you!
Ana: Top of the morning? What are you, a leprechaun? Just be normal-acting. It's just an interview.
Daz: Pfft. You're one to talk, little Miss Had-To-Mess-With-My-Hair-For-Two-Hours-In-The-Bathroom this morning. It's not even a video interview, they can't even SEE YOU. Or your hair!
Ana: Daz! Why do you have to be such a weirdo?! I wasn't in there for two hours! You can't say stuff like that to an interviewer!
Rachel: No, it's fine. It's great that you two are so… in tune. Let's talk about that! What's it like having Daz for a twin brother, Ana?
Ana: Um, it's—
Daz: It's awesome having me as a brother! I'm the greatest brother Ana could ever wish for. Even with one of those silly 'wish cupcakes' she keeps yelling at me for eating. Who thinks you can make wishes on cupcakes, right?! THAT GIRL right there.
Ana: Quit interrupting me! I was going to say that Daz is an okay little brother, but—
Daz: I'm not your little brother! You're technically four minutes older than me, that so does not count. Geezer.
Ana: [sighing] I'm sorry, what was the question again?
Rachel: Why don't we talk about your life a little bit? What's it like to live in the zoo?
Daz: Hah! Ana was freaked when Mom told us we were moving into the zoo. Weren't you, Ana? Ehn? EHN?
Ana: I was not! I mean. Okay. I might have been a little scared.
Daz: Hah! She practically had a panic attack right there. With her face turning all red like a tomato and everything. She looked just like this!
Ana: I did not look like a monkey! They don't need to know all the gory details, Daz! That is not why we are here today!
Rachel: What about you, Daz? Were you excited?
Daz: You bet I was! I got the good room beside the zebras. They don't reek. Ana got the room next to the hippos, which was hilarious. Here, check it out! This is Ana's neighbor! I can't tell if that bad breath is from the hippos or Ana though…
Ana: You're killing me here, Daz.
Rachel: What about your favorite animals? Why don't you tell me about them?
Ana: Oh, man. I don't know if I could pick one! I really like crocodiles, even though most people think they look pretty mean. Look at that cute face.
Daz: I wish I had teeth like that, teachers would be too afraid to give me homework.
Ana: [glaring pointedly at Daz] And I also like parrots. I have a parrot, his name is Darwin. Here's a picture of him. Don't let the coy look on his face fool you, he loves this attention. He's actually kind of a drama queen.
Daz: Darwin pooped on her head last week.
Ana: Why do you always talk about POOP? Nobody wants to hear about my parrot pooping! You're ruining this interview!
Rachel: No, no! It's fine. So tell me. What's it like being the star of your very own book?
Daz: It's great! I can't wait for everyone to read about me.
Ana: Um, I'm pretty sure she was talking to me, you dolt. I don't see your stinky boots on the cover, do I?
Daz: Those could be my pink sneakers on the cover. You can't actually tell, you know. Boys like pink too, Ana, stop being so sexist!
Ana: Oh my god! Don't say that! I'm not—
Daz: [laughing] I love doing that to her. Her eyebrows practically jump up to Mars, she's so freaked out she's in trouble. It's her shoes on the cover, I just like messing with her.
Ana: Argh! You are impossible.
Daz: And that zit on your chin seems to be back again. Welcome back, old friend!
Rachel: Okay! How about we regroup here. Ana, why don't you tell me the best part about being in this book?
Ana: Well… I can't really say it was always fun, you know? I was really afraid when Mom asked me to present at the zoo in front of people. And the whole 'best friend moving to New Zealand' thing' really sucked. And having a world famous grandfather with paparazzi that follow him around isn't exactly my idea of fun.
Daz: [snorting] Her idea of fun is sitting around yakking on the phone about boooyyyyyyyssss.
Ana: You're one to talk! I heard you on the phone last night talking to Kevin about a certain girl named—
Daz: HEY! Isn't it time to wrap this up?
Rachel: Okay, one last question for each of you. Why should people read this book?
Daz: Please. I'm in it. What more could you ask for? Looks, brains, and personality.
Ana: Oh, great. We've just lost readers right there. I'm going to lose my breakfast if you keep this up, seriously.
Rachel: How about you, Ana? Why do you think people will like your story?
Ana: Hmm. I think that it's going to make a lot of people laugh, and I bet there are other kids out there who feel like me, you know? Like, sort of… afraid to be themselves. Even if you really want to be something, it's not always easy.
Ana: It's the truth!
Daz: They don't want the truth! They want razzle dazzle and pizzazz!
Ana: Did you seriously just say 'pizzazz'?
Daz: That reminds me, I have some pizza in the microwave. Hurry up!
Ana: Fine. Read our story because it's awesome and I'm hilarious and Daz looks like a movie star. There! Are you happy, Daz?
Daz: Indeed I am, sister o' mine.
Ana: Annnd, he's a leprechaun again.
Rachel: Thank you so much to both of you for joining me today. It was great to talk with you! I hope everyone grabs a copy of your book!
Ana: Thank you.
Daz: [mumbles through pizza] Fank yur.
Ana: I can't take him anywhere.
How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied
Author: Jess Keating
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Publishing Date: June 3, 2014
What would middle school be like if you lived in a zoo?
Ana didn't ask to be named after an anaconda. She didn't ask for zoologist parents who look like safari guides. And she definitely didn't ask for a twin brother whose life goal seems to be terrorizing her with his pet reptiles. Now, to make matters worse, her parents have decided to move the whole family INTO the zoo! All of which gives the Sneerers (the clan of carnivorous female predators in her class) more ammunition to make her life miserable-and squash any hope of class tennis stud, Zack, falling in love with her. Ana tries to channel her inner chameleon and fade into the background, but things are changing too quickly for her to keep up.
As a zoologist turned middle grade and picture book author, Jess Keating has been sprayed by skunks, bitten by crocodiles, and been a victim to the dreaded paper cut. Her debut How To Outrun A Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied is coming in Summer 2014 from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, with a sequel to follow. Her nonfiction picture book, Pink is for Blobfish, will be published by Knopf in 2016.
She has a Masters degree in Animal Science and a growing collection of books that are threatening to take over her house. She lives in Ontario, Canada, where she loves hiking, watching nerdy documentaries, and writing books for adventurous and funny kids.
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