Welcome to Day 23 of the 4th Annual March MG Madness! Today we are celebrating Eric Colossal's Rutabaga the Adventure Chef...
Rutabaga the Adventure Chef
by Eric Colossal
In a world where there are dragons, wyverns, and haunted squash, you’d figure someone would have recipes for them, right?
Rutabaga and his magic cooking pot, Pot, join young adventurers Winnifred, Manny, and Beef on a quest to defeat a dragon, discover new ingredients, find monsters to have for and/or to dinner, and to save the day through cooking. Rutabaga will dare any danger to uncover new tastes, and there’s a whole world full of food to try—from roasted mud leech to spider soup to peanut butter on crackers. His heroic recipes combine real ingredients, fantasy ingredients, and real ingredients that sound fantastical. Rutabaga the Adventure Chef is the perfect adventure for any kid grossed out when something weird shows up on the dinner table.
Praise for Rutabaga
"Colossal's full-color, cartoonish illustrations, with their heavy linework and simple figures, match the light, goofy tone of the stories."
(Kirkus Reviews 2014-12-15)
"Colossal perfectly mixes action and humor...A promising first course in a series that could really take off."
(Peter Blenski, Greenfield Public Library, WI School Library Journal 2015-01-01)
"Rutabaga’s culinary feats in the comic...could easily inspire young adventure chefs to make some gourmet grub of their own."
(Sarah Hunter Booklist 2015-01-01)
What three words best describe Rutabaga the Adventure Chef?
Dungeons! Dragons! Dessert!
Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers, especially reluctant readers, to give your graphic novel a try?
Rutabaga is a goofy little chef on a fantastical quest to eat the strangest and wildest foods he can find. From dragon's eggs to mud leeches, Rutabaga wants to try them all and add them to his ever growing cook book.
Grab a copy of Rutabaga the Adventure Chef and answer the following:
Page 24, where Rutabaga's trusty sidekick, Pot, a magical walking cauldron, snuggles down and gets comfy on a large cooking fire.
Page 91, where Rutabaga and Pot travel from the Kingdom of Highmore to unknown lands in search of a great beast with their new Viking friends.
That's easy! The Rusty Goat! A secret, adventurer's only club house hidden in the back alleys of the Kingdom of Highmore. Strange and interesting people are always dropping in, bringing with them stories of their adventures!
flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser:
Rutabaga has promised to stay out of the way while his 3 new viking friends go and fight a giant, man-eating beast. Rutabaga wonders what the harm would be if he got a LITTLE closer to the action. It's not like anything could go wrong if he climbed this slippery mountain and sat on this precarious ledge to look down on the fight, could it?
What inspired Rutabaga the Adventure Chef? How did the story come to be?
I had been reading a lot of fun adventure stories like the original Dragon Ball comics and they made me so happy to read. Every character was having fun and being goofy and making me smile so I decided to try and write one. I'm a fan of magical, fantasy settings but I didn't want to do a story about another thief or barbarian stealing gold from another dragon. I thought about all those weird monsters and I wondered if anyone had ever tried eating them before. Does a dragon taste like chicken? Does a giant gelatinous cube taste like green Jello? I sat down that night and started sketching out ideas and that's how Rutabaga was born.
Can you tell us a bit about your hero, Rutabaga? What makes him special and sets him apart from other middle-grades heroes?
Rutabaga lives in a world of dungeons, dragons and demons. He's surrounded by castles, and warriors, and wizards but all he wants to be is a simple chef. He's not interested in fame or fortune or defeating an entire army and becoming king. He just wants to explore this strange world, meet strange new people, discover strange new plants and animals, and then stick them in his mouth and see how they taste! Is that so much to ask?
What are the top three weirdest, most fantastical ingredients Rutabaga finds?
First would be the Legendary Bell Topped Mushroom, a delicious mushroom that only grows on mysterious and legendary artifacts like a sword in a stone.
Second, I'd say the Popshroom, a mushroom that when touched, bursts open like an airbag and sends whoever touched it flying into the air.
And finally, the King's Head Squash. A squash that looks EXACTLY like the head of an evil king who lived hundreds of years ago.
As a middle-grade author, why do think MG is so important and popular? What do you love about MG?
I think I love it for the same reason I think it's popular. Middle-grade works have the ability to stretch beyond their intended demographic and into the wider world of literature. Many adults can enjoy these books just the same as the younger readers.
What are some of your favorite middle-grade reads?
I grew up reading the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett and they certainly helped make the kind of writer I am today. Fun characters, a vibrant and fully realized world, action and adventure, and of course, funny jokes!
Fill in the blanks:
I’m really awesome at Finding dogs to pet while I'm out walking in the park. They're everywhere! You just gotta keep your eyes peeled for those pups!
I’m really embarrassed to admit I never learned to drive a car!
The last great book I read was I've been reading a Japanese comic called "Yotsuba&!" and I love it! It's about a little girl named Yotsuba who has just moved to a new town with her dad. She's so funny and adorable and it makes me so happy to read about her adventures. Olé!
If you were to bake a cupcake inspired by Rutabaga the Adventure Chef, what would it look and taste like and what would you call it?
I would start by grinding up some cinnamon candies and then mixing the powder with a little bit of vanilla frosting. Then, I'd cut a chocolate cupcake in half, put a little of the cinnamon frosting in the middle, close it up and coat the whole thing in plain white vanilla frosting. Finish it off with 3 red circles of red frosting on top and you've made a Spicy Dragon's Egg Cupcake!
Eric Colossal graduated from the School of Visual Arts. During the day he works at a video game company, with credits including Guitar Hero and Spider-Man 3. At night and on weekends he works on comics, cartoons, and indie games. He lives in Troy, New York.
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