Her name’s Moxie. Moxie McCoy.
Bold, opinionated, and haplessly self-confident, the world’s greatest fourth-grade detective faces her biggest challenge! When someone kidnaps beloved school mascot Eddie the Owl, Moxie is on the case—but she’s forced to fly solo now that her best friend (and crime-solving partner) has moved away.
Moxie must interview her classmates—both as potential new best friends and as possible suspects. She finds clues andpoints fingers but can’t save the owl on her own. Enter Moxie’s little brother, Milton. Quiet, cautious, and boring as a butter knife, he’s a good listener.
Can the Real McCoys form an unlikely alliance and solve the crime of the century?
Bursting with interactive illustrations on every page, Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr’s The Real McCoys delivers clever storytelling, laugh-out-loud humor, and heartwarming insight. This is the first book in a series.
Praise for THE REAL MCCOYS
“Readers will breeze through this ingenious combination of text and art, eager for Moxie and Milton’s next case.” —School Library Journal, starred review
“Swanson’s witty text is enhanced exponentially by Behr’s bold, original artwork to create a uniquely told whodunit with wide appeal … An exceptional book.” —Booklist, starred review
“An exceptional middle-grade read packed with giggles for young sleuths who love to explore a little off the beaten path.” —Kirkus Reviews
“This clever, funny, delightful book is just what this crazy world needs. The surprising and inventive interaction between text and illustration shows that two brains are, indeed, better than one–especially when they belong to Matthew Swansonand Robbi Behr.” —Andrea Beaty, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Ada Twist Scientist
WE LIVE AND WORK AND MAKE STUFF TOGETHER IN THE HAYLOFT OF AN OLD BARN ON THE EASTERN SHORE OF MARYLAND.
Combining Robbi’s illustrations and Matthew’s words, we run two small presses— Idiots’Books (illustrated picture books for adults) andBobbledy Books, (a picture book and music club for kids). Together, we have published more than 60 volumes, including titles with Macmillan, Chronicle Booksand LB Kids. We speak, teach, and run workshops on collaboration and creative entrepreneurship (with appearances at TEDx, Mom 2.0,Alt Summit, and ICON7). And we blog about our ongoing adventures in creative mishap.
ROBBI BEHR is an illustrator/print maker/commercial salmon fisherwoman who earned a BA from Williams College andan MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design. When she is not drawing stuff or eating ice cream or watching sappy late-90s chick movies, she is, in all likelihood, fast asleep.
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MATTHEW SWANSON is a writer/art director/blues harmonica player who has so far failed in every attempt to be swashbuckling. He managed to secure a BA from Williams but was summarily rejected from every MFA program to which he applied—thus emboldening Robbi to remind him almost daily that he is a master of nothing.
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Matthew: My name is Matthew Swanson. I’m the author of The Real McCoys.
Robbi: And I’m Robbi Behr. I’m the illustrator.
Matthew: We are married and make books together and have twice the reasonable allotment of children.
Robbi: So you think two children is reasonable?
Matthew: Two is less unreasonable. No children are entirely reasonable.
Robbi: I think we have some of the most reasonable children I’ve ever met.
Matthew: I agree. Which is why it’s less unreasonable than it might be to have so many of them.
Robbi: Is this a blog post about family planning?
Matthew: Not at all. Mary has asked us to talk about what is on our desks.
Robbi: Does she have any idea what my desk looks like?
Matthew: I’m assuming she does not.
Robbi: It is a total and utter disaster.
Matthew: I know this to be true. But I am not judging. My desk is no Zen garden either.
R: This post might not reflect well on us. We want people to buy our book, not run screaming.
Matthew: I believe Mary’s readers will be able to see the effort and intention behind the clutter.
R: When is the last time you took a good, hard look at my desk?
Matthew: How about we go back and forth? I’ll do one, then you do one. And we’ll get through this together.
R: Challenge accepted.
Matthew: First of all, my desk is two Ikea tables that are arranged to form an L. On one side of the L is my personal laptop and external monitor. This is where I write the books and stories I work on with Robbi. On the other half of the L is the laptop and monitor I use for my half-time job as a writer and content strategist for a design firm in Baltimore.
Robbi: Well, in order to actually see what’s on my desk, which, by the way, is approximately 10 feet away from Matthew’s, I have to clear off a bunch of mugs and cups and plates. I just counted and I literally have 6 glasses, two mugs (with old tea bags in them), two small bowls, one dinner plate, one smaller plate – is that called a dessert plate?
Matthew: I think it’s called a salad plate…?
Robbi: Oh, well, it sure didn’t have salad on it.
Matthew: What did it have on it?
Robbi: (after a long pause) Something dry and crumbly and…orange?
Matthew: What was it?
Robbi: I’m not sure.
Matthew: (tries hard not to judge)
Robbi: Okay, and then also one saucer, the lid to a Tupperware, two empty energy drink cans, and two of those little plastic measuring cups for taking cold medicine. Two! And here I couldn’t find EITHER ten minutes ago when it was time to take my cold medicine!
Matthew: It’s hard to be Robbi.
Robbi: Okay. So once that’s all cleared off, I’ve got my Power Mac and old Mac Mini server (long overdue for an update), two monitors, a Wacom tablet, 5 backup drives, and a pair of noise-canceling bluetooth headphones you got for me. Thank you for those.
Matthew: You’re welcome. I figure they might keep me from bothering you all the time.
Robbi: They do indeed. Unfortunately, they don’t keep ME from bothering YOU.
Matthew: Which brings us to what is on MY desk: immediately to MY left is a giant plastic container full of 98 pairs of Flents “Quiet Please” foam ear plugs. I cannot sleep without ear plugs. They are very important to me.
Robbi: Matthew is a delicate flower. He also sleeps with seven pillows.
Matthew: But I also can’t work without ear plugs. Robbi’s shuffling around and humming and crinkling snack bags is very distracting. Not to mention all the coughing she’s been doing lately.
Robbi: Sorry. Yes. But now that I’ve found found the little measuring thingies, I will take my medicine, and there will be no more coughing.
Matthew: I can’t wait! Okay. Back to the question. On one of my desks is a lamp made out of an antique gumball machine. You can put a penny in and get a gumball out, but I do it sparingly, because I don’t have the key to open the penny compartment, and so some sad day it will be entirely full and unable to accept additional pennies. Because of this, the gumballs inside have been there for twelve years.
Robbi: And counting!
Matthew: They are hard as rocks now, so it makes it much easier to not want to eat them.
Robbi: I do not have a gumball machine on my desk. But I DO have a handy treat dispenser, otherwise known as “paper bag from Walgreens”.
Matthew: Ah, good old paper bag from Walgreens…
Robbi: Is that ALL that’s on your desk?
Matthew: Oh god no. I also have a pair of Apple earbuds, two 30-pin charging cables for devices that no longer work, two empty coffee mugs, a box of our business cards, a broken earring our daughter found in a parking lot, a cloth for cleaning eyeglasses, an unopened packet of Emergen-C Super Orange Dietary Supplement, a Costco receipt, one of the two devices that no longer work, and a glass tumbler containing a really old dark chocolate Lindor truffle.
Robbi: I am happy to report I have ZERO really old chocolates on my desk. Any chocolates that find their way to my desk are instantly swept into my mouth. Now that I am looking around at my desk and am discovering all kinds of things that I didn’t realize were here, I am hoping that an overlooked old chocolate will suddenly appear. I see that underneath a pile of old bills and other papers that need filing (oh, and a letter saying that one of the kids’ library books is 23 days overdue! What?!), I actually have a printout of the manuscript for the second Real McCoys book (affectionately known as “Moxie 2”). Finally, something relevant to my current work!
Matthew: No such luck over here. Though I DO have the box from our publisher containing the engraved magnifying glass they got us as a Real McCoys pub day present. It’s pretty sweet.
Robbi: Yes. It is super awesome. Our publisher is very good to us.
Matthew: I’m not sure whether this exercise is interesting or not. I feel like this was supposed to be more “tools of the trade” than “various pieces of crap you’ve left lying around.” So, in the interest of “tools of the trade,” I’ll say I have a printer on my desk. A tired old Brother printer that leaves a solid black streak along the left-hand side of every page.
Robbi: Are you suggesting that the black streak is critical to your process?
Matthew: No. But it makes all my manuscripts “charmingly unique.”
Robbi: Hm… I’m seriously looking around here and I don’t see ANYTHING that is “tools of the trade.” Oh wait! I have a mug with various writing implements in it. Mostly my very favorite Uni-ball Vision Elite pens (black, blue black, red and orange) and two nib pens (Speedball 101 Imperial Nib and 103 Mapping nib). Alas, I have not used those nib pens in quite a while, since I’ve been working on Moxie 2 pretty much exclusively on my tablet for the last VERY LONG STRETCH OF WEEKS AND MONTHS. Oh, I also have a little notebook I made for myself that is a daily calendar of stuff I need to do. I write down each page of Moxie 2 that I’ve finished and how long it took me to do. That’s what the Uni-ball pens are for these days.
Matthew: I also have a mug full of pens! I don’t really know why, though, because I hardly ever use actual pens.
Robbi: You do have atrocious handwriting.
Matthew: Well I also type a lot faster than I ever could write longhand.
Robbi: I know! Fast typing is something I admire about you!
Matthew: Well that seems like a good place to stop.
Robbi: What, on an actual compliment?
Matthew: Yes. You give them out so rarely.
Robbi: I know. Which is why I feel like it’s totally out of keeping to end on a compliment.
Matthew: Oh, wait! Behind my printer, I just found a 1oz bottle of Oceans Alive Raw Phytoplankton for Energy and Focus. At Robbi’s recommendation, I put three drops of it under my mouth once a day for three weeks. It was supposed to make me feel like a man of twenty.
Robbi: Did it work?
Matthew: It made me feel like a man of 42 who had recently licked a sea cucumber.
Robbi: Which feels like a far more appropriate way to end this post.
Photo Content from Matthew Swanson ans Robbi Behr
– 20 Winners will receive a Copy of THE REAL MCCOYS by Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr.