Ignatius McFarland: Frequenaut!

Kid Reporter Mariam El Hasan sits down with multi-talented author Paul Feig

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8

Sometimes, it seems like grown-ups just don't understand what it's like to be a kid. It's true that they were kids before, but they have forgotten. Somehow they just don't remember how funny it is when someone burps out loud in class. Any kid can tell you that is comedy at its best.

But Paul Feig remembers what it's like to be a kid.  He is the author of the imaginative new science fiction book Ignatius McFarland: Frequenaut!

Ignatius McFarland is a book about an awkward 12-year-old boy, who doesn't have many friends. Even though Iggy doesn't bother anyone, the kids at his school are really mean to him, and nicknamed him "Piggy McFartland."

Throughout his life, he's always felt out of place, even when he's with his two best friends. Other kids treated him like he was from outer space. So he decided to go there. That's just when all his adventures begin.

I talked with the author about how he relates to Iggy. Feig said that when he was younger, he felt out of place just like his book's main character.

"I used to look out a telescope at night to look for UFOs," he said. Feig said he daydreamed about aliens coming to take him away just like he had seen in the movie Close Encounters.

Feig didn't really believe that aliens existed; he was just having fun with his imagination. But Iggy believes aliens are real and that they would understand him.

Iggy manages to travel to a different frequency, not a different planet, and that is why he is a "frequenaut" and not an astronaut.  Feig was inspired to write about traveling to a different frequency because he liked the thought that we're here on Earth, but there's a different frequency exactly where we are standing.

In other words, he wanted to create a completely different type of life within the same world.

Feig has lots of careers: in addition to being a writer, he's an actor, a television producer, and a director. A lot of his artistic creations thought are all about the lives of nice kids who are just different from others. He even produced a popular television show called Freaks and Geeks.

He can't make up his mind as to whether he likes writing or directing and producing more.  Feig says when he finishes one of his television projects, he likes to recharge his batteries by writing another book.

It's hard to believe that when he was a kid, Feig didn't like to read books. Comics like Charlie Brown Garfield were the only reading that could keep his attention. But when he got older, things started to change.

"When I got to college, I realized that I had missed out on so much," he said. "So, I started reading more, and pretty soon, I loved to read anything I could find."

The next book in the Ignatius McFarland series will be released in spring of 2010. The first one is like candy for your brain and second one is bound to be just as sweet. Feig may write books about life as a geek, but he's actually a pretty cool guy!

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The Scholastic Kids Press Corps is a team of 32 student reporters who report "news for kids, by kids." Sports, politics, and entertainment are among the topics they cover.