Join Mike Nawrocki (co-creator of VeggieTales) and Josh Olds as they sit down for a discussion of Nawrocki’s new and upcoming projects, from the latest books in the Dead Sea Squirrels to brand new VeggieTales episodes to a podcast meant to teach the Bible to kids. So whether you need a TV show, podcast, or a book to aid in your child’s entertainment and spiritual education, Mike has got you covered!
The Interview | Serious Conversations with Josh: The Part of the Show Where Josh Comes Out and Interviews Mike Nawrocki
This excerpt has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity. You can listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above or subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Josh Olds: I posted on Facebook yesterday that I would be interviewing you and asked some of our listeners if they had any questions. So some guest questions before you go: This first question actually comes from my wife, so you can ignore it if you want to. But she asked “If your lips move to Duluth left a mess and took your tooth, what would you do?”
Mike Nawrocki: I’d be so sad. I’d call my dad. That’s what I’d do.
Josh Olds: Asha asks what’s the funniest thing that a kid has ever said or done to you?
Mike Nawrocki: Oh man. Oh, boy. That is…that’s really hard to pin down…You know, all I think about what the first thing that comes to my mind is parents of really young children being very excited when they meet me in person to have me do the Larry voice for their child. And it’s funny for everybody else except for the child because the child is terrified [in Larry the Cucumber’s voice] “Hey, how you doing, buddy?” They typically will cower in fear like “Who is this man? Why did you eat Larry?”
And I speak to college chapels and all that kind of stuff. I always lead with my Larry voice. College kids in this day, many of them grew up on VeggieTales. It’s been part of their childhood. So, it always gets a really great reaction. And, you know, another thought that I just had too…I remember visiting my brother’s church, and a couple came up to me. They were trying to potty train their child and was wondering if Larry could give them some encouragement. And so I actually did that. I think I recorded a message or something to keep the illusion up. But then I heard later that, yes, they took Larry’s advice and, you know, stayed on the potty like they were supposed to. So, got that going for me.
Josh Olds: And now for The Dead Sea Squirrels. Give me sort of the elevator pitch.
Mike Nawrocki: Within each book, there’s a biblical principle and each book starts with a key biblical verse that’s reflected in the theme of the story. So the first book is obeying your parents and Michael, who’s not supposed to go into this cave, ends up doing it anyway and gets himself in a bunch of trouble doing that.
And it just reflects that theme of why we should listen to our parents and obey our parents. Each book has a chapter called Squirrels’ IQ, where Merle and Pearl remember back to the first century and how what Michael is going through has an answer in the teachings of Jesus, or the apostles. So, you know, loving your enemy or treating others like you want to be treated. They’ll remember the Sermon on the Mount and how Jesus taught that and how that applies to their lives today. So each individual book has a specific theme, much like VeggieTales, in that sense to teach to teach a lesson through a story.
The Books | The Dead Sea Squirrels
The Dead Sea Squirrels: Ten-year-old Michael and his friend Justin sneak into the Dead Sea caves near the archaeological dig where Michael’s dad is working. Michael finds two 2,000-year-old squirrels petrified in sea salt. Hijinks ensue as Michael tries to bring them back to the U. S., hidden in his backpack. What Michael thinks are just cool souvenirs may turn out to be something much more! The Dead Sea Squirrels series is humorous, fun, and filled with character-building lessons.
Tree-mendous Trouble: Fancy costumes, an upgraded hamster house, and a dinner invitation? Sounds like Merle and Pearl are really coming up in the world now that they’re settling into the 21st century. But maybe this invitation to share acorns with new friends isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s another hilarious adventure with Merle and Pearl as they learn that kindness counts, even when you’re facing your biggest (and fluffiest) nemesis.
Whirley Squirrelies: What do homework, Michael’s new favorite video game, and a pair of drones have in common? They’re all competing for the gang’s attention. Join Michael, Merle, and Pearl for some high-flying adventures as they learn that self-control might save your grades . . . and your friends.
The Show | The VeggieTales Show
The VeggieTales Show: This new show, featuring the original animation style, focuses on the VeggieTales characters putting on Broadway-style shows in Mr. Nezzer’s theater that retell Bible stories and parody mainstream pop-culture. Most of the new episodes act out stories and lessons from the Bible. The show includes a nine-episode series about the fruit of the Spirit. There are also new adventures with LarryBoy and the League of Incredible Vegetables. New episodes air monthly on Yippee! a streaming service owned by TBN.
The Podcast | The Bible For Kids
The Bible for Kids Podcast: If you have a child in your life that you want to pass along biblical values to, this podcast is for you. Hosted by best-selling author Amy Parker and author and co-creator of VeggieTales Mike Nawrocki, The Bible for Kids podcast seeks to provide a discovery platform for the best resources for teaching biblical values to kids. Guests include authors, teachers, musicians, film makers and more. The Bible for Kids podcast is produced by Dan Lynch for Brentwood Studios.
The Guy Behind It All | Mike Nawrocki
As co-creator of VeggieTales, co-founder of Big Idea Entertainment, and the voice of the beloved Larry the Cucumber, Mike Nawrocki has been dedicated to helping parents pass on biblical values to their kids through storytelling for over two decades. Mike currently serves as Assistant Professor of Film and Animation at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennesee, and makes his home in nearby Franklin with his wife, Lisa, and their two children.