April 12, 2016

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Laura's Bookshelf: FENWAY AND HATTIE

Happy Poetry Friday and Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!

Ring in the winter holiday season
with your poetry friends!
Irene Latham is hosting
this week's poetry links
at Live Your Poem.
One of the biggest gifts my family received this year was this guy:

I stopped by a local animal shelter on a whim, told someone I was looking for a mellow older dog to be a companion for our Schnauzer Sam, and was quickly matched with an overweight, "can I go back to sleep yet?" Beagle mix. Introductions were made. When I brought Rudy home to my husband – Happy Anniversary and surprise! here is the dog I wanted -- he had bald spots on his tail, a gash on his ear, parasites in his lungs, and 20 pounds to lose. 

Rudy is as mellow and companionable as advertised. The parasites are gone, but his snores still shake the walls. We all laugh at his antics, especially the time this now-50-pound dog (he’s down about 10) decided to take over little Sam’s bed.

Since I am now the dog mama of two goofy boys, I couldn’t wait to read FENWAY AND HATTIE.

One of the best parts about being a debut novelist has been connecting with other children's and YA authors in the class of 2016. FENWAY AND HATTIE, by Victoria J. Coe, is one of the Advanced Reader’s Copies (ARCs) making the rounds of my author group.

This super cute early middle grade novel is told in the voice of a young Jack Russell Terrier named Fenway. Fenway is devoted to his girl, Hattie. It’s his job to protect Hattie and her family from intruders, like the ones who arrive one day and TAKE ALL THEIR STUFF! Is it a robbery? Only in Fenway’s doggie mind. In actuality, the family is moving from the city to the suburbs.

Fenway sees Hattie through a somewhat rocky adjustment to her new neighborhood. He’s got his own adjustments to make. Exuberant Fenway begins training, and has to learn that Hattie is not just his loving human, but also the One in Charge. (I feel your frustration, Hattie. I’ve learned from our Sam that terrier breeds have BIG personalities.)

Fenway and Hattie both begin making the transition to adolescence in the pages of this funny book. Just as Hattie must practice to control her throwing arm --she hopes to play baseball--, Fenway must practice to control his fear of THE WICKED FLOOR. (Sam feels your pain, Fenway. Slippery floors are no fun. When your front legs are running and your back legs are suddenly skittering off in another direction? The indignity!)

Find it on Indiebound.

FENWAY AND HATTIE debuts in February. Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

This lovable new series introduces a little dog with a GIANT personality! 

Fenway is an excitable and endlessly energetic Jack Russell terrier. He lives in the city with Food Lady, Fetch Man, and—of course—his beloved short human and best-friend-in-the-world, Hattie. 

But when his family moves to the suburbs, Fenway faces a world of changes. He’s pretty pleased with the huge Dog Park behind his new home, but he’s not so happy about the Evil Squirrels that taunt him from the trees, the super-slippery Wicked Floor in the Eating Room, and the changes that have come over Hattie lately. Rather than playing with Fenway, she seems more interested in her new short human friend, Angel, and learning to play baseball. His friends in the Dog Park next door say Hattie is outgrowing him, but that can’t be right. And he’s going to prove it!

Get a dog’s-eye view of the world in this heartwarming, enthusiastic “tail” about two best friends.

FENWAY AND HATTIE is a middle grade novel, appropriate for second grade and up (younger as a read aloud).

Who will like it?
·                     Animal lovers and pet owners.
·                     Kids who think physical comedy is hysterical.
·                     Readers who are learning how to handle transitions

What will readers learn about?
·                     What it’s like to view the world from a dog’s-eye-view. 
·                     It takes time to adjust to change, whether you are a person or a dog.

The poem I’m pairing with FENWAY AND HATTIE is a dog’s-eye-view poem by my friend, Michael Salcman. It comes from his book THE ENEMY OF GOOD IS BETTER. In addition to being a poet and neurosurgeon, Michael is an art critic and collector. This wonderful ekphrastic poem was written in response to a painting by Henri Matisse.

Read about this painting at
the Baltimore Museum of Art's blog.
The Dog Speaks
                   --Interior with Dog (Matisse), 1934
By Michael Salcman

I’m only half-asleep so I know you’re standing there
Wondering if I’m asleep. Nope.
It’s not easy to rest under this table—
For one thing, there’s a strong downward slope
And gravity’s got me half tipped out of my basket
Like an apple by Cezanne.
Talk about a flat world!
For another, I can’t get way from these colors
The red floor tiles, orange table leg
And pink wall burning on my lids like the sun.
Then again I’m never alone; the kids think a gray dog is cute
And I’m the only dog in the room. I was bribed
(that’s my excuse) with a bone
And a bowl of fresh water. Really,
I wish you wouldn’t stare—it’s extra hard to be an icon
When you’re not an odalisque and have no hair.
Here’s the inside dope, he wore a vest when he painted them
But saved his housecoat for me. I liked sitting for him,
He was never rude and spared me his violin.
I think I look very dignified, not naked, just nude.

Merry Christmas from Rudy, Sam, and me!


Irene Latham said...

Oh my goodness, Rudy and Sam are adorable! And the book just sounds like a delight. I am a big fan of books told in the animal's voice, so I am excited to meet Fenway. Glad to hear it's to be a series! Thank you, Laura, for sharing... and the poem is fun, too. Of course the dog isn't sleeping. :)

Carol Varsalona said...

What a delightful poem you featured, Irene. Your dog's are quite the duo. Enjoy your holidays.

Tabatha said...

Hope you have been having a nice time with everyone home! Our holiday has been great. Your dogs are adorable. Love the poem you wrote for Irene, by the way! :-)

jan godown annino said...

Such a sweet sofa reading photo of you with Sam + Rudy, Laura.

Appreciations for a personable MG debut novel alert to FENWAY and HATTE.
It sounds like fun.
(Ginger, here, our male cat, agrees with your canine guys that slippery floors can be dangerous.)

And thank you for your tucking in, a title/poet new to me.

Thanks for all your help this year, Merry Christmastime + Vibrant New Year 2016!

(p.s. In January please expect to receive postal mail from me...)