Fenway and Hattie

Dog Adventures to the Max!

Author, Victoria J. Coe, has created a canine main character with wonderful charm. Fenway is a Jack Russell terrier who adores his short human, Hattie.

Things seem to be going well in this dog’s life, when suddenly he and his human family are uprooted from the familiar city to the suburbs. Fenway faces the supremely slick Wicked Floor (where his food bowl resides) and too many bad squirrel dreams, all while trying to keep Hattie happy. But Hattie is lured away from her best bud by a neighbor girl with a baseball mitt. Hattie’s snuggles are few and far between.

Can Fenway master his obedience class? Can you he overcome the Wicked Floor? Can he regain Hattie’s companionship? A laugh-out-loud “tail” with an adorable furry hero! Don’t miss out on these doggone great adventures.

Spanish Summer Language Fun

May is speeding by. Soon summer will be here and school vacation. 

What a perfect time to relax in the shade and read some new stories.
Or try a new language.
Look at the photo of Holly my dog enjoying Cinco de Mayo earlier this month.
What fun it would be to write a story about Holly dancing the day away! You could include some Spanish words into your story.
Do you know the Spanish word for dog?

The dog danced the day away = Baila el perro el dia fuera.

The sentence is arranged a little differently in Spanish with “danced” (baila) coming in front of “the dog” (el perro).
Can you find the words for “the day”?
Right! el dia
And that means fuera is the word for “away.”
Try this free online English to Spanish translation site.
Type in a word or a sentence. The translator will transform your sentence for you.
Can you translate this sentence yourself?
El perro es blanco.

You already know what el perro means from above.
Change the “e” to an “i” in es and you’ll have the translation for this word.
And your final clue: blanco is the Spanish word for the color of Holly’s fur.
Hasta la vista!

Children’s Book Week

Sorry it’s halfway through the week already before I had the chance to remind you about CHILDREN’S BOOK WEEK. Click on the link and you’ll find a great bookmark you can print. 

Since 1919, Children’s Book Week has been celebrated in the United States. Schools, libraries, publishers, bookstores and of course, children enjoy this special week, highlighting books and reading.
Click here if you want to help choose the next Children’s Choice Book Awards
or here to see the 2008 winners’ list.
What great children’s books have I been reading this week?
The title says it all for this poetry how-to book. Discover your inner poet when you take this book out for a spin.
These poems are totally out-of-sight! The author shares some star-worthy poems and gives insight into poetry lingo.
When is a poem also a picture? If you don’t know, you’ll want to dive into this whirl of words.
HOW TO TALK TO YOUR DOG by Jean Craighead George
The author explains dog walk, talk, and body language. You’ll decipher your dog’s messages in a flash. Fun and informative.
HERO CAT by Eileen Spinelli
Don’t miss this sweet picture book highlighting a mother cat’s heroic efforts to save her young kittens from a fire. This book is based on a true story. Both the artwork and writing are wonderful.
OK. Now it’s YOUR turn. What incredible children’s books have you been reading???

Snow Fun in Birmingham

Winter seems to be refusing to let go this year. It recently dealt an icy hand across much of the United States, even down into the South. My brother & sister-in-law, James and Lauri, live in Birmingham, Alabama–which rarely sees snow. But last week they received enough to play in for a short while.

Here are photos of their dog Mandy learning how to roll snowballs and the spirited snowman they all made.
If your area wasn’t dusted with any of the white stuff and you’d like to play with some snowflakes, you can make some of your own. Click on this link from my website to learn how to make paper snowflakes. And when you’re finished, here’s a list of snowy reads.

Acrostic Poetry for Cold Dogs and Hot Dogs

Holly, my dog, says it’s cold outside, so she’d rather stay inside.

A fun inside activity is writing ACROSTIC poems. They’re a breeze–and not an icy, cold breeze either.
Start with an easy acrostic using your first name. Write the letters vertically, one underneath the other. Here’s how Holly’s name would look:
Now, use each letter as the first letter for that line. Since we’re using Holly’s name, we’ll make the poem about her.
Happy all the time
Often takes naps
Likes to explore
Loves to eat treats
Yip-yaps at birds and squirrels
If you want a challenge, make the lines work together–like a mini-story.
Happy dogs, like Holly,
Often give other pets and people
Lots of slobbery
Licks–which are really doggie kisses–and they aren’t
Yucky at all!
And if you want a super-duper challenge, expand your ACROSTIC to more than one word. Try telling your poetic story using these words:



Have fun and stay warm!
For more adventures with pets, visit Mayra Calvani’s new blog:

Characters in Real Life and Fiction

Today over at the KIDLIT CENTRAL blog I’ve posted an entry about “Characters & Perspective.” I take a couple of my characters along for an airplane ride. Monsters don’t necessarily travel well.

Where do authors get ideas for their fictional characters? From real life, of course. We mix and match and makeup stuff as we go along to create just the right characters for each story. 
But when an author like me knows such a vibrant real life character like Lucy– the Glamour Dog, then I  don’t have to add much fictional flair to fashion a fun character. 
Take a look at this picture of Lucy after she decided to try Pink Bubble Gum lip gloss.
She’s dog-gone adorable!

K9 Splash

Dogs galore raced to our local public pool today for their chance to enjoy the water and each other’s company. My dog Holly (the cute white one, of course) is not too much of a water sport, but she does like to hang out with her canine friends. Although Holly was one of the smaller pooches at the pool, she mingled with the big and furry guys pretty well. After an initial period of scoping out the entire area–including the marked off kiddie playground whose barricades were much too high to keep out a short schnoodle, Holly ran circles around some of the large dogs. You can see how fast she is. I couldn’t keep her in my camera shots.
What a great way to close down the pool for the summer! Going to the dogs isn’t always such a bad thing.
If you’d like to share in another doggie adventure, you can find Bubba–from DOGGIE DAY CAMP–and me this Saturday at Fenton, Missouri for Founders Day. I will be joining other local authors at the Fenton Historical Society and Museum from 2-3:30 (#1 Church Street). I’m sure it will be a splashing fun day too.


Another 2 paws up review!
Wayne S. Walker, a reviewer at Stories for Children Magazine, gave DOGGIE DAY CAMP: VERB AND ADVERB ADVENTURES a wonderful evaluation:
Bubba the dog is attending his first day at doggie day camp, but he is shy. However, he slowly becomes interested and makes new friends as he engages in the various activities. In addition, he helps to teach readers (or listeners) about verbs and adverbs as well. This book is one of the pet grammar parade series. What a unique idea! As a book reviewer who has had to wade through some really bad grammar because many authors (and apparently some editors) do not know the ins and outs of the English language, I firmly believe that children need to be taught proper English grammar.

Studies show that beginning formal grammar studies for students under third or fourth grade can be counterproductive, but grammar concepts can still be gradually introduced to younger children if done gently. Story books such as this are a wonderful way to do so. There is an introduction that explains what verbs and adverbs are. At the end, there is a study guide that gives further information about verbs and adverbs and contains several fun activities for children that will help to reinforce what they have learned. I would hope that books like this will find a ready audience. They are sorely needed! I really like this idea.

Thank you, Mr. Walker! Bubba and I greatly appreciate your kind words in praise of DOGGIE DAY CAMP. To read more reviews, click here.

And remember, this Saturday morning (August 23) Bubba and I will be at the Leawood, Kansas Barnes and Noble store at 11:00 for storytime. I hope to see some of you there.


Teachers agree: Bubba the dog helps primary grade students learn English grammar.
“Adorable story and illustrations,” said one experienced teacher, and so it is. But shy Bubba —who looks a lot like a schnoodle—also conveys information to beginning readers.
As part of author Cynthia Reeg’s Pet Grammar Parade Series, he discovers verbs and adverbs at doggie day camp, as well as new friends and activities.
Children who have recently started school and often attend day camps during the summer should have no trouble identifying with Bubba, and primary teachers will welcome a warm and funny way to begin study of grammar.

Lee Braff
Editor, HeartLand Boating, and children’s writer

Museum of the Dog Visit

On Sunday, I did have the wonderful opportunity to visit the Museum of the Dog. Originally, the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog was located in New York City. But by 1981, the Museum had already become too large for its location.

In 1987, the Jarville House in Queeny Park (St. Louis, Missouri) became the new home for the Museum. The Jarville House’s history dates back to 1853 when John Renard, an early settler, built the home for his second wife. The red brick house is an example of Greek Revival architecture–one of the few remaining “outstanding examples” in the St. Louis area.

In 1989 a 14,000 square foot addition was constructed for the Museum, and the original carriage house was converted to the gift shop and offices. The completed Museum with its permanent collection formally opened in November 1990. It boasts “the country’s largest collection of art, artifacts, and literature on man’s best friend.”

Some top-notch dogs are pictured at the Museum. Here are two: Barney & Miss Beazley, in the White House International Diplomats’ Reception Room (by Constance Coleman, 2005)
This portrait shows none other than President George W. and Laura Bush’s dogs.