My Dog is the Best
by Laurie Ann Thompson; Illustrated by Paul Schmid
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (June 9, 2015)
Fiction * Pets * Dogs
Audience: Ages 3 to 6
IndieBound | WorldCat | GoodReads
Sneak Peak at the Book, click here.
Thank you Laurie Thompson for stopping by and chatting with us about your new book, MY DOG IS THE BEST. Of course, I think that my cats are the best, but if you are going to have a book about dogs, this is certainly adorable. I look forward to sharing it with friends and kids.
My Dog is the Best is your latest book. It's really different from your two previous releases (Be a Changemaker and Emmanuel's Dream). What led you to write MY DOG IS THE BEST?
In 2009, I took a course on writing easy readers from Anastasia Suen. I wrote MY DOG IS THE BEST as the final homework assignment. I wanted to write something that had mostly simple vocabulary and repetition, but that also had humor, heart, and was something most kids would be able to relate to on some level. At around the same time, I’d noticed that I usually told my dog, “Good dog!” just as she was curling up to go to sleep. (She had been a hyper puppy, so it was still a relief to see her relax.) She always gave me this bewildered look. I thought it was funny that my idea of “Good dog!” was the exact opposite of hers and vice versa (and the same often applies to young children and their parents), so that’s where I started for the assignment.
Recently, I was talking with another author about the importance of teaching children to read both text and illustrations. In MY DOG, though simple text, the illustrations tell a slightly different story. Was this intentional on your part or did you and Paul Schmid collaborate on this or did Paul just have fun with the text?
It was totally intentional on my part: that’s where the humor comes in! Surprisingly, though, Paul did not know that when he read the text, because all the illustrator notes had been removed. He read my mind and drew exactly what I’d been picturing (only much, much cuter!). I couldn’t believe it. He even got the surprise twist at the end. We did get to collaborate a bit during revisions, since we just happen to live near each other and were already friends. That was an amazing experience, and I love what it brought to the book!
Are there any other projects that you are working on that you can tell us about? Any new nonfiction projects?
My next project is a middle-grade series I’m co-authoring with my agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette, for Walden Pond Press. It’s called Two Truths and a Lie. I guess you could call it a hybrid, because every chapter has three stories—two are true and one is a hoax. We challenge the reader to try to spot the fake… and it is not easy! The first volume is scheduled to come out in 2017.
I’m also working on proposals for another MG nonfiction and a co-authored YA memoir, and I’m revising several picture books (mostly nonfiction) that are oh-so-close to being ready.
What is your writing routine like and do you have anywhere special that you like to write? (picture of work area is always welcome)
I’m not a morning person, so I do the reverse of what most productivity gurus (and successful authors) recommend. I can’t write first thing in the morning. I do less intense tasks like email and social media in the morning while I drink my coffee. Then I start writing later in the day once I’ve had a chance to wake up. My productivity is highest in the afternoon, so I try to set those hours aside for writing or revising.
I am supposed to be working at my treadmill desk: it’s great exercise, helps my neck and back stay happy, has a super workstation setup, and actually boosts my creativity and productivity by keeping me moving. My assistant hates when I do that, however, so all too often she persuades me to sit on the big comfy couch in the sunroom with her instead.
What has been your favorite letter/email or question from a child or teen?
For Be a Changemaker, I received this note from a teacher: “I saw a student and his family today at student-led conferences. His mother thanked me profusely for showing him the book and said it was exactly what he's been looking for and that it changed his life.”
And, I’ve gotten two reviews for Emmanuel’s Dream that will always stand out for me, both from girls with limb differences:
Jordan wrote, “I think Emmanuel is a great example for me. The story literally is saying you can do anything as long as you try. The story makes me feel strong… that just makes me feel happy.”
And Keegan wrote, “I like seeing people that are similar to me in books because it’s like I know what they’re going through because I’ve gone through it myself. I’ve had people stare at me, laugh at me and whisper about me, loud or quiet. And Emmanuel stood up for us all, the disabled people, and I feel proud that I’m alive and going on healthy. I think that all of the other disabled people should, too.”
All three of those literally brought tears to my eyes. There’s nothing better than finding out your book connected with a reader in a meaningful way.
Since summer is my favorite time to catch up on reading, I love finding out what books are on other people's reading lists. Any fun beach reads on your list or other titles?
One of my new favorite-books-of-all-time is The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough. You must read it this summer! It’s not a lighthearted romp, but it’s beautiful and gripping and unforgettable. Two others that I loved recently are Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy by Susan Vaught and Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel by Megan Morrison. Both of those two are a nice mix of adventure, humor, and seriousness. And I’m just finishing Arin Andrews’ Some Assembly Required, which is quite timely right now and I highly recommend.
As far as what’s on my to-read list for the summer, I’m really looking forward to book 2 of the Talker 25 series, Invisible Monsters by Joshua McCune (also not a lighthearted romp, I’m sure--the first was so gritty and thought-provoking!). I also can’t wait to read Jennifer Bertman’s Book Scavenger, Kelly Jones’ Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, and Cynthia Levinson’s Watch Out for Flying Kids! How Two Circuses, Two Countries, and Nine Kids Confront Conflict and Build Community.
About the author:
Laurie Ann Thompson's other books include Be a Changemaker and Emmanuel's Dream. From the day she was born, many of her best friends have had four legs and fur. She now lives with her husband, two children, a grouchy cat, and a disabled dog in the Pacific Northwest. Visit her website or follow her on Twitter at @lauriethompson.
To check all of the stops on the blog tour, see the schedule below:
6/6/15 Booking Mama
6/8/15 Jean Reidy
6/9/15 Watch. Connect. Read.
6/10/15 5 Minutes for Books
6/11/15 Kid Lit Frenzy
6/12/15 Unleashing Readers
6/16/15 Anastasia Suen: Booktalking #kidlit
6/19/15 Kirby's Lane
7/1/15 Library Lions
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