Monday, June 18, 2012

Fido and Friend in Five: Jackie Davies and Harley!

Jacqueline Davies
So about a month ago, I'm on the phone with my lovely agent talking about the first draft of my work in progress. Oh, the work had much to be admired ("admired"?), my agent said. And the writing was absolutely glorious. But there was, she said in her New-York-gentle-way, some emotional element missing. She kept referring to this book, The Lemonade War, that "just got it right." "Oh, it's a wonderful book," she enthused. "I just love that book!" Jealousy reared its ugly head. Could it really be that good? Grudgingly, I checked the audiobook of Jackie Davie's Lemonade War out from my library to listen to. I figured it probably wasn't that good, but it would make my agent happy if I read it.

I am here (quite humbly) today to tell you it was that good. And yes, I ended up loving the book as well. The Lemonade War is about Evan Treski, who is "people smart," and his younger sister, Jessie, who is math smart. Decoding other people's emotions is her weakest subject. Just a week before school starts, a rift develops between Evan and Jessie. An all-out war ensues to see who can make the most money selling at a lemonade stand in just five days. With a light touch, Davies turns a typical brother- sister rivalry story into a poignant exploration of the complexities of emotion, change, and that sibling bond. There's a good reason The Lemonade War has either won or been nominated for just about every state's children's book award out there! Thankfully, Jackie continued Evan and Jessie's story in The Lemonade Thief and the latest edition to the trilogy, The Bell Bandit. She's also written five other novels and picture books.

And not only was the book every bit as great as my agent said it was, Jackie is a dog mom too! Let's meet this talented author and her lovely lab, Harley, in today's Fido and Friend in Five:

 1. How did you and Harley find each other?

Take me home!
Harley was born one of nine puppies on a lovely farm in Southern New Hampshire on September 11, 2003. When it was my turn to choose from the litter, there were just two puppies left, both of them female. One was clearly an Alpha—very outgoing, energetic, fearless, funny. The other dog was shy at first. She stayed in her quiet corner, only venturing out to the center of the pen when the more rambunctious puppy settled down. Then she cuddled up to me. Here was a dog who was looking for a quiet life with lots of love. That’s the dog I took home.

2. What makes Harley's tail wag?
People! Other dogs! She is the most endlessly sociable dog you’ve ever met. Her perpetual goal: to earn a tummy rub. She’ll do anything for you if you scratch her belly.

3. What's your all-time favorite dog story/novel?
Hands down: Bark, George by Jules Feiffer. It’s a hilarious picture book with outrageous pictures and a surprise plot twist at the end. I use this book in my graduate level classes to explore the relationship between text and illustration in children’s books.

4. If Harley could change just one thing about you, what would it be?
Harley's fav. spot

Oh, she’d like me to be much less busy so that I could devote all my time to rubbing her stomach. She probably also wishes I weren’t so allergic to poison ivy so that we could visit her favorite wooded dog park in the summer time. (It’s filled with poison ivy, so we avoid it from May to September.) Other than that, she’s a very forgiving and accepting dog. I wish I could be as non-judgmental as she is.

5. In five words, tell us what Harley means to you (and it can be a 5-word sentence):
Harley makes me laugh daily.

Thanks so much to Jackie and Harley for visiting with Fido and Friend in Five! Be sure to check out Jackie's website for all the latest on her books, her awards, and her writing life. 

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