Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fido and Friend in Five: Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen, Pua, and Leilani!

Stephanie & Leilani
Like many states, Utah has an annual children's book award contest called the "Beehive Award." Every year, teen novels, middle grade novels, picture books, poetry and non-fiction books are voted on by the kids of Utah to select the best one in each category. One of the picture books this year is a charming, funny, delicious picture book called A Small Brown Dog with a Wet Pink Nose, by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen. In this utterly wonderful story, a very clever young girl named Amelia needs a dog in her life in the worst way--a small brown dog with a wet pink nose. Her parents do not agree. Now, there's a plethora of picture books out there about kids trying to convince their parents they need a dog. This is not a new plot by any stretch of the imagination. What is so wonderfully fresh about Stephanie's tale is how Amelia goes about convincing her parents. No tantrums for Amelia. She's much smarter than that.

Stephanie is a multi-multi award-winning author. Her teen novel, The Gardner, was named a Best Summer Read by "Good Morning America." Her picture book, Elizabeti's Doll, won the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award among many other awards, and her other teen novel, The Compound, won the Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award and was nominated for many other awards.

Of course, when I saw Stephanie's photo on the back jacket flap of A Small Brown Dog with a Wet Pink Nose, and she had her arms around a very handsome lab, I had to write to her. Turns out she shares her life with two dogs, Leilani and Pua. Let's get to know this trio in this week's Fido and Friend in Five!

1. How did you and your dogs find each other?  Christmas 2005, my husband got them for our girls. We had just opened presents and my youngest was so mad she didn't get a hamster. We made the girls close their eyes and sit on the couch, then we set a puppy in each of their laps. My oldest shrieked, which scared the puppy in her lap, so it peed all over her! Merry Christmas :)

Leilani and pool
2. What makes Leilani and Pua's tails wag?  Leilani, the chocolate lab (in the author photo I saw) loves her kiddie pool. She stands in it for hours and digs. Pua, the yellow lab, is obsessed with fetching. We're on our second tennis ball thrower of the year, because she wears it (and us) out. She's into frisbee lately, and she carries it everywhere, just in case. And they freak out when I pick up the leashes, because they love walks. I take them two miles every morning.

3. What's your all-time favorite dog story?  Has to be Where the Red Fern Grows. 

4. If your dogs could change just one thing about you, what would it be?  Not being late with their meals sometimes...

5. In five words, tell us what Leilani and Pua mean to you:  They are my daily constant.

Boy, that's something all writers need! Thanks so much to Stephanie, Leilani, and Pua for taking a break from writing, ball chasing, eating, and kiddie pool playing to be in today's Fido and Friend spotlight. Be sure to visit Stephanie's website to find out more about her books and read her blog.

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