Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fido and Friend in Five: Cynthia Lord and Milo!

Cynthia and RULES
In 2006, a new name and extraordinary talent burst on the children's book scene when Cynthia Lord published her first book, Rules. This beautiful, heart-wrenching and heart-warming story of a young girl and her autistic brother went on to win the coveted Newbery Honor award, the Schneider Family Book Award and just about every state's children's book award there is. I must say, it's got to be hard to start out with a debut book that garners that much acclaim. Where's an author to go from there with their next book? Obviously, Cynthia was undaunted because in 2010 she gave us another splendid story in Touch Blue, which of course, went on to win a bucket full of awards. She's also the author of the hilarious picture books, Hot Rod Hamster and Happy Birthday, Hamster. 

Cynthia and I became friends on FaceBook about seven or so months ago. I was so excited when, on occasion, she'd talk about her little dog, Milo, and post photos of the cute little fluff ball. So, of course, I started "hounding" her on FaceBook to be on Fido and Friend in Five. Cynthia is a busy, busy lady so it took a while for her to have time to sit down with Milo and answer The Five Questions. But being the generous person that she is, she did! And so it is with a great deal of pleasure and honor, I give you in today's Fido and Friend spotlight Milo and his Girl Cynthia:

1. How did you and Milo find each other?  Our dog before Milo was named Flurry. He was a lovely, gentle Bichon Frise, but he became diabetic and eventually was so sick that we had to have him put to sleep. So we had our hearts broken in June of 2007, just a week or two before I had to get on a plane and go to ALA to accept a Newbery Honor and Schneider Family Book Award for Rules. When I came back home, our house felt hollow without Flurry. A dog is so "present" in our households--our days are marked by feeding them, letting them in and out, making room for them beside us, etc.  I was reminded of Flurry a hundred times a day that summer, and it was like losing him again, in little pieces. In August, I said something to my husband about that loss, and he said, "Well, maybe we're just dog people."

Who could resist?!
In Maine there's a little magazine and online site where people offer things for sale. It's called "Uncle Henry's", and I looked on line at photos of puppies. Milo was in a litter of Maltese-Pomeranian mix puppies at a breeder three hours away from us. I fell in love with his little face. My husband was hoping for a more "manly" dog this time, but I showed him Milo's photo and said I wanted to just go "look." My husband rolled his eyes and told me to be sure to bring everything I needed to drive home with a puppy (smart man).

2. What makes Milo's tail wag?  Milo loves his people. I do a lot of school visits, and I have a daughter in college. When Milo sees us come home after being away, he stands completely still, like he can't quite believe his eyes. Then we say his name and he turns into 7 pounds of of wiggly-waggly joy! He just explodes into action--he'll hop into our lap and then hop off and grab a toy and then lick us's like he's trying to cram everything we've missed together in five minutes. 

Mom's book is Milo's fav
He also likes cheese, cuddling up next to us, and his stuffed toys (sheep being his favorite!). If I want him to drop something he isn't supposed to have, I pick up one of his toys and pretend I'm playing with it. He can't stand it! He'll drop everything to get it back.

3. What's your all-time favorite dog story?  When I was in third grade, my teacher read to us aloud Hurry Home, Candy by Meindert De Jong and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. It was about a dog who is separated from his owners and tries to find his way back. It was a powerful story for me because, at one point, my teacher stopped reading mid-sentence. I can still see my desktop and the paper I was doodling on. I looked up to see why she had stopped, and she was crying. It was a powerful moment for me. I couldn't believe a book could do that. I think it was one of the defining moments that helped me become a writer. I also love the Henry and Mudge stories by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Sucie Stevenson. There's such warmth and love between those characters--it's how I feel about all the dogs I've had in my life, too.

4. If Milo could change just one thing about you, what would it be?  Milo is one of the more dominant dogs I've ever owned--which is a funny contrast, given his size. But Milo would like to be the one in charge! So if he could change one thing about me, I suspect it would be for me to be his pet and give him everything he wants!

5. In five words, tell us what Milo means to you:  My tiniest, goofiest, kindred spirit.

Thank you so much to Cynthia and Milo for taking time out to visit this little blog--it was worth every bit of the wait! Be sure to check out Cynthia's website for her latest book news and to follow her blog, too! 


  1. Fun, interesting interview!

    I've added your blog to my reading list and I'm going to look for A DOG'S WAY HOME. (Take a look at my userpic for a clue why.) :-)

    -- Barb
    (Owl on Verla's, boreal_owl on LJ, Owl's Quill on Blogger)

  2. Thanks, Barb! What a lovely sheltie you have :)