Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fido and Friend in Five: Leda Schubert and Pippa!

Leda Schubert
Every now and then, I toy with the idea of quitting my day job as a librarian and write full time. There are several reasons I haven't done this--one being I really appreciate a regular pay check! Another being if I didn't have a regular job to go to, I have a feeling I'd not only be the Crazy Dog Lady but also a hermit. But a really good reason I haven't quit my day job is I get to see all the wonderful new books (and even order them for our library) that come in. It's like Christmas every day! Leda Schubert's latest picture book, Reading to Peanut, is a perfect example of why I love my job. To see that fun cover and read her wonderful story of a preschooler discovering the joys of reading and writing with (and for) her dog, Peanut, is priceless.

Ballet of the Elephants
Leda Schubert  has written eight picture books for kids, both fiction and nonfiction. More than one has been inspired by her love of animals, particularly dogs. Although she now writes full time and teaches writing at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, like me, she once had a day job as a librarian. She's probably the first author I've had on my blog who attended Harvard! Leda lives in Vermont with her husband and two dogs, Pippa and Pogo. Let's find out a little bit more about them in this week's Fido and Friend in Five:

Leda and Pippa
1. How did you and Pippa find each other?  She called me on the phone. Okay, no. I saw an ad in the local paper. I believe in mutts, and Pippa is one, though she's supposedly a "designer" dog. You can't fool me though. She's half golden retriever and half poodle, as is her big brother, Pogo. But here's the thing: my dog of a lifetime, Winnie, had died eight months earlier, and I had decided I could never get another dog because losing them is the hardest thing. So, like many others, we went "just to look" at puppies because Pogo was lonely. It turns out when you are a dog person, as you and I are, you need a dog, and then you fall in love all over again.

Too Cold for Frogs?
2. What makes Pippa's tail wag?  Other dogs. Not me. She's extremely independent--almost feral. Her tail wags hardest when she's doing pond maintenance, as we call it. We have a small, muddy, leech-ridden pond, and she spends hours every day, from the time the ice starts to go out in spring (and the water must be about 33 degrees), until it freezes again. Her job seems to be keeping frogs busy jumping and making sure she herself smells foul and is constantly moist. It's actually difficult to tell what she thinks her job is. She's a quiet dog. Other tail wagging? She's not crazy about food. She does have this little piece of fluff she carries around, which we call Little Yellow.  She wags her tail whenever she digs it up from under some cushion somewhere. She thinks she's Little Yellow's mother.

3. What's your all-time favorite dog story?  Oh that's tough. I can no longer read books where the dog dies, which eliminates all the classics, but I did read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle recently (even though the dog does die) and it made me appreciate even more deeply the wonder of dogs. They are the best. I like them more than most people, to be honest. Because I write picture books, here are some favorites: The Stray Dog (Simont), Henry and Mudge (Rylant), Boodil, My Dog (Lindenbaum), Martha Speaks (Meddaugh), Bark George (Feiffer), and of course my own book about Winnie, Winnie All Day Long.

Chillin' with Pogo
4. If Pippa could change just one thing about you, what would it be?  She would change me in to a dog. Really, she would. Or maybe a nine-year-old boy who would run with her and investigate frogs with her all day long.

5. In five words, tell us what Pippa means to you:  Almost more than life itself.

I couldn't agree more, Leda! Thank you and Pippa for visiting my little blog. Be sure to check out the latest on Leda's website and blog. She has another new picture book due out this month! 

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