Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fido and Friend in Five: Joanne Levy and Zoe!

Joanne Levy
Okay, full disclosure: I suck at titles. Really, I do! The only one of my books that has the title I came up with is The Ring. And even that's not so creative, now is it? So when we get in new books at the library, the two things I notice right away are the title and the jacket art.

Which brings me to this week's Fido and Friend spotlight author, Joanne Levy. When her debut middle-grade novel came into the library, I was immdiatly grabbed by both the jacket art and the title! I mean, how clever is Small Medium at Large? Very. Epsecially when you read the book. I don't know who came up with that title, but it rocks.

And who knew the dead could be so annoying? Lilah Bloom, the main character in Small Medium at Large know this all too well. To say she found out the hard way is an understatement. You see, after she was struck by lightning (at a perfectly lovely wedding), Lilah discovered she had a new talent: she could hear dead people. And not only were there a lot of them, but they were not what one would expect. A prissy fashion designer? An attention-seeking clown? And her own (deceased) Bubby Dora, every bit as opinionated and prone to meddling in the afterlife as she was when she was alive. Being in seventh grade is no picnic, and dealing with all these dead people isn't making Lilah's life any easier. This is a seriously funny and charming book!

Joanne lives in Ontario with her husband and their furry and feathered friends, including Zoe the Dog. Let's meet them in today's Fido and Friend in Five:

1. How did you and Zoe find each other?
Kia and Chester the Cat
Zoe and Mousy
We sadly had to put down our husky/shepherd mix, Kia, due to illness and thought we were going to wait a bit before getting another dog. I had thought when we did decide to get another dog—there was never a question of ‘if’, it was only a question of ‘when’—we’d maybe get something a little smaller, but my husband wanted a Lab. We lasted 2 weeks before we were contacting breeders for a Labrador Retriever puppy. We’d always rescued dogs in the past, but Kia had been such a huge challenge with her severe separation anxiety and very destructive behavior, that we wanted a puppy this time. Sadly, none were available, so we started looking at online classifieds to broaden our search. We happened upon an ad for a five month old black Lab pup whose family was having issues integrating her into their home—seemed their first dog wasn’t getting along with the puppy. Within hours, we visited and fell in love with Zoe and we took her home that very day. We’ve had her for a year and a half now and she’s such a joy every day.

2. What makes Zoe's tail wag?
I LOVE this photo!
Everything! She’s such a happy and loving dog. Nothing makes her happier than her morning rambles with us, though. She loves to run and if you have a ball to throw for her, she’ll retrieve it endlessly. She also loves chasing our cats, but we’re trying to discourage that!

3. What's your all-time favorite dog story?
Oh wow. That’s tough! I’ve always been a dog-lover and remember reading about dogs, from my favorite Clifford picture book to Marmaduke comic strips (and I still absolutely want a Great Dane) to White Fang. As an adult, my reading is much less animal-focused, but I do remember enjoying Marley and Me a lot, although I remember thinking that my Kia would have given Marley a run for his money in the race to be the worst behaved dog! As for a favorite story—I can’t say I have one in particular, but I’m in awe of service dogs of all kinds, and tear up every time I see a canine in service, their life’s work being enabling the life and independence of their human. I have been giving serious thought to train Zoe to be a therapy dog so she can participate in a program like this one: http://www.therapyanimals.org/Read_FAQ.html

4. If Zoe could change just one thing about you, what would that be? Zoe would really like us to quit our jobs so we could be with her more. I’d really like that, too.

5. In five words, tell us what Zoe means to you: Our goofy, loyal brown-eyed girl.

Thanks so very much to Joanne and Zoey for visiting Fido and Friend in Five! Find out more about Joanne and her most excellent Small Medium at Large on Joanne's website!


  1. Beautiful dogs! And now I want to read her book. Thanks for posting, Bobbie!

  2. Thanks for the interview, Bobbie! And thanks also for your nice words about SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE. You might be interested to know that the book began with the title, which popped into my head one morning as I was waking up.

  3. Lois, I know you'll love this book! And Joanne, that gives me chills to hear how the title just popped into your head. What usually pops into my head first thing in the morning is 1) I have to pee and 2) the dogs need to pee. Not very inspired ;)