Friday, November 2, 2012

Fido and Friend in Five: Joan Bauer and Max!

I don't know many authors out there who wouldn't be excited to have their latest book reviewed in the New York Times. Joan Bauer was lucky enough last month to have her latest middle grade novel, Almost Home, reviewed in the New York Times Book Review by none other than Marley and Me author, John Grogan! And he liked it--he really liked it! Even better, Kirkus gave it a starred review, saying, "Sugar, with her natural gift for rubbing down imperfection, will win reader's hearts." Joan is no stranger to rave reviews. Many of her eleven books have won the Newbery Honor, Schneider Family Book Award, two Christopher Awards, the Chicago Tribune Young Adult Literary Prize among others. And I personally think Almost Home should win the award (if there was one) for most charming book jacket. I mean, really? Who could resist that face? Those eyes?

Almost Home is the story of a big-hearted little girl, Sugar Mae Cole, trying very hard to hold on to her dreams. She and her mom and rescue dog, Shush, find themselves homeless instead of making a new start like they'd planned. After Sugar and her mom become separated, Sugar and Shush wind up in foster care. Through poems and grit, Sugar does everything she can to make her dreams come true.

When I checked out Joan's website, I was delighted to see she has a dog. I was even more delighted when she agreed to share the spotlight on Fido and Friend in Five with her beloved Wheaton Terrier, Max. Let's find out what makes Max's tail wag and what Joan's favorite dog story is in today's Fido and Friend in Five!

1. How did you and Max find each other? It was very much a how-much-is-that-doggy-in-the-window moment. My husband and I were walking past this very good and reputable pet store in Manhattan, and this adorable, 11-week-old Wheaten Terrier was rolling around with his sister in the store window. I fell in love. My friend said, "That's your dog." We went inside--to meet him, you understand, nothing more. Major bonding occurred. Major. The cuteness factor was beyond anything. My husband and I went to a bookstore to read about Wheaton Terriers. Two hours later we went back and, well, we bought him.

2. What makes Max's tail wag?  When we come through the front door--even if we've been outside for a couple of minutes, it's a big moment for him. And his stub of a tail (my favorite part of this beast) just goes back and forth like crazy. It's too adorable. He also wages at the neighbors and other dogs. He's a friendly little guy. He has never once wagged at the UPS man, however--to Max, that is the arch enemy.

3. What's your all-time favorite dog story?  Certainly, I read all the dog books, but my husband and I love the movie "Eight Below" which has a whole lot of dogs in the snow doing courageous things. Max watches that movie transfixed, and I think he has a crush on Maya, the girl dog.

4. If Max could change just one thing about you, what would that be?  Probably that I would rub him longer. It's not like I don't have time to do this! But no matter how deep the rubbing goes, when I stop, he looks at me like, "What's the matter with you?" Sometimes he'll take my hand in his mouth and try to put it back on his tummy. (I have to say, I LOVE this image!)

5. In five words, tell us what Max means to you:  That's hard, Bobbie! Faithful furball who understands all.

Many, many thanks to Joan and Max for taking time out from tummy rubs to be on Fido and Friend in Five! Be sure to check out Joan's website and her blog to find out more about her books and what good things she's doing. 

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