Thursday, February 14, 2013

Fido and Friend in Five: Jacqueline Kelly, Molly and Laika!

Last week's Fido and Friend in Five spotlighted Sheila Turnage, whose book, Three Times Lucky, had just won a Newbery Honor medal. Continuing along that path, today we have 2010 Newbery Honor winner, Jacqueline Kelly and her two dogs, Molly and Laika!

Jackie's beloved debut novel, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, captured the hearts of many readers as well as the Newbery committee. It's the story of a young girl at the turn of the century in a sleepy little town in Texas trying to stay cool during a very hot summer. Her attempts to find ways to stay cool (back before the days of air conditioning, of course), lead Callie to spend lots of time down by the river with her cantankerous grandfather. Despite his grumpiness, he instills in Callie a love for the natural world and a yearning to live beyond the confines of what it means to be a girl during the turn of the century. Jackie has said she was inspired to write Callie's story during a blazingly hot summer day at her 120-year-old Texas farmhouse. "With the thermometer almost boiling over, I began to wonder how people stood the heat a hundred years ago with no air conditioning, especially since they had to wear all those clothes. Callie and her family sprang to life at that moment."

In 2012, Jacqueline's new book, Return to the Willows, was welcomed into the world with open arms! Publisher's Weekly called it, " affectionate follow-up to a classic of children's literature, one that succeeds on its own." And it is beautifully illustrated by Clint Young.

Jackie and her husband share their homes in Austin and Fentress with three cats and two dogs, Laika and Molly. Let's meet them all in today's Fido and Friend in Five:

Laika, CoyDog
1. How did you and your dogs find each other?  Laika was an abandoned dog living on top of a picnic table down my the San Marcos River. My husband fed her once or twice and--surprise--that's all it took for her to think she'd found a pretty good deal. We believe her to be that extremely rare mixture of chow and coyote. There's actually a word in the dictionary for a dog/coyote mixture: coydog. (My Boo is also a coydog!). Molly is of more refined blood, coming from a pair of purebred Goldens, but she does not lord it over Laika, who is definitely top coydog. Molly was just such a fat, jolly little pup that she stole our hearts when we went to pick her out.

2. What makes Laika and Molly's tails wag?  They both get very excited at meal times (show me a dog that doesn't) but very excited when they know it's time for their run.
Sweet Molly

3. What's your all-time favorite dog story?  As a youngster, I was terribly fond of the Lad, A Dog series by Albert Payson Terhune (me too!). Sadly, they have been out-of-favor for quite a while now. 

4. If Molly and Laika could change just one thing about you, what would that be?  Molly and Laika would like to go on two runs daily instead of just one, thank you very much.

5. In five words, tell us what your dogs mean to you:  Love. Slobber. Hair. Endless vacuuming. Love.

Thanks so much to Jackie, Laika, and Molly for visiting with Fido and Friend in Five today! To find out more about Jackie and her books and her background (did I mention Jackie has worked as a doctor and a lawyer?), be sure to visit her website

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