Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Fido and Friend in Five: Sheila Turnage and Jake!

Lately, I've been attracted to books with the word "Lucky" in the title. Maybe it's because I'm supersticious about the number 13, and I'm trying to take my mind off the fact that this is 2013. Or maybe it's because I've been thinking for the last couple of years on this whole concept of lucky/unlucky (for reasons that shall be revealed eventually). So when Sheila Turnage's middle grade novel, Three Times Lucky, came in to the library, I snatched it up. Then when I read it was set in a small southern town (my favorite setting) and that Sheila lives in North Carolina (one of my very favorite states), I knew I had to read it.

Three Times Lucky is one of those rare stories that is several things at once: a murder mystery, a character-driven novel full of charming, quirky characters, a coming-of-age story, and a story of friendship--all done amazingly well.  As Kirkus said in their starred review: What do you get when you combine Because of Winn-Dixie’s heart with the mystery and action of Holes? You get an engaging, spirit-lifting and unforgettable debut for young readers.

You also get a Newbery Honor winner! Yes, just this past week, Sheila's Three Times Lucky won a Newbery Honor. I'd say she's now four times lucky!

Sheila has also published poetry in a variety of periodicals, and won the Katherine Kennedy McIntyre Light Verse Award for her poem Thank You Note. She's also written several nonfiction books about her beloved North Carolina.

Sheila lives and writes in an adorable house with an inviting porch on a farm in eastern North Carolina. She lives their with her husband, chickens, a cat, and yes, a dog. A very smart dog named Jake. I know he's smart because 1) he's an Australian cattle dog and 2) Sheila says so.

Let's meet this brand new Newbery winner and her dog Jake in today's Fido and Friend in Five:

I choose you!
1. How did you and Jake find each other?  I met Jacob when he was still a pup. He had a number of brothers and sisters (all very cute). I really wanted a dog, and I had come to check them out. I thought I was choosing a pup, but I realized one of the puppies had left the pack and was sticking by me! I had my dog and my dog had me!

2. What makes Jake's tail wag?  Going out to play ball. He also likes to hear "walk" and "ride in the truck."

3. What's your all-time favorite dog story?  I didn't read lots of dog books growing up, but I loved to watch the dogs who had their own TV shows: Lassie, Rin Tin Tin...I loved Old Yeller (though I wasn't crazy about the ending). They were fantastic because they were so smart. And I STILL like smart dogs!

Fill bowl. Fill bowl...
4. If Jake could change just one thing about you, what would that be?  I would develop a complete willingness to fill his bowl on his psychic command.

5. In five words, tell us what Jake means to you:  Smart, funny, faithful, protective friend.

Many thanks to Sheila and Jake for visiting with us today! I know Sheila has to be busy since her Newbery Honor win. Be sure to check out her website to find out all her goings-on and to find out more about her. Jake, make sure your mama still gets out every day to play.