Please help me welcome Toby and Hazel Mitchell as today’s Wednesday’s Guest. We are getting to know a little more about Hazel, and Toby, through the interview that Toby is conducting. What fun! Here is a link to the review I wrote last Sunday about the book.
And for refreshments I thought Toby might enjoy a couple of homemade dog bones from. For myself and the two-legged visitors, why don’t we have some cake to go with our coffee, or tea, this morning. Enjoy!
Why did you write a book about me?
Well, Toby, you are so darn cute I just couldn’t help myself! Seriously, when you came to live with us in November 2013 you captured my heart. I just had to draw you! And when I started to draw you I couldn’t help but think what a great character you’d make in a book. It’s been a long journey for you getting used to being with people and having a family and I thought that would be a very good story to put in a book. Aren’t you glad I did?
Yes. I am. In the book I have a different family, is there a reason for this?
There is. When I started to draw pictures of you and write about your struggles to be a normal dog, I thought it’d be more interesting for the reader if you had a child as a companion instead of me. Then the reader could relate to the character too. I decided you would be adopted by a young boy and his dad. It made a better story arc in the book. Do you like the boy?
Oh yes! He’s a lot of fun. Especially when I got to know him and trust him. He never gives up on me, just like you in my real life! Which reminds me, you put a lot of the things I do in real life into the book. Did you mean to do that?
Yes I did! I took a lot of the incidents that happened to you and wove them into the book. Like how you wouldn’t play or eat treats when you first came to live with us. How you’d hide under the dining table on the chairs and how you’d collect toys and shoes and put them on the sofa. You still collect shoes! And you had a stuffy bunny in real life, too, to keep you company. Do you remember?
And Toby, I will never give up on you! I didn’t give up when you were lost, did I?
WOOF! I know. I don’t like to think about the time I got lost. People over all over the world didn’t give up on me, either! I do remember my stuffy bunny, though. I used to put him in my feeding bowl so he could eat, too. I don’t like being hungry … I’m not, not any more. And I still love shoes! They smell of you guys and when you are gone somewhere I like to sniff them. You know, to remind me of you.
Aww, Toby, That’s so sweet!
That’s a long time! I am only 4 years old so it’s half my lifetime!
It is! It takes a long time to make something like a book, but it’s here now. Are you excited?
Yes! WOOF! I love my book and all the readers who read it and EVERYTHING! WOOF WOOF WOOF!
Do you think you will put me in another book?
I would love to write and illustrate another book about you. I even have an idea for it!
OOH! Will you tell me? Will Lucy be in it too?
Later. And, yes, I think we can have Lucy in it too.
But not the cat. I was scared of the cat in my book.
OK one more question – pepperoni or dried chicken?
I think pepperoni. What do you think?
I think I am getting hungry after all these questions!
OK, come on, let’s go and get a snack!
When a young boy and his father move from one house to another, they decide to adopt a dog from the local rescue shelter. But their chosen dog, Toby, is having a tough time adjusting to his new life outside the shelter—howling all night, hiding fearfully from his new humans, forgetting where to go to the bathroom, and chasing a ball through the flower bed. The boy has promised to train his new companion, and he’s trying his best, but Dad is starting to get exasperated. Will Toby ever feel comfortable with his new family and settle into his forever home, or will Dad decide he’s not the right dog for them after all?
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Hazel Mitchell has always loved drawing and still cannot be reliably left alone with a pencil. She has illustrated several books for children including Imani’s Moon, One Word Pearl, Animally and Where Do Fairies Go When It Snows? Toby is her author-illustrator debut from Candlewick Press. Her work has received several awards and been recognized by Bank Street Books, Learning Magazine, Reading is Fundamental, Foreword Reviews, NYCReads365, Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles, Charlotte/Mecklenburg , Chicago and Maine State libraries among others. Originally from England, where she attended art-college and served in the Royal Navy, she now lives in Maine with her poodles Toby and Lucy and a cat called Sleep. She still misses British fish and chips, but is learning to love lobster.