Many dogs have human owners. Not this dog. He fetches his own slippers, curls up at his own feet, and gives himself a good scratch. But there is one spot, in the middle of his back, that he just can’t reach. So one day, he lets a human scratch it. And the poor little fella follows him home. What can the dog do but get a leash to lead the guy around with? Dog lovers of all ages will revel in the humorous role-reversal as this dog teaches his human all the skills he needs to be a faithful companion.
Meet the author:
David Ezra Stein is the creator of many award-winning picture books, including Interrupting Chicken, which was awarded a Caldecott Honor, Because Amelia Smiled, and Dinosaur Kisses. He lives with his family in Kew Gardens, New York.
You can visit David and learn more about him at his website Funny with Love
Up close and personal Q&A with David:
ME: Hi, David, and welcome to Randomly Reading. I've read I'm My Own Dog and laughed pretty hard while I did. You really seem to have hit on a truth about owning a dog. Are you a dog owner? Or is your dog a human owner?
DES: Hi Alex! I don’t own a dog, though I can see why you’d assume so. But I do live in a doggy metropolis, so I guess they are part of my life anyway. I see it all, from people pushing dogs in baby carriages, to dogs riding shotgun in cars, to people and dogs gazing lovingly at each other on hilltops.
ME: I can certainly attest to the fact that you live in a doggy metropolis, since I live one borough away from you. So, if you aren't a dog owner, where did you get your inspiration for I’m My Own Dog?
DES: I made an illustration one day of a dog walking himself with a leash. The caption read, “The true master is master of himself.” I had that hanging up for a long while on my studio wall. One day, while on the road, I started hearing the voice of that dog. It was telling me all about itself. It was a tough and independent character. I jotted down as much as I could, along with sketches.
ME: Which usually comes first? The story or the illustrations?
DES: The character. Usually I get this funny character, and draw it, and jot down some ideas for it. Hopefully I can plug this character into lots of funny situations. If I have enough sense of the character, the situations usually begin to form a story.
ME: Which part of the book is your favorite?
DES: I love “LOOK, LOOK, LOOK, that is a squirrel,” because it sounds like a dog barking. That’s the part where the dog takes the man to the park and show him things. I have seen lots of dogs do this behavior. They want to let you know about every squirrel as if it’s breaking news you need to know about. Or maybe they just want to give chase.
ME: Lots of time in the classroom, kids would be drawing during Arts and Crafts. I've often wondered if any of them would grow up to become an illustrator. Do you have any advice for future author/illustrators?
DES: Be your own dog!
Ask yourself, what makes me different? What makes me, me? Then do that thing on paper. And as you do so, as Robert Louis Stevenson said, “indulge the pleasure of your heart”. It makes for an enjoyable life, in any case.E Be your own dog!
Ask yourself, what makes me different? What makes me, me? Then do that thing on paper. And as you do so, as Robert Louis Stevenson said, “indulge the pleasure of your heart”. It makes for an enjoyable life, in any case.
Thanks for your visit here, David. And for answering all my questions.
Be sure to visit the stops on the blog tour for I'm My Own Dog:
11/3/2014 Smart Books for Smart Kids
11/4/2014 Read Now, Sleep Later
11/5/2014 Cracking the Cover
11/6/2014 Elizabeth Dulemba's blog
11/7/2014 The Fourth Musketeer
11/8/2014 Picture Book Palooza
11/9/2014 Randomly Reading
11/10/2014 Children's Corner
11/11/2014 Flowering Minds
11/12/2014 Teach Mentor Texts
11/13/2014 KidLit Frenzy
11/14/2014 Literacy Toolbox
I would like to thank Candlewick Press for providing me with a copy of I'm My Own Dog and for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour.