Friday, September 2, 2016

Meet Toby

And the winner of the book drawing with swag bag is JuniperEve, whose son Toby will love Toby! Please look for an email from hotbuttonpress in your mailbox.

Hazel Mitchell and I first met on Facebook a few years ago. I was immediately taken by her award-winning children's book illustrations. Even more fun were the engaging stories of her real-life rescue poodle, Toby.

I wasn't much of a dog person at the time, but like all of Toby's many fans, my heart stopped when Hazel shared the news that Toby was lost, from a kennel caring for him while his people went on a vacation. For eight long and agonizing days, we all threw our collective virtual attention and love behind his rescue. You can read more about Toby's adventure here.

Miraculously, Toby was found. But that was just the beginning of his story. This month, Candlewick Press releases the picture book inspired by him, Hazel's first published story-writing effort to go along with the charming illustrations of her poodle.


In the story, a boy and his (presumably single) dad have moved to a new neighborhood just as school is starting. He finds a pet adoption flyer and asks his dad about getting a dog. Dad and boy go to the local shelter, and Toby finds his forever family and home. But that doesn't mean he's happy, or at all what dad and boy expect! Toby just doesn't want to play, or be a bud, or do any of the things good dogs do, much to the frustration of his people.

Click on the photo to view full-size
Through the patience, perseverance, and devotion of one little boy, Toby eventually becomes the pet we all want - a real pal. With sparse but powerful text, and illustrations that balance and embellish the story, Hazel Mitchell gives us a picture book close to perfect for youngsters 4-6 years old.

Like any really good book clearly written for children (and not with a hidden message for adults cloaked in #kidlit), the book still has enough innuendo and intrigue to engage the imagination of the older reader.  Where is the mother in the story? Where does the dad work? What kind of sports do they like? What is the boy's name and how old is he? What books does he like to read? The visual clues will make readers want to learn more about everyone in the story.

TOBY. Copyright © 2016 by Hazel Mitchell. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

Children can enjoy more Toby moments at Hazel Mitchell's fun-filled website. There are fun activity pages here.  Look at the great Toby merchandise at his Zazzle store! And coming soon: A Toby cam and teacher's guide. Plus Toby has his own Facebook page and Twitter. And he barks a lot on social media, so go share a few woofs with him!

But first, get a copy of the book. It releases on September 13 and you can buy it at Amazon, Indiebound, and Barnes & Noble.

Do we have a contest - of course we do! All you have to do is sign up on Toby's mailing list to win a copy of the book. Click here to email and write BRP Contest in the subject line. You might even get a few extra Toby treats if you win!


Hazel Mitchell is an award-winning illustrator and now children's book author. You can connect with her on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Dani Greer is founding member of the Blood-Red Pencil blog, a long-time writer and editor, a children's book aficionado, and now the proud owner of her mother's beloved dog. We aren't sure how Printz feels about this arrangement. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

25 comments :

  1. What a great story by Hazel. Love that cover and inside illustrations. Know this will be a hit with kids! Have followed postings about the real Toby for years and am glad Hazel took the leap to write a book about Toby. Reminds me the white poodle we rescued from a breeder. Wishing your book much success.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was so tense while Toby was missing in action! What a happy ending that was.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Patricia! And for your support over the years. Toby says Woof! Don't forget to enter the draw to win a book and swag bag! Hazel and Toby xx

      Delete
  2. Toby sounds like kind of dog I love ... someone else's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahahaha. I might have agreed with you until recently when I "inherited" my mother's pooch. He's a real sweetheart.

      Delete
    2. Ah .. well ... Don't forget to enter the draw to win a book and swag bag! Hazel and Toby xx

      Delete
  3. This is a lovely story to share with your kids or grandkids.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Diana! Toby says Woof! Don't forget to enter the draw to win a book and swag bag! Hazel and Toby xx

      Delete
  4. Great review and introduction to the book. I love the story and the lovely illustrations and am eager to get my copy of the book to feature on my blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wondered if you were hosting too. Can't wait to read what you think, Maryann.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Maryann! Hazel and Toby xx

      Delete
  5. Love the cute dog story, and the book cover.

    Have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I think my new pooch, Printz, is going to have a chat with Toby later in the month. So exciting to have your very own book!

      Delete
  6. Replies
    1. Thanks Morgan! Don't forget to enter the draw to win a book and swag bag! Hazel and Toby xx

      Delete
  7. With 4 rescue dogs of my own, this sounds like a story I will love.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Suzanne for rescuing! Toby says Woof! Don't forget to enter the draw to win a book and swag bag! Hazel and Toby xx

      Delete
  8. With a minimum of humans in the story (unnamed dad and son), the dog is clearly the star. I like that idea, especially for young children and grandchildren who almost always love animal stories. (Of course, grandmas like them too.) Is the story told in a particular POV or is it omniscient?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love your photo with your mom's dog.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Linda! It's 1st person from the child's POV. Toby says Woof! Don't forget to enter the draw to win a book and swag bag! Hazel and Toby xx

      Delete
  9. Thank you for having us on Blood-red Pencil, Dani, both Toby and I say thank you and woof - we enjoyed your comments very much :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Hazel. I know your schedule is crazy leading up to the book release on September 13. Can't wait to see who the winner is. :D

      Delete
  10. This is my first introduction to Toby, and I love the story. I feel like I've missed out. Love Printz too, Dani. Like I said, you're hooked.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Polly, glad you enjoyed the post! Thanks for commenting. Hazel and Toby xo

      Delete
  11. Shall we do the drawing at 6PM MST #LaborDay? Works for me!

    ReplyDelete

The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...