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In 2011, we packed up our life in the suburbs and moved to the city. And boy, did our dog have a hard time.
We were excited about the move. We knew what was going on. But our dog did not share our perspective. For him, his whole world had suddenly changed, and he was not happy about it.
As he adjusted, I tried to see things from his point of view. Soon his fears and insecurities began to take hold of my imagination.
Those ideas turned into a character, and now that character’s story has turned into a book. Fenway and Hattie (GP Putnam’s Son’s/Penguin Young Readers) is about a dog named Fenway and his girl. And in this story they each struggle with changes after a big move.
But since Fenway and Hattie is told only from Fenway’s point of view, readers and listeners experience what it’s like to be inside a dog’s mind – the good, the bad, and the scary!
For example, a glob of tasty goo splotched on the floor is definitely good. Not being allowed to inspect a potentially dangerous – or delicious – package is bad. And a slick, shiny new floor can be absolutely terrifying!
Readers also get a dog’s eye view of humans. For instance, when a dog’s beloved human reaches for the leash, the dog leaps and spins for joy – It’s time for a walk! And when she grabs the bedtime brush, he springs onto the bed with a happy sigh, awaiting their fur-brushing ritual.
But if a dog’s human playmate climbs a tree (and leaves him behind), he doesn’t just feel left out. He also might worry – What if she’s turning into a squirrel?
As you might tell, I’m a fan of experiencing different points of view. And now that I’m sharing my passion with readers, I’ve found that dogs are perhaps the ultimate, most relatable “different” perspective out there.
Even if you don’t have a dog in your own family, you probably know a dog or are at least familiar with dogs. Maybe you watch dogs playing at the park, or greet friends or neighbors’ dogs walking down the street.
The point is – most of us know enough about dog-ness to have a whole lot of fun trying to get inside their fur!
In fact, experiencing a dog’s point of view is more than just entertaining. It’s rewarding, too. It widens your imagination, and opens up your mind to the concept that not everyone sees things the same way. It lets you be open to other viewpoints, and ultimately allows you to understand and be sympathetic to others.
So if your family is looking for a new book to share, try a story told from a dog’s point of view. It might give you a new leash on life!
Victoria J. Coe has long been a fan of books, dogs, and the Boston Red Sox. Today she combines these passions as the author of the Fenway and Hattie series, written in the voice of a dog named Fenway. A teacher of creative writing, she loves to visit classrooms and share point of view activities with elementary students. Learn more about Victoria at victoriajcoe.com and download her teacher’s guide here.