Thursday, January 28, 2016

review of Fenway and Hattie - 1.28.16

Fenway and Hattie
Fenway and Hattie
by Victoria Coe
published by G.P. Putnam's Sons
(an imprint of Penguin Random House)
February 9, 2016

Walk a mile in someone else's shoes.

It's in the eye of the beholder.

What both of these expressions come down to is it's hard to see things, see an idea, from someone else's perspective.

Now imagine trying to see life from a perspective that is not human... Like from a dog's perspective.

Authors have written from a dog's perspective before.  Often times the dog ends up taking on more human qualities than canine.  Not the case in Victoria Coe's debut novel, Fenway and Hattie.  The book is told not only through the dog, Fenway's, voice, but also through his eyes.  We see the world as a dog sees the world.  The mom in the book is "Food Lady" - I guess we know who typically feeds Fenway!  He has a terrible time walking on, what we assume is hardwood floors, and Fenway refers to it as the Wicked Floor.  Throughout the book, the reader is left to infer what Fenway is talking about, as he describes things in a way a dog would see it.  This keeps the authenticity of the voice that Coe crafts for her main character.

Young readers will appreciate Fenway's conflict - his desire to play and have fun is in direct  conflict with his owner teaching him to behave and follow commands.  As I read, I would alternatively laugh at his antics, or my heart would bleed for this dog who was clearly not understanding what his owner desperately wanted him to do.  What child doesn't understand the desire to play when an adult wants them to do something quite different?

Sometimes there is a gap in middle grade books.  They vary between being too young, to having content that is just a bit too mature.  Fenway and Hattie helps fill this gap.  The content is perfect for its designed readers - grades 3-6 - and the book provides opportunities for teachers to use it as a mentor text to teach inferring and perspective. 

Share the book trailer with students!

Be sure to pick up a copy of Fenway and Hattie on February 9th!

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