Friday, June 11, 2021

Cover Reveal for Make Way for Fenway series - 6.11.21

Have you ever finished a book and it brings a smile to your face because you know you're going to have a long list of readers who will want to read it?  That's what happened to me when I finished Victoria Coe's Fenway and Hattie book... and consequently all of the books in the series!  A story told from the perspective of a dog - a dog that is fun and easy to love, which makes it even more enjoyable to read!  Fenway has a limitless love for his girl, Hattie, and protects her from all evil, including those pesky squirrels!  Readers love learning his names for objects and people and love seeing the world through his eyes.  Every book in the series has been a hit for readers and it's a series I even encourage grownups to read to their younger readers because everyone falls for Fenway!

Fenway and Hattie (Fenway and Hattie, #1)   Fenway and Hattie and the Evil Bunny Gang (Fenway and Hattie, #2)  Fenway and Hattie Up to New Tricks (Fenway and Hattie #3)  Fenway and Hattie in the Wild (Fenway and Hattie #4)

Now we have another reason to fall in love with Fenway because readers are going to grow up with Fenway!  A few months ago, Victoria announced that we would be getting more Fenway stories, but this time in a different format - in a chapter book series called Make Way for Fenway.  There are already four books planned, the first two releasing on March 22, 2022.

What is the difference between the two series?  The Make Way for Fenway series is considered a "chapter book", which usually means it's shorter than its middle grade counterpart.  The Fenway chapter book series will have 5,000 words in a book and feature 10 chapters and about 85 pages.  There will be full page illustrations featured throughout the book.  In comparison, the middle grade (original) series, has about 30,000-35,000 words in a book, about 20-22 chapters, and double the page amount!  What is so exciting is readers will be able to grow with Fenway.  They can first fall in love with him in the chapter books and eventually grow to reading more adventures in the middle grade stories.  The best thing about series is readers become familiar with a character and setting and it's not something new to figure out each time.  This gives readers a sense of security and they can focus on other parts of the story.  It's so important for growing readers to have series that support them.  I am so happy that Fenway is going to be a character and series that can provide that stability for readers!

Even more exciting is I have the first two covers to share with you!  But before we get to the covers, here's a little more about the first two books.

Book one: Fenway and the Bone Thieves

There's nothing better than a brand-new bone!
And nothing worse than sneaky squirrels trying to steal it!  But Fenway is smarter than those squirrels and he finds the perfect place to hide his bone.
The only problem is, the hiding place might be too hard for Fenway to find, too!

Book two:  Fenway and the Frisbee Trick

Fenway is ready to learn a new trick!
When Fenway sees a dog leap into the air and catch a Frisbee, he wants to do it, too.
But catching a Frisbee is harder than it looks.
Good thing Fenway is willing to keep trying, and that he can impress everyone with a special trick of his own!

Are you ready to see the covers?  Well, actually, before I share them, I want to share a conversation I recently had with Victoria and the illustrator of the chapter book series, Joanne Lew-Vriethoff.

VJC: Thank you for hosting us, Mrs. Knott! As you know, I’m a faithful reader of your blog. I love your passion for championing new books, especially chapter books and the #road2reading challenge.


JL-V: Thank you for inviting me to your blog. I look forward to sharing the new Fenway books with everyone. 


MK: What was the idea behind these new stories, Victoria?


VJC: The core of the stories is Fenway and the squirrels. In each book, Fenway wants something and then blames the squirrels when things go wrong (spoiler alert: lots of things go wrong!). I had a lot of fun coming up with the different scenarios. Squirrels really can be sneaky!


MK: Victoria, how did you react when you heard that Joanne was chosen as the illustrator for this series?


VJC: I was over the moon! I follow her on Instagram and I love her work. I knew she’d bring a lively spirit to the characters and stories. I literally couldn’t wait to see what she’d come up with. And boy, her illustrations were definitely worth the wait!


MK: Joanne, what about this character and these stories captured your imagination?


JL-V: Victoria’s stories are hilarious, fun and fresh. I love that it was from a dog’s point of view which made it easy to fall in love with Fenway’s feisty temperament but cute personality. I’ve always wanted to illustrate a dog book and the day the publishers told me I would be the illustrator, it was like an early birthday gift for me. 


MK: They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but we all know that people do - especially kids. What was the cover illustration process like, Joanne? How did you decide what to depict on these covers? How did you zero in on just the right images, feelings, and energy?


JL-V: I based the cover on the personality of a young puppy. Just like my kids at that age,  he is innocent, carefree, very focused especially when he wants something yet unaware of all the havoc it may cause or the evil villains waiting for him around the corner.  


MK: What was your favorite thing about illustrating Fenway, Joanne? Which parts of his personality can you most relate to?


JL-V: I love illustrating Fenway’s expressions especially when he is being overly dramatic.  I can definitely relate to his wild imagination, persistence, and also fierce loyalty to those he loves. I also love illustrating the squirrels as well.  They are a bunch of rambunctious rascals who keep Fenway on his toes which makes it very funny to illustrate. 


MK: The Fenway and Hattie middle grade series is more than five years old. Victoria, I’m wondering what’s it like to see your characters illustrated after all that time?


VJC: It's hard to describe. When I was a kid, I distinctly remember reading chapter books and feeling that exhilaration whenever I came to an illustration. Those images were like magic to me. Seeing my own scenes come to life through Joanne’s art brings me right back to those feelings. Her illustrations make me fall in love with my own characters all over again.


MK: Joanne, how do you determine which bits of each chapter to illustrate? How do you imagine young readers reacting to the pictures?


JL-V:  Together with the editor and art director, we share our ideas and thoughts from each chapter.  Sometimes I have too many ideas from one scenario and will sketch them out and share them with the publisher.  It helps to have another person look at them from a distance since I tend to get attached to the illustrations and want to do them all.  There are different moments in the story where I would find myself laughing out loud or cheering Fenway on when he is feeling a little down or upset.  These are the moments when I want to illustrate how I feel when I’m reading from Fenway’s point of view. 


MK: What’s next for each of you?


VJC: I’m waiting for revision notes for Book 3 in this series (Coming Oct 2022), and I hope to finish writing the 4th book (Spring 2023) this summer. 


JL-V: Currently I’m working out the sketches for Book 2 and have two more Fenway Books after. I really can’t wait to read Books 3 and 4 and see what’s in store. If they’re as good as the first two, it’s going to be a total blast illustrating them. I’m having such a great time with Fenway and his friends, I feel like I’m part of his life thanks to Victoria and Putnam Young Readers.

Ok, I suppose I've lead you on for enough time!  If you made it this far, you definitely deserve to see these covers!  Without further ado.......


From the publisher:
This new series, starring the rambunctious Jack Russell terrier from Victoria J. Coe’s Fenway and Hattie middle grade books, will debut in Spring 2022 from Putnam Young Readers. With an easy reading level and lively illustrations, emerging readers will be eager to get their paws on the Make Way for Fenway! chapter books.

Aren't you in love with the books already?  Huge thank you to Victoria and Joanne for stopping by.  I'm honored Victoria allowed me to do this cover reveal.  I can't wait to have the actual books in my hands!  March 2022 isn't too far away, right??

More about author, Victoria Coe:
Victoria J. Coe’s books for middle grade readers include the Global Read Aloud, Amazon Teacher’s Pick, and One School, One Book favorite Fenway and Hattie as well as three Fenway and Hattie sequels and the historical adventure Ezra and the Mouse: The Search for Lafayette (September 2021). Make Way for Fenway! is her first chapter book series. Connect with her online at and on twitter and Instagram @victoriajcoe.

More about illustrator, Joanne Lew-Vriethoff:
Joanne Lew Vriethoff is an award-winning illustrator of over 50 picture, chapter and middle grade books. Some of her latest books include How To Wear A Sari, You’ll Find Me, Too Sticky, The Invisible Web (Invisible String Series), and You are Never Alone. She has also illustrated middle grade books such as The Dancing Pancake, Another Day as Emily by Eileen Spinelli. Make Way for Fenway! is her first dog chapter book series. You can find her on and on twitter and Instagram @joannelewvriethoff.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful cover reveal! I hadn't seen this series previously, but it sounds wonderful, and it's so exciting that readers can now start with these chapter books before moving on to the MG novels. The new covers are wonderful, and I can imagine the illustrations inside will be just as cute! Thanks for the great post!