Fenway and Hattie Up to New Tricks – Cover Reveal By Victoria J. Coe and Olivia Van Ledtje
Do you judge a book by its cover? I do.
And I wonder if kids do, too.
Because they’re always asking me if the covers of the first two Fenway and Hattie books are real. As if Fenway is out living these stories somewhere and all the Penguin design team did was snap a picture.
Is that a real dog?
Is it the real Fenway?
Is it your real-life dog?
I get these questions so often, I began to wonder why. Maybe it’s the full-of-personality photograph. Maybe it’s Fenway’s tail-wagging, squirrel-chasing, Hattie-loving POV. Or maybe even the whole exuberant, energetic, attention-demanding package.
Why do they seem so real? Before revealing the third Fenway and Hattie cover, I decided to find some answers. By consulting an expert!
I first met 4th grader Olivia Van Ledtje and her family last January at the book launch of Fenway and Hattie and the Evil Bunny Gang. An insatiable and enthusiastic reader, Liv is not shy about sharing her thoughts with the world. In other words, she is the perfect person to ask.
Victoria: So, Liv, I’m so interested to get your thinking on this. You read a ton of books! Be honest, do you judge a book by its cover? Why or why not?
Olivia: Well, the truth is the cover usually DOES tell the reader A LOT of hints about the book! So, I DO judge a book by its cover a lot of times. The cover of a book is like a giant hug for a reader. Who doesn’t want a hug?
Victoria: Hey, that’s a fun way of thinking about it. So now let’s talk about Fenway and Hattie. What did you think when you first saw this cover? Did that match your thoughts about the book?
Olivia: I am obsessed with dogs, so when I first saw the cover of Fenway and Hattie, I actually squealed out loud. Look at Fenway’s face! It’s so sweet and he looks ready to jump right up on readers and lick their faces! I am also in LOVE with the little excited marks coming off Fenway’s body. It’s like the illustrator wants you to pet the book! You can almost hear Fenway barking at you. It’s a super good cover!
Victoria: That’s great to hear! So, what were you expecting when you saw the cover of Fenway and Hattie and the Evil Bunny Gang? How well do you think it reflects the story?
Olivia: What I love about this cover is it looks like Fenway is saying, “It wasn’t me! I swear, it wasn’t me!” The way the illustrator has him standing up makes it seem like he is on trial. I love the little hints in the font that it’s the bunny gang who is up to no good. Poor Fenway! His innocent little face on the cover convinces me that he’d NEVER dig up any carrots! Again, the illustrator uses those little marks to make you feel like Fenway needs a reassuring scratch on his head. I’ll scratch you, Fenway, don’t worry!
I think another really interesting thing to consider on both covers is that the focus is on Fenway. Once you’ve read the first book, you understand why the cover only features Fenway, and not Hattie. It’s like a HUGE nod to the point of view in the story. The MOST important character is featured on the cover, and that’s Fenway! I think it would be super cool to have kids analyze the covers as part of their learning about the books. They could compare and contrast and even add Fenway quotes to support what they learn about him as a character. They could also show how he changes or stays them same across the stories.
Victoria: Liv, I knew you’d be the best person to ask! (Are you sure you’re only in 4th grade?!) So the third book, Fenway and Hattie Up to New Tricks (GP Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Young Readers), is coming out on January 2nd, 2018. How excited are you?
Olivia: Well, I am sort of jumping out of my skin to get my hands on the book! I have such a heart for Fenway, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen to him in this new book. This new book means new adventures and new adventures means new heartbeeps for Fenway!
Victoria: Me too! And you’ve had the very first peek at the cover! What do you think? How do you like it? What does it make you wonder about the book?
Olivia: My wonders are: Is Fenway looking at Hattie? His face is filled with innocence – did he do something naughty? The title says Fenway is up to “new tricks,” so I am incredibly curious what those tricks are going to be. In this illustration, Fenway looks like he might have just finished barking out a message – maybe something like, “Aren’t I the best dog ever? Look at how cute I am! Don’t you want to scratch me?” I love that there is a doggy treat in the word tricks because I think it might be a clue! All of the book covers have the super sweet doggy fur font – kids love that kind of detail! Those little marks around Fenway’s head and body are like a special invitation to scratch him right in those places. They are perfect! This cover makes me want to jump right into the book and learn about Fenway’s new tricks. Truth is, I think Fenway’s tricks are the sweetest tricks on the planet. I am Team Fenway ALL THE WAY!
Victoria: Wow, that’s awesome! I always learn so much from you, Liv. And hey, I’ve got a great idea – how would you like to help me reveal the cover to the whole world?
Olivia: Are you kidding? Let’s not make the world wait anymore!
Victoria and Olivia:
Drum roll, please! We are pleased to present Fenway and Hattie Up to New Tricks!
The little dog with the GIANT personality is in trouble!
Stripey chipmunks lured Fenway into a bees’ nest and now his paw is on fire! He knows just how to put it out—slurp! slurp! slurp! But Hattie won’t let him work on it. She even lets the vet put on a Cone of Doom and won’t take it off no matter how much he begs.
Can’t Hattie see how miserable he is? Fenway never expected to be treated this way. How can he turn this around so he and Hattie make each other happy again? Fenway and Hattie Up to New Tricks is available for pre-order now!
Victoria J. Coe is the author of the middle grade series, Fenway and Hattie (GP Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Young Readers) – the 2017 Global Read Aloud Selection for Early Readers. She lives with her family on the outskirts of Boston where she and her dog are always on the lookout for delivery trucks. And squirrels. Visit her at www.victoriajcoe.com or follow her on Twitter @victoriajcoe.
Ten-year-old Olivia Van Ledtje is a lover of books, ballet, and all things shark, and hopes to someday become an ichthyologist. A passionate advocate for digital citizenship and student voice on social media, she often presents on these topics at schools and conferences. Visit her at www.thelivbits.com or follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Vimeo @thelivbits.