COURTESY MUTUAL PUBLISHING CO.
Such a clever dog.
See Spot run. See Spot fetch. See spot use a computer and watch TV.
Man's best friend is gets his turn in the spotlight in a new children's book, "A Clever Dog."
Meet author Jefferson Finney and illustrator Pegge Hopper:
» Friday: 3 to 6 p.m., Daughters of the Hawaii Book Fair, Queen Emma's Summer Palace
» Nov. 18: 6 to 8 p.m., Macy's Ala Moana Center
» Dec. 1: Noon to 1 p.m., Borders Waikele
» Dec. 2: Noon to 1 p.m., Borders Pearlridge; 2 to 3 p.m., Borders Windward Mall
» Dec. 8: 4 to 5 p.m., Borders Ward Centre
Author Jefferson Finney and illustrator Pegge Hopper pay tribute to dogs everywhere with a tale about one exceptionally smart canine. A little more talented than most, the hero of this particular tale cannot only sit, up, roll and beg, he can also use a computer and drive a car -- all without the knowledge of his owners, of course.
The shenanigans happen only after the unsuspecting humans in the household have gone to bed.
First-time author Finney, a Star-Bulletin staff member, relied on his background in education for this new children's tale from Mutual Publishing Co. Finney, who has worked the last five years in the Newspapers in Education program, is a former schoolteacher; he has a master's in curriculum development from Stanford University.
"The book is for people from 3 years old to adults," said Finney. "The key thing is not dumbing it down for kids. Kids are a whole lot smarter than we give them credit for."
Finney modeled the tale not only on the pets he had during his childhood in Northern California, but also on one special dog belonging to friends here in Hawaii: Tuscany, a spirited black-and-white mixed-breed dog adopted from a shelter.
There's a little bit of every dog in the hero of the story, said Finney, but the book is mostly on Tuscany's inquisitive spirit. "He is a rapscallion."
Hopper's lively, simple pastel-and-marker illustrations complement Finney's tale. Drawing panels quickly in 90-minute sessions, Hopper aimed for a "fresh and fun," nonstudied look. Like Finney, this is the first time the high-profile local artist has worked on a children's book.
Hopper is a longtime friend of Finney and his extended family. "He's got a real gift," she said. "He was the person I wanted to please the most."
A dollar from each of the $15.95 books sold will benefit the Hawaiian Humane Society.