Monthly Archives: September 2016

Welcome to the Spotlight Betsy Devany and Lucy’s Lovey!

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I am beyond thrilled to celebrate the book birthday of this awesome debut picture book, not only because the author is a dear friend, but also because this is a fantastic book with absolutely amazing illustrations. Stay tuned below to enter a drawing for a signed copy of this picture book!

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Lucy’s Lovey by Betsy Devany, illust. by Christopher Denise (Christy Ottaviano Books/2016)

Lucy has seventeen dolls, but Smelly Baby is her favorite. Lucy takes her everywhere and Smelly Baby is well-loved; a little raggedy and a little smelly. Lucy’s older sister Ivy complains, but when Smelly Baby is lost, Ivy and the family come together to try to first find Smelly Baby, and then to comfort Lucy. Will Lucy get her favorite lovey back? Sweet story with sweet illustrations!

Spotlight on Betsy Devany:

What was the spark behind the idea for Lucy’s Lovey and how did it grow into a story?

The spark that most likely launched me into first drafting Lucy’s Lovey was a charming, dolly-obsessed girl who visits the Toy Soldier fairly frequently, and with whom I’ve had many dolly conversations. One particular Sunday, her description of a recent dolly party ignited my imagination and led me to writing Lucy’s Lovey.

Beyond working at the toy store, which offers endless inspiration, once I’d completed a few revisions, I realized two life experiences had unknowingly found their way into Lucy’s story: 1) My niece, Sofi, used to line up all of her large collection of stuffies and dollies, calling out each of their personalized names. 2) When I was four, my beloved Little Bear got lost. Like a dog, Little Bear loved to feel the breeze when he’d hang out of the window of a vehicle, and in this case it was a taxicab. The dialogue exchange between my mother and I at the time is mirrored in Lucy’s Lovey. “Be careful with Little Bear,” my mother had warned. “I am,” said my four-year-old self seconds before Little Bear sailed away on the breeze.

Lucy is independent and loving, even when it comes to dealing with her grandma’s doll-snatching dog and an older sister who doesn’t quite love Smelly Baby. I adore Lucy! Is she based on anyone you know?

I see a lot of myself in Lucy, and though I didn’t meet her until after the ms was sold, Christopher’s youngest daughter Esme reminds me of Lucy. She, too, has a rich imagination, a positive sense of self, and a delightfully spunky personality. My two daughters also had special loveys, and they are still as independent and loving today as they were as kids. One carried a sea otter around, the other was obsessed with Figment.

Lucy has many dolls, but one true favorite. Do or did you have a favorite lovey? What was it?

My childhood lovey was Little Bear. After Little Bear left on a long trip, from which he has yet to return, I transitioned to a tinier mohair bear by Steiff, who I also named Little Bear. 12 cm tall and five-way jointed, Little Bear played with other Steiff bears, Cousin Bear and Grandpa Bear. I remember making tiny felt vests and teeny tiny newspaper hats for them to wear. I also loved dolls, mostly baby dolls. I spent hours playing house with them. My brother and I especially enjoyed winter, when we would bundle up our make-believe families and pretend we lived under our front yard pine tree.

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Thank you so much for featuring me and Lucy’s Lovey on DEBtastic Reads!

Thank YOU, Betsy!

Betsy Devany has been writing for all ages of kids for over twenty years. Aside from being a first-time author, she loves reading, photography, birding, acting silly with her grandkids, and working at an old-fashioned toy store in Mystic, where she delights in meeting rag-tag (sometimes smelly) loveys.

For more about Betsy and her books, check out her web site, friend her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

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To win a signed copy of Lucy’s Lovey for yourself, a child, or a school or library, follow these directions to enter in the drawing:

1. Comment on this post by Sunday, Oct. 2nd, by midnight EST. A winner will be drawn at random and contacted on Tuesday, Oct. 4th (be sure to include your email address).

2. Entrants must have a US mailing address.

Good luck and happy reading!

EDITED TO ADD: Congratulations to Valarie Giogas who won the signed copy of LUCY’S LOVEY! Thank you to everyone for stopping by! Stayed tuned for more interviews and give-aways!

Win an ARC of A CRACK IN THE SEA

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I just finished reading the ARC of A CRACK IN THE SEA by Heather Bouwman (G.P. Putnam’s Sons/January 2017). I loved this amazing MG novel so much I want one of you to be able to read it well in advance of the pub date. What’s it about? Hmmm….there are three stories interwoven: a boy with a gift for speaking with the fish is kidnapped from his island home by the Raft King, a slave ship full of sick slaves including the heroic and courageous Venus, and a boy and his make-shift family escape war-torn Vietnam – and a crack in the sea. Oh…and did I mention a Kraken love story? Leave your name in the comments section and I’ll draw one name at random tomorrow morning and send the ARC to a lucky winner. (I’m also posting this on my personal FB page so you’ll have some additional competition.) You must have a U.S. mailing address.

Good luck and happy reading!

EDITED TO ADD: The winner is Kristen W. Nitz! (Names were also drawn from comments made on my personal Facebook page. I normally don’t do that, and in the future will revert back to only choosing names from this blog.)