Bobbie’s book: Author of ‘Bobbie the Wonder Dog’ hosts readings

May 2016 Posted in Arts, Culture & History

"Bobbie the Wonder Dog"By Melissa Wagoner

In the summer of 1923, a journey began that would one day take on epic proportions.

Canvassing almost 3,000 miles and crossing much of the United States from Indiana to Silverton, a dog named Bobbie walked alone for six months in order to reunite with his family.

Over the years countless poems, essays and songs have been written heralding Bobbie’s journey. Recently the story came to the attention of a marketing manager at Graphic Arts Books in Portland and the idea for a children’s illustrated version was born.

“There were no 32-page picture books about Bobbie and really, what an adventure story for kids in this generation,” Tricia Brown, the author of Bobbie the Wonder Dog, A True Story, said.

Brown, the author of 30 books, eight of them for children, jumped at the chance to write a book featuring such an inspiring character.

Meet the author
Saturday, May 21, Tricia Brown will be at:
Silverton Kiwanis Booth, prior to Pet Parade
at 10 a.m. Coolidge St.
Books ‘N’ Time, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.,
210 N. Water St., Silverton
Silverton Safeway, 1 to 3 p.m.,
301 Westfield St.

“There’s so much more power in knowing that this really happened,” Brown explained.

Although Brown is a resident of Alaska, she logged some years living in Portland and she attended an annual quilting retreat at Silver Falls State Park.

“And every year, coming and going, I looked at that remarkable mural of Bobbie and stopped to look at his doghouse and statue. I knew about Bobbie for a long time before they asked me to write his story. So I really do see this book as a wonderful gift,” she said.

Brown wanted the book to be the most realistic portrayal possible and so she spent time researching old newspaper clippings, census records and maps of the territory Bobbie would have covered.

“I looked into the kind of automobile they were driving: an Overland Red Bird touring car, made by Willys. There was plenty of room on the wide, wide running boards for a dog to ride there,” Brown said. “But the greatest find of all was a copy of an old book called, Animal Pals: A Collection of True Stories, edited by Curtis Wager-Smith. It was published in Philadelphia in 1924, and includes an essay about Bobbie written by Frank Brazier himself, so every detail was still fresh and true. I couldn’t have asked for a better piece of source material.”

Brown’s book, Bobbie the Wonder Dog, is beautifully detailed and in it Bobbie has a prominent, almost human, personality, making him identifiable to young readers.

“First of all, it’s the horrible idea of getting separated from the people you love,” Brown explained. “Kids tend to align themselves with the protagonist, even if it’s an animal. So there’s that gut-feeling of ‘Oh, no!’ Or else, they’ve lost a pet themselves. But beyond that, Bobbie’s journey is a standout among those amazing animal stories. The children understand what a remarkable thing it is walking two-thirds across the country and right into his hometown! How in the world did he do it? It’s a mystery.”

Making the story approachable, even for non-readers, are the colorful illustrations by Cary Porter. A Portland resident, Porter generally works in commercial illustrations; this is his first children’s book.

“Reviewers have raved about his illustrations in Bobbie,” Brown said. “Couldn’t be happier to be teamed up with him.”

In honor of Bobbie, Brown will be taking part in Silverton’s annual Pet Parade on May 21.

“I get to ride in a 1932 Roadster in the parade. I’ll have lots of bookmarks and posters to give away,” she said.

Brown will be reading her book at three area schools in the days leading up to the parade and signing books in Silverton both before and after the parade. The book can be ordered through Books ‘N’ Time or from most online bookstores and is a great way to kick off summer reading.

“Go to the library and check out books all summer long, too. That’s the recipe for a future writer,” Brown said.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.