Book 1: Kibble Talk
Tawny put the smelly chunk of dog kibble in her mouth and chewed. Yuck! But what else could she do? Her best friend had dared her!
Little did she know how that dusty, tasteless lump would change her life. Suddenly she could hear what dogs had to say and talk back to them too! This might not be such a big deal, except that her own dog, an enormous Great Dane named Dinky, has a LOT to say. He lets her know right away that his fondest dream is to be a tiny lap dog. Tawny promises to help him, and her life nearly goes to the dogs.
“I liked the author’s ability to seemingly get into the minds of dogs (and even cats) & express their crazy thoughts! Fun read for the whole family.”
“In between the laughs, the author managed to slip in great life lessons about keeping promises and paying attention to the feelings of the people around you.”
Available on Amazon
Book 2: Dog Goner
Secrets will be revealed! Fondest wishes will be fulfilled! Permacrud will be . . . what the heck is permacrud, anyway?
Tawny and Jenny, along with their dogs Dinky and Gunner, have set themselves on a mission. But there’s someone else with a fondest wish, and they’ll do anything to get it. Can Dinky save the day before he becomes a dog goner?
“Books that are fun, comical, touching, and well written are such a joy and this is one of them. Our whole family highly recommends it.”
“Things work out to a satisfying conclusion with the same warmth and silly humor that characterizes the first book. A clean, funny, enjoyable read for kids.”
“Everyone who is a kibble talker learns more about how to treat others by listening to their four legged friends.”
Available on Amazon
CIR: What gave you the inspiration for this book?
PORT: A dog, of course! Kodiak was 160 pounds of cuddle, but because I am not a giant, she simply did not fit into my lap. She had to make do with resting her lap-dog-sized head there instead, but I always knew she was a tiny dog trapped inside a big dog’s body.
CIR: What do you hope your readers will get out of this series?
PORT: Underneath all the laughs, this book is about paying attention to the very people we are most likely to take for granted—our immediate family. Tawny’s dog Dinky hints at some big things happening in Tawny’s family that she has completely overlooked. More importantly, she discovers that there are things she can do to make everyone happier. I’d like readers of Kibble Talk, young and old, to take a second look at their own family and close friends. Does someone need something that they can provide?
CIR: What are the main characters like, and are any of them based on people (or dogs) that you know?
PORT: Tawny is spunky and adventurous, but has a good head on her shoulders. She’s no girly girl, but that doesn’t mean she won’t paint her nails with her best friend . . . or her dog. I see her as a modern “every girl” who, when surrounded by talking dogs, doubting parents, and a bossy best friend, finds a way to make it all make sense. Lots of the characters are based on people I know. Like Tawny’s mom, I’m a big crafter. And like her dad, my husband is a fanatic about bicycling. Growing up, I had a dog much like poor Gunner. Most interesting to me, though, is the character that is not like anyone I know: Jenny. She’s the best friend we all wish we’d had: fierce, witty, cunning and intensely loyal. She’s more fun than Christmas on the beach, but she also has a way with words—in that, whenever she is using words, people get out of the way!
CIR: What makes your book unique?
PORT: That’s a great question because there isn’t exactly a dearth of books, movies and TV shows that involve talking animals, or even talking dogs, is there? First off, you will never meet a talking dog quite like Dinky. He knows everything any human has ever known throughout time (as all dogs do). He adores people, but is fully aware of our foibles. All this makes him both a fount of wisdom and a fount of cunning snark. Secondly, while the key plot in the book centers on a type of magical fantasy (being able to talk to your dog), the larger context is an ordinary family with serious, but ordinary, problems. As a result, children relate to Tawny and her family on a very personal level. While the basic plot (talking dog) is not unusual, the characters and story line for both Kibble Talk and Dog Gone Dinky are as inventive as the minds of the children reading them. We’ve got dentist detectives, leprechauns, computer gaming villains, a retention pond full of a rare and precious substance, a lovesick big brother, organic food obsessions, leap babies, squirrel on a stick, and on and on – and it all makes hilarious sense!
CIR: Do you have any special messages for teachers or other adults considering your book for a young person?
PORT: One of the things I am most proud of about this series is its accessibility and acceptance by even reluctant readers. Several of my reviews mention this, that is, that a child who does not normally enjoy reading devoured Kibble Talk in one sitting and then asked for more. Out of all JK Rowling successes, her greatest to me is the number of readers she created out of children who would have otherwise grown up to be nonreaders. Now THAT is a worthy accomplishment, and since I count my three nephews in that group, for me it is personal. Receiving similar accolades for my Kibble Talk series makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
CIR: Is there more coming?
PORT: You know it! Book three, entitled What Dat? is on its way! Expect it out toward the end of 2014. I’m also doing some final edits on an historical fiction novel. Set in Australia in the 1970’s, it deals with the rabbit plague and the Stolen Generation (when aborigine children were stolen from their families to be raised by whites).
Learn more about Cynthia Port and her writing at Cynthiaportbooks.com
Lia London, host of this site, has read Kibble Talk and barked with laughter. See the review here.