This month, we caught up with author Julie Falatko to find out more about her new book, “Two Dogs in a Trench Coat”! Don’t miss our Q&A below – but first, get the inside scoop about the story straight from its two canine stars, Sassy and Waldo!
Hi, Sassy and Waldo! Can you tell us about yourselves and this story?
“We are very good dogs. Honestly, we’re the best dogs. We keep all the squirrels out of the house. We’re total professionals about that. But every day our boy, Stewart, would come home from school and say he did nothing all day. Nothing! We could smell how bored he was. So we did the only obvious thing: we found a trench coat, stacked up on top of each other, and pretended to be a human student named Salty. There is running and catching, singing, lots of fun humans, and, best of all: LUNCH.”
And now, from author Julie Falatko!
Julie, what inspired you to write “Two Dogs in a Trench Coat”?
I probably shouldn’t admit how much time I spend imagining what my own two dogs are saying to each other. There’s a sense that all dogs think they’re very knowledgeable about the human world, but they are actually completely clueless about how things work. I loved the idea of expanding two dogs’ conversation into a whole book with a plot and human characters and all that. Once I had Waldo and Sassy’s voices down (and Salty’s, the “student” they’re pretending to be), I had a blast putting them in all kinds of ridiculous situations and seeing how they interpreted them.
The book’s illustrator, Colin Jack, created amazing artwork for the book! Which piece is your favorite and why?
In order to answer this question, I flipped through the book to decide which illustration I love best, and I got completely distracted by how hilarious all of the art is, and could not decide which is my favorite.
I’m going to pretend your question was “which drawing of each dog is your favorite?” because then I can pick two. I love the illustration where Ms. Twohey, the teacher, is in the middle of a science lesson about the senses, and she blows a dog whistle. Waldo snaps to attention, and the look on his face is so funny. My favorite drawing of Sassy is where she is being very helpful by bringing her squirrel toy to Stewart so he can use it in his project. She looks so earnest, holding that ratty squirrel in her mouth. It’s such an honest dog face, and I love it.
Which scene from the book did you enjoy writing the most?
I loved writing the scene where Stewart, Waldo, and Sassy are out on a walk, and the dogs start telling Stewart all about Squirreltown. The whole concept is so silly. It’s so much how Waldo and Sassy think, and how all dogs think, maybe. I had been walking my dogs the morning I wrote that scene and was thinking about how they are aware of where all the squirrels are, and, if they do chase them, they seem to be running them out of town rather than trying to catch them. And where would they be running them out of town to? Squirreltown, of course.
What’s next for Sassy and Waldo?
Waldo and Sassy’s next adventure will be in January of 2019, and it’s called Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Start a Club by Accident. Stewart joins a club, and the dogs don’t like it because there are no snacks. So they wait for him in the cafeteria, and before they know it some more students have joined them, and Salty is leading a club.
Author photo by Cara Dolan