Dozens of Dachshunds, A Handful of Questions, and One Giveaway

Psst! Tammi here. Do I have a (doggy) treat for you! My pal Janee Trasler and her pup Pixie Belle are filling in for me this month.

Please welcome Janee and PIxie Belle!

Thank you, Tammi, for inviting me to write a guest post.

You know what, Picture Book Builders? Choosing just ONE picture book to write about is tough. I simply couldn’t decide, so I let my adorable puppy, Pixie Belle, do all the hard work. Who’s a good girl?!

(That would be Pixie Belle.)

Her pick is DOZENS OF DACHSHUNDS: A COUNTING, WOOFING, WAGGING BOOK from Bloomsbury, written by Stephanie Calmenson and illustrated by Zoe Persico. Nice choice, Pixie Belle!

We both had questions, so we were really happy Stephanie stopped by to give us the scoop on this charming book. What a treat.

JT: Wow, Stephanie. You have written an impressive number of books over the years. How many books do you have under your belt?

SC: I started out as a classroom teacher, but have spent most of my working life talking to children through my writing.  I guess there’s a lot I want to say because I’ve written over 100 books with more to come.  I’ve written fiction and nonfiction, in poetry and prose, in picture books and chapter books.  I also collaborated on many books with Joanna Cole, best known for her Magic School Bus series.  We felt very lucky to be friends, and luckier still to be friends who could write together.

PB: That sounds like a l-o-n-g list of books!

JT: Yes, it does. What’s your secret for staying relevant as the market and audience changes?

SC:I don’t worry too much about changes of the moment, believing that children will always love books that are fun to read, reflect their feelings, and teach them something new.

PB: Your doggy’s name is Harry, right? He’s furry handsome. Did he give you the idea for the book? Does he like treats? Can he come play with me?

JT: Good question. This book has almost as many layers as it has dachshunds. How DID you come up with the idea for DOZENS OF DACHSHUNDS?

SC: The answers to your questions, Pixie Belle, are yes, yes, and yes!  Harry is my treat-loving dog, who inspired me to write this book. When I brought Harry home, he was five months old and a sad, scared pup.  He needed some friends to cheer him up and I was thrilled to learn about the Dachshund Festival in New York City’s Washington Square Park.  Seeing hundreds of dachshunds happily gathered together, many in costumes, was irresistible for a children’s book writer.  It took me a long time, though, to figure out what book I wanted to write.  Finally the dachshund lover and former teacher in me got together and led the way to this counting, woofing, wagging book. 

(Meet Harry.)

PB: I especially like the Dachshund Chart.

JT: Yes! What gave you the idea to add such a useful extra?

SC: Dachshunds are remarkable in many ways, including their variety. It was important to me to show that dachshunds, like people, come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, and we love them all.

JT: The art is wonderfully inclusive (people AND dachshund-wise). Illustrator Zoe Persico did a fabulous job here. What kinds of art notes did you include? Were there any surprises in the artwork?

SC: I have been writing for a long time and have always noted on my manuscripts that I wanted a wide representation of people in my books.  This time I added that we needed a wide variety of dachshunds!  I was veryfortunate to be paired up with Zoe Persico, a fabulous artist who shares my strong feelings about inclusion. 

The surprise I had was the way she succeeded in countably and gracefully fitting seventy-eight dachshunds on one spread.  That was a tall order for any artist, even when the dogs are short.

PB: Is Harry one of the dozen dachshunds in the book? Does he like to dress up like the doggies in the book? What’s his favorite costume? I love him.

SC: Harry’s the dashing dachshund in a top hat, leading the way.  He’s always been very agreeable when it comes to wearing costumes.  I don’t know about a favorite, but he’s been very comfortable wearing a hat to keep the sun from his eyes. 

It’s been great fun talking with you, Janee, and with you, Pixie Belle.  We know and love several Chiweenies, including Joanna Cole’s granddog, Gracie.  And now we know and love you.

JT: Thank you for chatting with us, Stephanie. Pixie Belle and I will be reading this book at LEAST a dozen times.


To learn more about Stephanie, please visit her website:

P.S. Pixie Belle also picks these picture books:


For a chance to win a copy of DOZENS OF DACHSHUNDS: A COUNTING, WOOFING, WAGGING BOOK, leave a comment on this post. For an extra entry please share a link to this post on Twitter. Be sure to tag Janee @janeetrasler, Stephanie @CalmensonKidBks, and Tammi @SauerTammi.

Tammi Sauer

Tammi Sauer, a former teacher and library media specialist, is a full-time children's book author who presents at schools and conferences across the country. Getting kids excited about reading and writing is Tammi's passion. Her other passion is mango tea. In addition to winning awards and garnering starred reviews, Tammi's books have gone on to do great things. Nugget & Fang was made into a musical that toured the nation. To date, the show has been performed more than 150 times. Wordy Birdy was named a Spring Kids' Indie Next pick, a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year, an Amazon Best Book of the Month, and a Barnes & Noble Best Book of the Month. Your Alien, an NPR Best Book of the Year, was released in Italian, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, and French which makes her feel extra fancy. Tammi's latest books include Nugget & Fang Go to School, The Farm that Mac Built, and Not Now, Cow. There are many more books on the way. To learn more about Tammi, visit her site at


  1. What an adorable book, Janee. Congratulations! It’s on my to read list.

  2. I love dog books! This looks adorable Janee. Congrats!

  3. This book looks like so much fun! Growing up, our family had a dachshund named Hans. Can’t wait to read this!

  4. Wonderful post! So interesting!

  5. Danielle Hammelef

    I am a dog person and think this book will be fun to read. I have fond memories of our neighbor’s dachshunds and this parade is awesome.

  6. Love this! My parents have two dachshunds so this will be a must purchase for my niece!

  7. Yay for dachshunds! I grew up with them and miss my little Bear. He had a cute pumpkin costume to wear on Halloween and was very popular with the trick-or-treaters.

    This book looks adorable and I would have made my mom read it to me over and over and over again.

  8. This book reminds me of my neighbor’s dog, Schnitzel. I bet I will find him in its pages.

  9. So charming!
    Loved the seventy-eight dachshunds spread too!

  10. This is such a fun filled post featuring a delightful picture book. I look forward to reading DOZENS OF DACHSHUNDS: A COUNTING, WOOFING, AND WAGGING BOOK.

  11. This is sure to be a favorite!


    Very cute counting book! Congratulations on your continued success!

  13. Grew up with a dachshund. They are pretty cool dogs!
    Great job on the book and the inclusiveness.

  14. Now I know how to pronounce dachshund! I was never confident that I had it right. (Oh, and I love the text and picture for the cone-costumed dogs!)

  15. Cute! I’d love to read this book to my dachshund Sadie (she’s also part Chihuahua so that makes her a Chiweenie).

  16. Rosemary Basham

    Saw this at the library. So cute!

  17. This looks like a fun book! Wonderful illustrations and a fun rhyming text.

  18. Melissa Darrow

    What an adorable book! I would love to share this story with my students and add it to our classroom library! Thank you for the great interview too!

  19. Jennifer Decker

    I’ve always loved dachshunds! I have one that just turned 9. I wish you the best of luck! This book looks wonderful!!

  20. Can’t wait to read it! Dog books are my absolute favorite books ??

  21. This looks adorable! Congratulations, Stephanie & Zoe. Thanks for such a fun post, Janee and Pixie Belle!

  22. Susan Contreras

    I love the idea of this book. My Doxies think we should add it to our library.

  23. Dogs and counting—a great kid combo book! Love the artwork!

  24. So fun! Thanks for sharing!

  25. Carmela McCain Simmons

    Oh! How I adore everything about this! As a former educator, I love the concept, the inclusiveness, and the stunning artwork! Also, we grew up with wire-haired dachshunds in Peru. I will have to get a copy for my nephew who uses a wheelchair. His doxie Peanut often hitches a ride.

  26. Sheri Delgado-Preston

    We love dogs! What a great book:) Excited to read it.

  27. Janee and Stephanie, thank you for a great interview. Looks like such a fun book! I love all the art and didn’t realize there were so many types of dachshunds.

  28. What an adorable book, my kids would love it! We have a dachshund at home, Arlo who is clearly the master of our house ?. Great interview.

  29. What an adorable picture book. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy! Thanks for the post.

  30. Such a hoot! I need to grab a copy for my neighbor who has two senior dachshunds who get acupuncture + hydrotherapy:-)

  31. Your book sounds wonderful! Congratulations! Your success is so inspiring, and Pixie Belle is absolutely adorable. Thank you for sharing your story.

  32. I love dachshunds, and used to have a mix, so sweet!

  33. Thanks for including the proper pronunciation pic! I stand corrected! Haha.

  34. I love dog books…and dachshunds! What a delightful book!

  35. Hannah Roy LaGrone

    The book looks adorable! Always happy to find more examples of current rhyming mentor PBs as well!

  36. Stephanie, I have to see this book to learn about dachshunds!!

  37. Love this! Also love the inclusive nature of the art!

  38. Charlotte Dixon

    Putting this book on my TBR list! My doxie is gone but he lives in my heart–furever! Loved reading this today!

  39. This sounds perfect for my kindergarten classes. I can’t wait to read it.

  40. My firsties would love this book! I also love how Stephanie included her dog Harry in it.

  41. Requesting for purchase at my local library and adding to my reading list! My dog Brinkley will love this. 🙂

  42. These books are so cute!

  43. Very cute! I’ve read one of those extra books you’ve shared, and I look forward to reading Dozens of Dachshunds! Congrats!

  44. Children LOVE books about dogs, books featuring dog characters, and dog books in general. Yours will be a hit! Love the illustrations and the concept.

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