08 Mystery, Adventure and Lies

British Columbia
British Columbia
Rachelle Delaney British Columbia

Rachelle Delaney was named the top author under 30 in Canada (2010) by the Canadian Authors Association. When not writing novels, she works as a writer and editor for the David Suzuki Foundation. Her new book is The Metro Dogs of Moscow. @rkdelaney Read more

Cary Fagan Ontario

Cary Fagan is the award- winning author of several books for children and adults, including Jacob Two-Two on the High Seas. He comes to the Festival this year with two new books for children, Oy, Feh, So? and Danny, Who Fell in a Hole, and a novel for adults, A Bird’s Eye. Read more

Meg Tilly British Columbia

Meg Tilly is the author of three novels for young adults: Porcupine, First Time and, most recently, A Taste of Heaven, as well as two novels for adults: Gemma and Singing Songs. Tilly is also an award-winning actor. She appeared in The Big Chill, among other films, and recently starred on Global TV’s Bomb Girls. @meggamonstah Read more

Host: France Perras
Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Improv Centre
$17 / $8.50 for student groups

The metro dogs of Moscow are known for riding the subway and sniffing out food. But when a Jack Russell named JR discovers that strays are going missing, he’s on the scent immediately, thanks to Rachelle Delaney’s imagination. Cary Fagan is no stranger to creating riveting adventure stories either, and his latest begins with Danny falling into a deep construction hole, where he discovers a poetry-spouting mole. Meg Tilly’s tale surrounds two new—and fast—friends, one of whom holds a secret that could ruin everything, including trust and honesty. Join us for an afternoon of great stories, the kind that make childhood a delight.

Suitable for grades 4–7

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View the study guide for this event.

Mystery, Adventure and Lies

Rachelle Delaney, The Metro Dogs of Moscow
Cary Fagan, Danny, Who Fell in a Hole
Meg Tilly, A Taste of Heaven

Curriculum Connections:

  • Language Arts: character and plot development


Rachelle Delany got the idea for this novel from a newspaper article that she read, which described some stray dogs in Moscow that had learned to take the subway to get around the city. Sensing an excellent story, Rachelle immediately hopped online to find out more. And the more she read, the faster the story unfolded in her mind.

For two years, she read every article she could find about Moscow’s stray dogs, and took notes about possible characters and plot elements. She also set out to visit Moscow, and take in the sights, smells, and sounds of the city—and hopefully find some stray dogs.
The trip turned out to be a great success. Rachelle toured the Kremlin, took in St. Basil’s Cathe¬dral, rode the subway, and even visited other Russian towns and cities like St. Petersburg and Novgorod. She quickly realized that the real Moscow was noth¬ing like the one she’d described in her story (for one thing, it was much, much colder), so she took lots of notes and later re¬wrote many of the descriptions. Not only did the trip help her under¬stand and describe Russia, it gave her ideas for many more stories.

  • Sniffing out a good story: ask students to think of a story they once read or heard that have stuck in their minds, or ask them to open today’s newspaper and find one that interests them.
  • Writing challenge: once each student has chosen a story, ask them how they could make it into a longer story, by adding characters and details from their imagination. Have the students write their new stories (one page in length).
  • Reflection: have the students introduce the original stories they had chosen, and then share the stories that they have written. This can be done in small group discussions or in front of the class. Have the students discuss what kind of research they might do to improve the story, and why.