This Fenway Frank is actually a mouse
Seneca Clark often finds herself thinking like a child, which is especially advantageous when you're an author of children's books.
"When you get into that mind-set of thinking about things from a kid's perspective, sort of everything around you turns into this childlike world," says the Jamaica Plain resident.
It was just that sort of thinking that resulted in "Frankie Goes to Fenway: The Tale of the Faithful, Red Sox-loving Mouse," a collaboration between Clark, fellow author Sandy Giardi of Millis and illustrator Julie Decedue of Burlington.
A tale about a Vermont field mouse who moves to Boston to live at Fenway Park - the field of his dreams - "Frankie Goes to Fenway" celebrates the Boston Red Sox and its unabashedly loyal fan base, the three women say.
The book, the third to be published by the trio's 3-year-old publishing company, Three Bean Press, is hitting shelves in a number of bookstores and appearing online.
"It actually was inspired in an early-morning moment," says Clark of the book. "I was driving through the Fenway area one morning and there was a hot dog truck and my mind started wandering and wondering, 'what if there was a mouse on that truck?' And 'what if the mouse sold hot dogs?"'
And thus began the story.
Clark took the idea to Giardi and Decedue, and together they shaped it into the tale of Frankie who, upon arriving at Fenway Park, "meets new friends, enjoys sunny days in the grandstand watching his favorite team play and even opens a food stand."
"With the Sox leading the league, it's a rosy existence for Frankie until a bitter rival - in the form of a cat from New York - makes his presence known," publicity for the book reads. "When Boston's winning streak ends, can Frankie and friends save the day?"
"We've always sort of bounced ideas off one another," says Giardi. "As a team, we bring out the best in one another."
The three women met while working at Where magazine, where Giardi is still a contributing editor and writer. There, they discovered all three had a desire to work on a children's book.
"Sandy and I were both editors at the magazine, so we really have this nice collaboration writing together," says Clark, explaining, "One person might have the formative idea of the book, but from there it's really generated through both of us. We write the rough story and we give the first draft to Julie to begin illustrating and bringing it to the visual level. Julie will look at it from a different level and make suggestions, 'well what if the animals did this?' - it's very much a collaborative effort."
Decedue said she finds a lot of her own inspiration in her two nephews, with whom she is very close.
"And now I have a 10-month-old daughter, who inspires me all over again," she says. "I am also incredibly inspired by Seneca and Sandy's stories and the wonderful characters they create. It's so fun to bring them to life."
The stories, the women say, "come from everywhere," inspired by their own families and scenes they come across every day. Their first title, "Lily and the Imaginary Zoo," for example, was inspired by an article the three worked on about Boston sculptures for children. In the book, the animals in the sculptures come to life as Lily visits them.
The second book, "The Yellowest Yellow Lab," was inspired by Giardi's own easily spooked dog and, like the first book, is more for toddlers.
"Frankie Goes to Fenway," geared toward slightly older children, is described by Clark as a "hybrid between a first chapter book and a picture book."
"It's more for young readers and it's set up as chapters - they're called innings," she says. "It's 48 pages, but it's got a lot of illustrations in it."
"Frankie Goes to Fenway" is available for purchase at www.threebeanpress.com, amazon.com, and at The Harvard Coop, Borders at Downtown Crossing, Borders Burlington, Barnes & Noble at Boston University, Accents by Lovell, and Blackstone's of Beacon Hill.
Heather McCarron can be reached at email@example.com or 508-634-7584.
Milford Daily News