Yesterday Marya Lucas, a new Chicago-based author, visited St. James to talk about her book Jack Chaps, Dog Detective: The Curious Case of the Cow and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. In this story, Jack Chaps explores the city of Chicago to solve the mystery behind who or what started the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Marya Lucas shared her research about the fire with the elementary students. She also discussed the theory that Mrs. O’Leary’s cow started the fire and talked about the effects of spreading rumors. Jacks Chaps, a papillon breed, joined Marya and the students in reading the book, answering questions and discussing the Great Chicago Fire research. Although the story is fiction, the research and facts are real and focus on the myths that surround the start of the fire.


Meet Marya Lucas and Jack Chaps

The following biographies are re-printed from the author’s website, 

1379249_382959825169659_347102332_nJack Chaps is a papillon, which is French for butterfly, after the breed’s large butterfly-shaped ears. Papillons are small-breed dogs known for their intelligence, agility, and grace. Like most papillons, Jack Chaps is both stylish and smart. It’s no surprise, then, that this pensive pup with panache put on a houndstooth hat and became a dog detective with a knack for solving city mysteries.

Jack Chaps originally hails from Columbia, Missouri. There, he spent his early days romping around a lush 10-acre spread. He was reared by the mothering paw of the family German Shepherd and was batted about by a sneaky little black cat. This created both a tender heart and some pluck in the young pup.

Eventually, a more expansive city skyline beckoned Jack Chaps, and this country pup became a city pup. Jack Chaps finally settled in Chicago’s historic Old Town. When not out cracking a case, Jack Chaps enjoys a good neighborhood trot, visiting with both furry and not-so-furry neighbors and friends, and running with gleeful abandon along the lakeshore. This dapper chap can also be seen strolling Michigan Avenue, sporting his stylish red bow tie. From Michigan Avenue’s glitzy glam, to a Wrigley Field ballgame (hotdogs & relish – yum!), all the way up to the spice and sparkle of Little India’s Devon Street, Jack Chaps does it all. He’s not just a dog detective, he’s the quintessential social butterfly and the apple of everyone’s eye! Chicago’s now quite simply his kinda town.

Please join in celebrating Jack Chaps’ debut as city sleuth extraordinaire!



Marya Lucas (aka Jack Chaps’ Publicist) also hails from Columbia, Missouri. There, she studied both law and journalism. She has published in several newspapers and journals and currently works as a legal researcher and writer in Chicago. Other interests include travel, photography, fiddle, and, most recently, tango and salsa. This is her first children’s book.



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