Gr. 2-4, younger for reading aloud. Catina (a cat) and Houndsley (you guessed it, a dog) are best friends, and they encourage each other as best friends do. Houndsley is mortified when he reads his friend's novel-in-progress, and realises that Catina has little writing talent. Then Catina encourages Houndsley to enter a cooking competition, and he's so nervous that he fouls the recipe and endures the judges' mockery. Together the friends confess that, rather than simply enjoying their activities, they secretly wanted to become famous. This early chapter book, while emphasising doing what you love, not what will bring acknowledgment, is heavy-handed. But it will still hit home with kids just learning about their own particular talents and passions, and the lively, brisk writing is wonderfully extended in Gay's airy watercolour-and-pencil illustrations, which keep the focus on the caring friends. Gillian Engberg
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JAMES HOWE is the acclaimed author of more than seventy books for young readers, including the much-lauded BUNNICULA and its sequels. Of HOUNDSLEY AND CATINA, he says, "When my daughter was little, my favorite books to read to her were about best friends like Frog and Toad, George and Martha, and Winnie-the-Pooh and the other inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood. HOUNDSLEY AND CATINA grew out of my love for books like these and my belief that friendship is worth far more than prizes or fame." MARIE-LOUISE GAY is the author and illustrator of many award-winning books, including the Stella and Sam series. She says of this book, "When I first read HOUNDSLEY AND CATINA, I was captivated by the evocative and emotional quality of their friendship. It was a joy to create these two wonderful characters and the world they live in."
Delicate watercolors capture the delight of a wintry day, and Howe's on-target portrayal of friends who get along despite bumps along the way make this special.--Booklist These endearing characters shine in this gentle and reflective read.--Kirkus Reviews Gentle, whimsical humor.--School Library Journal, starred review Illustrations glow with warmth and good spirits...an encouraging book on overcoming fears.--Booklist The lively, brisk writing is wonderfully extended in Gay's airy watercolor-and-pencil illustrations, which keep the focus on the caring friends.--Booklist Published in beginning-reader format, this gentle story will appeal to children's compassion as well as their sense of humor. Though the setting is a cold, sometimes-bleak autumn, Gay's pencil, watercolor, and collage artwork glows with warmth, style, and quiet pizzazz. An appealing book for independent readers in the early grades, the story will also make a good fall read-aloud for preschool classes.--Booklist A warm, gently humorous, makes-you-smile-all-over depiction of best friendship...here's hoping there are more adventures ahead for this cat and dog duo.--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Read this with a beginning reader before that first beautiful and sometimes frustrating snow day.--Chicago Tribune A sweetly engaging story...energetic watercolors brim with personality and humor.--Kirkus Reviews This charming trio of chapters implicitly testifies to the adage that opposites attract.--Publishers Weekly Delightful . . . Marie-Louise Gay's watercolors are sweet and cheery.--Scholastic Parent & Child Gay's soft watercolor-and-pencil illustrations with collage details are fun and lighthearted, and scenes are filled with activity and assorted sweet-looking animals. The ratio between text and pictures will appeal to new readers.--School Library Journal An animal tale both funny and wise.--Washington Parent Watercolor vignettes of cozy domestic interiors give way to expansive snowy vistas... third entry in a series that calls to mind the enduring friendship between Arnold Lobel's famous Frog and Toad--Washington Post