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by Denise Fleming

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Buster hoped there would be juicy steaks or fancy cheeses or spicy sausages in the box. But inside was something Buster did not want. And that something was a cat named Betty.

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Buster hoped there would be juicy steaks or fancy cheeses or spicy sausages in the box. But inside was something Buster did not want. And that something was a cat named Betty.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Two's a crowd when a feline interloper disrupts a contented pooch's way of life in this clever cross between picture book and chapter book. Buster lives a dog's life, to be sure. He loves his "dishes with his name painted on them in curvy letters," his large grassy yard and Brown Shoes, the owner who takes him to the park whenever he asks. But this ideal picture changes the day that "the big box" arrives-containing not spicy sausages, as hoped, but a white cat named Betty. The furry new addition tries her best to get Buster's attention ("She slept in Buster's dishes with the curvy letters. Buster ignored her. She ran up and down and around Buster's tree. Buster ignored her") but Buster reaches his limit and runs away, only to get lost in an unfamiliar park. It's Betty, in surprising fashion, who leads Buster home. Fleming (Alphabet Under Construction) brings a cheerful childlike tone to her text, along with abundant touches of humor and tenderness-and a clear understanding of pet (and child) dynamics. In a fresh-looking style that will especially appeal to beginning readers, she breaks her tale into brief "chapters," each bearing a title suited to the scenario ("The Big Box," "Lost," etc.). Her signature colored-pulp paintings exhibit a smooth confidence as Fleming varies her compositions from full-bleed spreads to spot illustrations, all in a joyous palette dominated by snappy greens and yellows. Buster, a lively auburn pup who looks like he could be part fawn, is a scene-stealer with his expressive eyes and lifelike movements. And Buster won't be the only one happy to see ball-of-fluff Betty at book's end. Ages 4-7. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Buster is a contented dog that has everything he could possibly want. He has dishes with his name painted on them, a large grassy yard, a tall oak tree, a sandpit, an in-and-out flap, a basket full of toys, a radio, and Brown Shoes. Brown Shoes, his person, takes him to the park whenever he wants to go. One day, Brown Shoes brings home a large box. Buster is hoping that it contains something tasty. Instead he finds a cat named Betty, and Buster is afraid of cats. He ignores her, hoping that she will go away. She does not. Betty sleeps in his dishes, digs in his sandpit, runs in and out of his flap, hides his toys, and changes the station on his radio. Buster runs away to a nearby park. He enjoys his carefree time until he realizes he is lost. A familiar waving ball of white fur in the top of a tall tree helps him find his way back home and Buster is once again a happy dog. Fleming's colorful trademark illustrations are created by pushing colored cotton fiber through hand-cut stencils. These brilliantly-colored pulp paintings feature a red Buster against bright yellows and greens. This picture book is broken up into short two-page chapters. Each has a title describing the story line ("A Fine Park," "Betty," etc.). Educational applications might include introduction of the concept of chapters and simple map reading skills. This one is a winner. 2003, Henry Holt and Company, Ages 4 to 7.
— Pat Williams
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Buster, a red-coated pooch, has everything he wants out of life, including personalized food dishes and a comfortable backyard with all the amenities. However, when his owner brings home a fluffy white kitten, the dog's world falls to pieces. No matter how hard Betty tries to make friends, Buster remains terrified of her. Fed up, he slips under the fence, finds his way to an unfamiliar park, and enjoys a peaceful, feline-free afternoon. Finally ready to head home, he realizes that he is lost and experiences a few frightening moments until Betty comes to his rescue. After receiving an affectionate welcome from the kitten, Buster realizes that he has "-everything he could ever want-and more." Fleming's trademark handmade-paper artwork is awash with vibrant colors and dazzling details. Body language and expressive facial features establish the personalities and reflect the emotions of the characters. A mix of double-page pictures and smaller vignettes sets the scene and keeps the action moving quickly. An eagle's-eye map of Buster's route home will have children following each twist and turn. Divided into six titled sections, this picture book has the pace and feel of a beginning chapter book. The format, as well as the use of repetitive language, makes this heartwarming tale a good choice for emergent readers, while the eye-catching illustrations make it perfect for either groups or one-on-one sharing.-Joy Fleishhacker, formerly at School Library Journal Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Buster was a happy dog who had everything he could ever want, until his owner brought home a big box-no steaks or sausages inside, just a little white cat named Betty. Buster tries ignoring her, but she sleeps in his dishes, digs in his sandpit, and hides his toys. He tries escaping by running to the park-where he gets lost. Nobody can tell him where he lives until he looks up and sees, in the top of a tall tree several streets over, a waving ball of white fur. "The tree looked very familiar. The waving ball looked very familiar." Fleming's signature paper-pulp illustrations turn a common theme into an original, charming story with a cunning resolution. Offering clever designs, even to the endpapers, Fleming barks up the right tree, as green-eyed Betty and red-furred Buster are definitely a match. (Picture book. 4-7)
Another winner from a popular, talented author and illustrator.
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Fleming's tale of the lovable if kitten-cowed Buster has a steadily rising momentum that will capture listeners from the opening lines.
The Horn Book
Fleming's pulp paintings are a celebration of shape, color, and texture.

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Product Details

Square Fish
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
7.97(w) x 9.96(h) x 0.10(d)
420L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

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Buster 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
book4children More than 1 year ago
Buster is a charming picture book about a dog that was perfectly happy until his owner brings home a cat. In order to escape from the cat, Buster runs away. It is an adorable tale of friendship and learning to adjust to new situations, even if we don't like them at first. Whimsical and bright illustrations make this a fun book just as charming in the visual aspect.