Peter McCarty, 2003 Caldecott Honor winner, soothes and charms us with this playful tale about a dog and cat having fun in different ways. Through grainy, soft illustrations that reflect their innocent lifestyles, Hondo the dog and Fabian the cat are separated for the day when the pooch takes off for the beach while the kitty stays home. Yet while Hondo is busy cavorting around with his pal Fred, Fabian is occupied at home playing with the baby and unraveling the toilet paper roll. Of course, both animals are concerned about their bellies most of all, and after Hondo returns, the two chow down and hit the hay.
It's a simple life for these two housemates, and McCarty captures their attitudes perfectly. Muted, primary colors set against earth tones impart a glow to his pictures, making Hondo's beach day soothingly breezy and Fabian's domestic hijinks hilarious. With these two animals to help lift our spirits, readers will respond with an admiring cheer. Matt Warner