Hondo and Fabianby Peter McCarty
Hondo the dog gets to go to the beach and play with his friend Fred, while Fabian the cat spends the day at home.
Publishers WeeklyAn amiable showcase for McCarty's (Little Bunny on the Move) distinctive pencil art, this day-in-the-life tale centers on a dog and cat who live with a family, the only member of which readers see is a cherubic toddler referred to as "the baby." The plot is not long on action: pooch Hondo climbs into the family car (its vintage sets the tale in the 1930s or '40s) and travels to the beach, where he romps with a canine pal. Feline Fabian stays at home "to play with the baby." As the dogs "dive in the waves," the cat "dives for the door" (trying to escape the youngster's clutches). These quiet contrasts end with the winding down of the day: the dog's return, when he and the cat eat dinner from their respective bowls and, "full and fat," retire to their favorite resting spots. The minimalist narrative sets off the richness of the pictures, viewed as if through a scrim. Colors soften to a candlelit palette, enhancing the warm, nostalgic mood for an effect at once ingenuous and sophisticated. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's LiteratureFabian the cat stays home while Hondo the dog travels in the car to the beach, where he and his friend Fred play together. Fabian has cat fun at home, like playing with the baby and unrolling the toilet paper. When Hondo comes home, they eat dinner together, content with their day. In the briefest of sentences, one or two per page, a simple story unfolds to a satisfying ending. McCarty's pencils seem to caress the textured surfaces of the page, creating the softly modeled animals in their simple, spare, mutely colored environments. The low-key events invite the reader to elaborate from personal experience with dogs or cats, while lingering over the emotion-evoking illustrations.
Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library JournalTwo pets have a day devoid of excessive excitement. Simple pleasures amuse them as Hondo, the dog, plays at the beach with his puppy friend, while Fabian, the cat, stays home, eluding the family toddler and pulling toilet paper from the roll. Many easy-to-decipher, one-syllable words are repeated, giving children the opportunity to help with the reading. The few three-syllable words provide a challenge for the bold. The colored-pencil, selectively realistic illustrations are velvet-warm and fog-fuzzy. Hondo and Fabian have a gentle charm, and this amiable slice of life is a nice choice for bedtimes, for libraries needing more pet books, and for McCarty fans.-Jody McCoy, The Bush School, Seattle, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus ReviewsSepia-toned, subtly textured pencil drawings on cream-colored paper give this pet's-eye view of a day's adventures an air of polished, if slightly distant, elegance. Hondo the dog and Fabian the cat rise from their favorite snoozing spots to go in different directions: Hondo, to play on the beach with a furry friend; Fabian, to escape a toddler's clutches, and later to unroll some toilet paper. Both show unusual restraint—this may present a credibility problem for pet-owners—in passing up, respectively, a tempting bucket of just-caught fish, and a turkey sandwich, but after Hondo's return the two chow down from side-by-side pet dishes, then it's off to slumberland once again. Captioned by a very brief, present-tense text that passes the point of view back and forth, the illustrations convey a feeling of comfortable interspecies amiability more akin to Steven Kellogg's A Rose for Pinkerton (1981) than Donald Hall's I Am the Dog, I Am the Cat (1994).
The basic language allows children to elaborate on the story from their own experience and imagination. The large type size means this book will function well as a transitional book as your child starts to recognize words and practices reading. Parents will enjoy the vintage feel of Peter McCarty's exquisite pencil illustrations while children will respond to the loveable animals.
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