“The language is pitch-perfect.”
The New York Times Book Review on Hondo & Fabian
“At once ingenuous and sophisticated.”
Publishers Weekly on Hondo & Fabian
“The colored-pencil, selectively realistic illustrations are velvet-warm and fog-fuzzy.”
School Library Journal on Hondo & Fabian
McCarty's subtly tinted illustrations have a still, dreamy, almost ghostlike quality that's rare in picture books for very young children…The text is equally endearing…it's a simple story, but completely satisfying.
The New York Times
Readers smitten with the soothing Caldecott Honor book Hondo and Fabian, about a sedate yellow Lab and a gray-striped housecat, may get a frisson of alarm from this book's title. Not to worry-McCarty maintains an even keel in this wry look at pets' everyday lives. Just as Hondo returns from an escorted walk, Fabian the tabby jumps out a ground-floor window. Fabian investigates springtime shrubberies ("He stops to smell the flowers/ and eats them"), while Hondo woozily cruises the kitchen table ("He stops to smell the butter/ and eats it"). The pets' similarities continue. In a breathless moment, Fabian faces three dogs on the lawn (which comically plays against the deadpan text, "The neighbors are happy/ to play chase with their new friend," followed by the pooch as victim inside-"The baby is happy/ to play dress-up with Hondo"). McCarty gives readers a suspenseful glimpse of the canine interlopers over Fabian's shoulder and a bird's-eye view of the chase. Fabian eludes them with a soaring lunge over a weathered wooden fence: "Fabian spends the rest of the day/ hiding under the porch./ Hondo spends the rest of the day/ napping on the bed." McCarty's parallel sentences and soft-focus pencil illustrations hint that Hondo and Fabian are too well-fed to stray. His characteristic pattern, one framed image and one sentence per spread, slows the pace. Yet the artist lends an enigmatic feline quality to Fabian's alert ears and confidently stiff tail, and a glimmer of mischief around Hondo's beady eyes and plush golden contours. McCarty shakes things up ever so slightly, then lets Fabian duck back in the door. "Where have you been, Fabian?" an unseen speaker casually asks, restoring tranquility with a rhetorical question. Ages 3-up. (May) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Fabian and Hondo, cat and dog friends, return for another low-key tale. After taking a walk, Hondo stays home, but Fabian escapes through the window. While we follow Fabian through the flowers, playing with the neighborhood pets, and finally hiding under the porch, on alternate double pages Hondo is helping himself to some butter, entertaining the baby, and napping on the bed. The friends meet again at the front door as Hondo is leaving for another walk and welcomes Fabian back. It is a simple story told with deceptively simple illustrations. There is a quiet formalism in the scenes created lovingly in pencil to produce sculpturesque characters with a minimum of props. Subtle tints reinforce the events; even in scenes of playful chasing the excitement is subdued. Particularly in the scenes where Hondo is napping or Fabian stretching, we find them appealing and lovable.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
The animal friends from Hondo & Fabian (Holt, 2002) return for another adventure. This time, readers follow Fabian the cat out the window while Hondo the dog stays home with the baby. Illustrated with pencil on watercolor paper artwork, McCarty's second installment is characterized by the same color schemes, softened shapes, and low light as the first book, and depicts equally likely experiences for a cat on the lam and a dog stuck inside with a toddler. Fans of the first title will find neither disappointments nor surprises here. Catherine ThreadgillCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Hondo the dog and Fabian the cat are back, and this time, it's Fabian's turn for an outdoor adventure. After Hondo returns from a normal walk around the block, the cat leaps out the window. McCarty contrasts each pet's parallel activities in humorous ways: Fabian smells-and eats-flowers, while Hondo goes for the butter in the kitchen. Signature pencil illustrations are as meticulously rendered and palely luminous as ever, yet often belie benign-sounding textual details. When Fabian "meets the neighbors," McCarty depicts a stare-down between cat and three intent-looking dogs. Opposite "The neighbors are happy to play chase with their new friend," the dogs pursue Fabian, who runs flat out. Hondo, ready for another walk (after dress-up play with the household toddler, and extensive napping), encounters Fabian, bolting inside after spending a good part of the day hiding under the porch. Beautifully composed, well-balanced text and illustrations result in a lovely reprise of Hondo and Fabian (2002), a Caldecott Honor title. Children will enjoy the story's gentle, rhythmic exploration of pet relationships. (Picture book. 3-6)