Catina longs to be a famous writer but doesn't really like writing. Houndsley is a marvelous cook but cracks under the pressure of a cooking contest. Such are the trials of this lovable cat-dog duo, who cheer each other on in the discovery of their unique talents. Divided into three short, easy-to-read chapters, the story is a terrific introduction to chapter books. Sweet watercolor, pencil, and collage illustrations create a gentle world where best friends enjoy a summer night sitting in comfortable silence: "Everyone has talents. Watching fireflies was one of theirs." (Ages 6 to 8)
Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2006
The importance of friendship and of appreciating one's true talents lay at the heart of this appealing collaboration introducing a canine-feline pair. Howe's (Bunnicula) breezy narrative initially reveals Catina hard at work on her book, Life Through the Eyes of a Cat, which she hopes will launch her career as a famous, prize-winning author. When Houndsley reads the opus, he realizes that his best friend is "a terrible writer," yet tactfully keeps his opinion to himself ("I am at a loss for words," he tells her). In the following story, Houndsley enthusiastically whips up an appetizing feast for Catina and another pal. Declaring, "You could be famous!" Catina encourages him to enter a cooking contest and he does-with comically disastrous results. The final entry neatly brings resolution with a true confessions session that stresses the importance of friendship. Gay's charming watercolor, pencil and collage art exudes a spontaneous quality for the feline's environs and an orderliness for the pooch. Catina's dimly lit den wordlessly suggests that her heart is not in her authorial pursuits, while Houndsley's airy golden kitchen practically emits an appetizing aroma and his passion for cooking. This charming trio of chapters implicitly testifies to the adage that opposites attract. Ages 5-7. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
K-Gr 2-Catina, who has just completed Life Through the Eyes of a Cat, looks forward to winning prizes and being famous. Houndsley thinks that the book is terrible, but spares her feelings by telling her that her writing leaves him speechless. He is such a good cook that Catina and their friend Burt convince him to enter a cooking contest, but he is so nervous that he undercooks the rice and leaves out the beans in his three-bean chili. In the end, Houndsley realizes that he is happy to experience the joy of cooking; he can live without fame, and Catina confesses that she does not enjoy the process of writing. Houndsley suggests that she can be famous for something else and tells her that she is good at being a friend. Catina purrs: "Being your friend is better than being famous." Gay presents distinctive watercolor, pencil, and collage illustrations in varying layouts to illuminate the story. The dog and cat exude emotion and motion in modest, vintage homes and beautiful outdoor settings. This intimate look at friendship is a welcome addition to series such as Arnold Lobel's "Frog and Toad" (HarperCollins) and Elissa Haden Guest's "Iris and Walter" (Harcourt).-Laura Scott, Farmington Community Library, MI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Houndsley, a good cook, and Catina, a misguided memoirist, pursue goals out of step with their true natures in this humorous beginning reader, the first of a series. Extroverted Catina, bent on fame and prizes, produces 74 chapters of terrible autobiography, a fact that Houndsley can't bring himself to point out. When Catina persuades her limelight-loathing friend to enter a cooking contest, he panics at the crowds and botches a favorite recipe. Later, contemplating fireflies together, Houndsley realizes that for him, cooking well is its own reward, while Catina resolves to come by her fame honestly, by finding and practicing something she loves to do. Gay's pale watercolor-and-pencil illustrations include small, appealing details and amusing facial expressions. The front endpaper is decorated with the pattern on Catina's collaged dress, while the back endpaper echoes Houndsley's pants. Howe competently mixes the format's conventions-friends of the opposite sex, serial adventures in short chapters and a few kid-friendly object lessons. A pleasantly seasoned potboiler. (Easy reader. 5-8)
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.
These endearing characters shine in this gentle and reflective read.
Gentle, whimsical humor.
—School Library Journal, starred review
Illustrations glow with warmth and good spirits…an encouraging book on overcoming fears.
The lively, brisk writing is wonderfully extended in Gay’s airy watercolor-and-pencil illustrations, which keep the focus on the caring friends.
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.
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.
A sweetly engaging story…energetic watercolors brim with personality and humor.
This charming trio of chapters implicitly testifies to the adage that opposites attract.
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.
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