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Houndsley and Catina
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Houndsley and Catina

5.0 1
by James Howe, Marie-Louise Gay (Illustrator)

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The subtle dance of friendship - from holding your tongue to knowing what to say - is played out in three sweetly humorous tales about an unlikely, likable pair.

Catina wants to be a famous writer. Houndsley is an excellent cook. Catina thinks Houndsley is a wonder. Houndsley thinks Catina is a very good friend. So what should Houndsley say about Catina's


The subtle dance of friendship - from holding your tongue to knowing what to say - is played out in three sweetly humorous tales about an unlikely, likable pair.

Catina wants to be a famous writer. Houndsley is an excellent cook. Catina thinks Houndsley is a wonder. Houndsley thinks Catina is a very good friend. So what should Houndsley say about Catina's seventy-four-chapter memoir? And can Catina find the right words of comfort for Houndsley after the big cooking contest fiasco? James Howe's funny and endearing world of ginger tea, no-bean chili, and firefly watching is brought to life in cozy watercolors by Marie-Louise Gay in this tender chapter book about what it means to be friends.

Editorial Reviews

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
Publishers Weekly
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.
Children's Literature - Ilene S. Goldman
James Howe, author of such juvenile fiction as Bunnicula and The Misfits, has teamed up with award-winning author and illustrator of the Stella and Sam picture books, Marie-Louise Gay, to present Houndsley and Catina. Gay's illustrations are, as always, disarmingly sweet and detailed. Howe's language is perfectly pitched for his audience. And, Houndsley and Catina are lively protagonists. Catina is a writer and she wants to be the best writer. Houndsley is a good cook whose friends encourage him to enter his chili in a contest. But, it turns out that Houndsley cannot handle the pressure of cooking in front of an audience. And, writing actually bores Catina. The most important thing to each of them is their friendship. The importance of supportive, honest friendships is a time-honored traditional subject in children's literature, and this book is no exception. The combination of talent and topic should have created a memorable, exciting collaboration. This book, sadly, does not live up to that expectation. The three chapters do not connect smoothly to one another. Instead, we have three related but separate stories that are, ultimately, awkward to read together. The end result is a bit disappointing.
School Library Journal
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.
Kirkus Reviews
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)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Houndsley and Catina Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.10(d)
580L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

JAMES HOWE is the acclaimed author of more than seventy books for young readers, including the much-lauded BUNNICULA and its sequels. Of HOUNDSLEY AND CATINA, he says, "When my daughter was little, my favorite books to read to her were about best friends like Frog and Toad, George and Martha, and Winnie-the-Pooh and the other inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood. HOUNDSLEY AND CATINA grew out of my love for books like these and my belief that friendship is worth far more than prizes or fame."

MARIE-LOUISE GAY is the author and illustrator of many award-winning books, including the Stella and Sam series. She says of this book, "When I first read HOUNDSLEY AND CATINA, I was captivated by the evocative and emotional quality of their friendship. It was a joy to create these two wonderful characters and the world they live in."

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Houndsley and Catina 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago