cover image Houndsley and Catina

Houndsley and Catina

James Howe, , illus. by Marie-Louise Gay. . Candlewick, $14.99 (36pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-2404-0

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.)