cover image Officer Katz and Houndini: A Tale of Two Tails

Officer Katz and Houndini: A Tale of Two Tails

Maria Gianferrari, illus. by Danny Chatzikonstantinou. Aladdin, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4814-2265-9

A police officer faces off against a wily magician in this pun-soaked story from Gianferrari (the Penny & Jelly series) and Chatzikonstantinou (My Grandma’s a Ninja). The Great Houndini, a canine traveling magician, comes to Kitty City every year with the same show and a habit of defacing a portrait of the town founder, Davy Crock-cat (why the citizens continue to welcome him back is unclear). Officer Katz is ready to catch Houndini once and for all, and he puts together three traps for the escape artist to evade. Chatzikonstantinou emphasizes the rivals’ mischievous expressions and motives, but the cat- and dog-themed wordplay often comes across as forced (“My Katz-box will put Houndini in the doghouse,” Officer Katz tells the “paw-parazzi”), and the use of newspaper headlines and stories to frame in-progress scenes of Officer Katz gloating and Houndini magically escaping doesn’t work terribly well from a logical standpoint. In the end, Officer Katz and Houndini realize they are better off on the same side, ending this confrontation on an amicable note. Ages 4–7. [em]Author’s agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator’s agency: Lemonade Illustration. (Oct.) [/em]