Book Review: Houndsley and Catina

This charming easy reader was another finalist for the 2009 CYBILS Awards.

Houndsley (a dog) and Catina (a cat) are two best friends who see the best in each other. Catina dreams of being a famous author. Houndsley is a wonderful cook. But what happens when each friend is faced with telling the other that things aren’t as good as they think? How does one be honest without hurting feelings?

Catina writes a seventy-four chapter memoir, which Houndsley feels is horrible. Catina convinces Houndsley to enter a cooking contest where his nerves get the best of him and not only does he undercook the rice, but also forgets to put the beans in this Three-Bean Chili. In the end, Houndsley figures out that cooking for the mere pleasure of cooking is enough, and Catina admits that she doesn’t like to write. Houndsley suggests that she could be famous for being something else. Food and fame aside, the friends relish in the quiet joy that comes from true friendship.

James Howe writes a tale of two friends with a charming quality that is sure to please. Marie-Louise Gay’s gentle watercolor illustrations add to the cozy, snuggle-down feeling of the story that took me back to the days of Frog and Toad. This 48-paged story would be a delight for an early reader who is ready to take on smaller text and more words per page than an emergent reader.

Houndsley and Catina by James Howe/Illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay/ ISBN-10: 0763624047/2006/Candlewick.