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Houndsley and Catina by James Howe
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Houndsley and Catina

by James Howe

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Having recently noticed an online friend giving five-star ratings to some of the later books in this series, I thought I had better track down the first, and see what I was missing. Divided into three mini-chapters, this early-reader follows the story of best friends Houndsley the dog, and Catina the cat. In The Writer, Houndsley is dismayed to discover that Catina's book - Life Through the Eyes of a Cat - isn't any good, and must find a way to be truthful, while avoiding any hurt feelings. In Cooking Contest, Catina encourages Houndsley to enter a culinary competition, and remains supportive and positive when he forgets some very basic ingredients. And finally, in Fireflies, the two friends reflect upon their experiences, and discover that they already have something much more valuable than acclaim: each other.

The early reader genre boasts many superb friendship tales, from Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad series to James Marshall's George and Martha books. But while Howe's gentle, warm-hearted narrative is quite pleasing, and Canadian artist Marie-Loise Gay's watercolor and pencil illustrations are charming, Houndsley and Catina didn't strike me as an especially brilliant example of the type. Still, I think the target audience will appreciate it, and an engaging, well-illustrated early-reader series is always a good thing! ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jul 18, 2013 |
Sweet, simple beginning chapter book features lively, friendly watercolor pictures of Houndsley the dog and Catina the cat. The stories are about friendship. Houndsley gently, quietly supports his cat friend as she explores the possibility of becoming an author despite her lack of talent. Houndsley enters a cooking contest, unsuccessfully.Great introduction to fiction for children. This will keep them coming back to books again and again! ( )
  danusia | Jan 14, 2010 |
A good example of fantasy because Houndsley and Catina are a cat and dog friendship duo who are personified in that they cook, write books, and speak to each other. They wear clothing and walk as a human would. Catina writes a massive book and is sure it will make her famous, but when Houndsley reads it, he is not too impressed with the writing that seems half-hearted anyway. Unsure of how to tell Catina how he feels, he remains speechless regarding this book. Then, Houndsley cooks his friends a meal and they arrange for him to enter a cooking contest. Although he prefers to cook for fun, Houndsley is anxious to cook. When he messes up the chili, he realizes that he should stick to cooking for fun. In the end, Houndsley and Catina are able to discuss their friendships, what they enjoy doing, whether it is worth discontent to be famous, and how they best get along. Ultimately, this story teaches about finding satisfaction in doing what one enjoys rather than what the world says brings self-worth.

Media: watercolor and pencil, and collage ( )
  teddy5 | Aug 24, 2009 |
Houndsley, who is a dog, is best friends with Catina. Catina is a cat. They both have found a "talent" they want to be famous for. Catina wants to be a famous writer, but she absolutely hates to write. Houndsley wants to be a famous cook; however, he is too nervous to cook in-front of anybody. They find that their real talent is being best friends and watching fire flies together.

While growing up, there were many things I wanted to be good at that I just sucked at, or I hated to do. I was a great cheerleader all thru high school and did all-star competition cheering, but I hated the practices and I hated going to the competitions. It also reminds me of my brother. He loves showing pigs, but you just cannot get him to train the pigs.

Extension ideas can be for the students to write a short paragraph on any special talents they have and whether they like to perform the talents or not. The students can also present/perform their talents to the class if they wish. For younger students, they may also draw a picture of him/her and their best friend doing something they love to do together. ( )
  shelbyweryavah | Jan 28, 2008 |
Houndsley and Catina, a dog and a cat, are best friends. Soft-spoken Houndsley loves to cook for his friends, but when he enters a cooking contest he gets nervous and his chili doesn't turn out well. Catina wants to be a famous writer, but her book isn't very good and she doesn't much like writing. In the end, Houndsley and Catina find out that doing what you love is its own reward, and that friends are better than fame any day. This chapter book is short enough to read aloud, and the illustrations are fun and interesting. Beginning readers should also enjoy it. ( )
  librarymeg | Nov 12, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0763624047, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:04 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Houndsley and Catina run into trouble when they decide to prove that they are the best at cooking and writing, respectively.

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Candlewick Press

An edition of this book was published by Candlewick Press.

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