In Houndsley and Catina’s latest, Houndsley’s globe-trotting cousin, Wagster, pays the two best friends a visit.
From the moment he arrives, “razzle-dazzle” Wagster is all charm. Catina is immediately smitten after he pays her a compliment and regales her with stories of his travels. Houndsley, on the other hand, begins to feel increasingly invisible. Whether cooking scrumptious desserts or imitating famous movie stars, Cousin Wagster is good at everything! Houndsley wrestles with his feelings of inadequacy until he finally confronts Catina about it at their dance class. Catina responds in simile: Whereas Wagster is like the beautiful butterfly who flits around from garden to garden, Houndsley is like the butterfly that stays. Plus, Wagster’s parting gift proves that he’s not so perfect after all—and that’s totally fine! Howe’s ode to true friendship and the quiet pleasures of home combines sight words with more complex vocabulary and a few lyrical passages. The story is divided into three chapters, with ample leading between lines of text (which range from two to 15 lines per page). Gay’s watercolor, pencil, and collage illustrations enrich the story with muted colors and repeated patterns. She excels at capturing small details and telling little stories within the larger one—a wonderful treat for this sparse text.
As sweet as Houndsley’s key-lime pie with whipped cream. More, please. (Early reader. 5-8)