Buster, the big, skittish brown dog, is back and is learning to assert himself (Buster, the Very Shy Dog, 1999, etc.).
Buster and Phoebe, best dog friends, hang out together, looking for action. They pounce out of the bushes at the family cats, and Phoebe runs after the tabby. Buster hides under the steps when the calico hisses at him—but he soon rushes out when he discovers a kitten is already there. It’s tiny and abandoned, which triggers Buster’s nurturing instincts. When Phoebe and the cats turn on the kitten, Buster quietly protects her. Over two chapters, readers see Tilly the kitten slowly welcomed into Buster’s house. As little siblings often do, the kitten draws out the older dog. Soon Buster, in his shy way, is doing things he never thought he would do—even catching a scary bug! Buster’s wide eyes face each new challenge with nervousness and resolve, just as new readers will face new words and plenty of carefully placed text on each page. Gentle watercolors, outlined lightly in black, easily communicate the animals’ emotions, coaxing new readers into the story with humor. Tilly’s attempts to join the big-dog games will have readers giggling.
Dog and cat lovers and shy kids everywhere will happily (and successfully) read and reread these stories. (Early reader. 4-8)