Houndsley and Catina at the Library (Houndsley and Catina)

by James Howe (Author) Marie-Louise Gay (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
The charming duo returns with a love letter to the library, good friends, the joy of learning, and self-reinvention. It's Saturday, and Houndsley, Catina, and their friend Bert are looking forward to their weekly visit to the library. But when the trio arrives, they find that Trixie, the librarian, seems different. She doesn't tell a joke or recommend a book like she always does. That's when the friends find out the news -- the library is closing! With Trixie retiring and enrolled in circus school, there's no one to take her place as head librarian . . . or is there? James Howe and Marie-Louise Gay have created another engaging tale about what it means to be a supportive friend and how it's never too late to learn something new.

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Kirkus Reviews

"Themes of kindness, adapting to sudden change, and pursuing personal growth make this early reader a touchpoint for conversations. Even with these opportunities for dynamic discussion, the plot's drama and stress are resolved in a quick and satisfying manner. A table of contents will make this outing feel like a chapter book, readers gaining confidence. Gentle existentialism for emergent readers."


Starred Review
"The charm of this amusing beginning-reader book is that just when the plot seems entirely predictable, the turn of a page surprises readers with a wacky left turn in the story, even while remaining true to the characters. Created with watercolor, pencil, and collage, the illustrations express varied emotions, maintaining a buoyant tone overall. Kudos to Howe and Gay for the seventh satisfying entry in the dependable Houndsley and Catina series."

School Library Journal

K-Gr 2--Houndsley and his friends Catina and Bert spend every Saturday morning at the library tutoring, taking classes, and volunteering. Librarian Trixie has always greeted them with a smile, a joke, and book recommendations. However, on their latest visit, Trixie seems sad and preoccupied. As the three friends leave, they notice a sign that says the library is closing and to please bring something special to Trixie's farewell party. The friends learn that Trixie is retiring to pursue a circus career and there is no one to take her place. Saddened that they are losing their beloved library, all three prepare their "something special" for Trixie. Houndsley and Catina know right away what they are going to bring. Bert struggles; how can he thank her for all of the happy Saturdays he has spent at the library? At the party, Houndsley brings baked goods to share. Catina gives Trixie a beautiful circus performer's outfit she created. Bert brings himself and his desire to take Trixie's place as the new librarian so the library will not have to close. The watercolor, pencil, and collage illustrations are gentle and expressive, and the text is just right for readers transitioning into beginning chapter books. VERDICT A good choice for early reader collections that works equally well as part of the series or as a standalone.--Kelly Roth, Bartow County Public Library, Cartersville, GA

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

James Howe
James Howe is the author of more than ninety books for young readers. Bunnicula, coauthored by his late wife Deborah and published in 1979, is considered a modern classic of children's literature. The author has written six highly popular sequels, along with the spinoff series Tales from the House of Bunnicula and Bunnicula and Friends. Among his other books are picture books such as Horace and Morris but Mostly Dolores and beginning reader series that include the Pinky and Rex and Houndsley and Catina books. He has also written for older readers. The Misfits, published in 2001, inspired the nationwide antibullying initiative No Name-Calling Week, as well as three sequels, Totally Joe, Addie on the Inside, and Also Known as Elvis. A common theme in James Howe's books from preschool through teens is the acceptance of difference and being true to oneself. Visit him online at JamesHowe.com.

Andrew Donkin is a writer and graphic novelist. He was described by The Times (London) as "the graphic novel supremo," which is what he'll have on his tombstone in the unlikely event he ever dies. Andrew has written more than seventy books that sold more than nine million copies, including children's books, graphic novels, and even the odd book for grown-ups. He is a longtime collaborator with Eoin Colfer. The pair recently coauthored the award-winning graphic novel, Illegal, with art by Giovanni Rigano. Andrew lives near the river Thames in London with his partner, their two children, and no vampire bunny rabbits. Find him at andrewdonkin.com and on Twitter and Instagram at @AndrewDonkin.

Stephen Gilpin graduated from the NYC School of Visual Arts where he studied painting and cartooning. He is the illustrator of the Who Shrunk Daniel Funk series and The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy series. Stephen currently lives in Hiawatha, Kansas. Visit him at SGilpin.com.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Candlewick Press (MA)
Publication date
March 20, 2020
Houndsley and Catina
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV047000 - Juvenile Fiction | Books & Libraries
JUV043000 - Juvenile Fiction | Readers | Beginner
Library of Congress categories

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