Houndsley and Catina and Cousin Wagster

illus. by Marie-Louise Gay. 48p. (Houndsley and Catina: Bk. 5). Candlewick. Sept. 2018. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780763647094.
Gr 1–3—Houndsley and Catina are back for another adventure when cousin Wagster comes to visit. Unlike Houndsley, who is a rather quiet dog, his cousin Wagster is loud and full of stories and also seems to be good at everything. As Houndsley, Wagster, and Catina cook dinner, play Ping-Pong, and go on a picnic, Houndsley finds the fact that charming Wagster is good at everything a little disheartening. When Houndsley and Catina get some time away, Houndsley must find a way to tell Catina how he has been feeling a bit neglected and is worried about their friendship. Of course, Catina is sensitive to how Houndsley is feeling and reassures him that they are the very best of friends and nothing will change that. With three short chapters, this is a great book to transition independent readers from picture books to something a little more challenging. Even though it is on the longer side, this entry is still very engaging. Gay's delightful artwork, done in watercolor and pencil, adds a playful quality to the story and don't overwhelm the page, leaving plenty of space for the paragraphs of text.
VERDICT Add this wonderful transitional book for newly independent readers to most collections.

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