Simon Sleeps Over

Holiday House. (Dear Beast: Bk. 4). Feb. 2022. 80p. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780823448562; pap. $7.99. ISBN 9780823452002.
Gr 2-4–Andy has two pets: Simon, the cat, and dog Baxter. But dog and cat have never met before Andy’s mom goes out of town for a few days. That means Andy and Simon will have a sleepover at Andy’s dad’s house where Baxter lives. Rather than just writing letters back and forth, as they have in previous installments, feline and canine will also meet face-to-face. The personalities of snobbish Simon and eager, naïve Baxter—dubbed “Beast” by Simon—and their friends shine through in letters that describe the goings-on. Irritated by the break in his routine, Simon escapes through a screen. Since he can’t get into his own home, he tries staying with friends. Not surprisingly, none seems to suit. Beast’s earnest pleas for the cat to return, which Simon does before a storm hits, are full of misspellings that are seen corrected at the end of the story. Simon and Baxter wind up having a good sleepover. Illustrations enhance the humor and reinforce the temperament of each character. The format used is the same as in the three previous books about these corresponding critters, though each stands alone.
VERDICT A useful, entertaining addition for schools and libraries to share with children who enjoy a different kind of emerging reader book.

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