Houndsley and Catina at the Library by James Howe, illustrations by Marie-Louise Gay

91Nc810U8QL._AC_UY218_ML3_Houndsley and Catina at the Library by James Howe, illustrations by Marie-Louise Gay. Candlewick Press, 9780763696627, 2020 

Format: Hardcover

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre: Beginner Reader

 What did you like about the book? The fact that the ending of this book saves a library from closing is a positive marker for me. This story features three friends, Houndsley (a dog), Catina (a cat) and Bert (a large bird), who are preparing to go on their weekly Saturday morning trip to the library. This is a big event for them because they love all the activities at the library, the friendly librarian Trixie, and they always eat muffins at Houndsley’s house afterwards. They arrive at the library and they see Trixie in her usual spot close to the entrance. She normally greets them with a smile, a joke, and even a suggested book to read–however, today she seems very sad. The three friends go off in different directions. Bert is helping to put books away, Houndsley is tutoring young children, and Catina is taking a yoga class in the activity room. After their activities, they go in search of Trixie to find out why she is so sad. As it turns out, Trixie is retiring from the library because she wants to try something new–the circus. There is not a replacement librarian, so the library will be closing. This news  upsets the three friends, but they then start busying themselves for Trixie’s retirement party at the end of the week. They are all planning something special to bring for Trixie as a gift. At the party, Houndsley brings a variety of his famous muffins, Catina brings a circus outfit that she made for Trixie and Bert brings himself–declaring that he will be the new librarian in Trixie’s place. This was the best gift of all and the library can remain open.

The story is divided into three chapters and the text is separated by colorful illustrations, which all make the reading more manageable for young children. There are many small details in the illustrations in the characters’ expressions and their clothing as well as in their homes, the library, and the background that will all be very entertaining for young children.

Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing

To whom would you recommend this book? Perfect for beginner readers (maybe five years and older) who are at a more advanced level, but not quite ready for chapter books. I would recommend this to children who have read and enjoyed other Houndsley and Catina books. Also, a great story to read aloud to a child if the child is ready for something other than picture books, but is not yet able to read on their own.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, anyone who works with children five years and older.

Where would you shelve it? Beginner Readers

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.

Date of review: April 22, 2020

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