Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Houndsley and Catina and Cousin Wagster

Houndsley and Catina and Cousin Wagster

James Howe
Illustrator:   Marie-Louise Gay 
Fiction  Series
For ages 6 to 9
Candlewick, 2018   ISBN: 978-0763647094

Houndsley and Catina are at the train station waiting for the five o’clock train. Houndsley’s cousin Wagster is coming to visit, and Catina is very excited to meet him. He is a world traveler who has had all kind of adventures. Catina asks Houndsley, who is her best friend, if the cousins are alike. She soon finds out that gentle, quiet Houndsley and loud and exuberant Wagster are not at all alike. For Wagster the world is “one big razzle-dazzle,” and everything is a new adventure to be savored. He is a charmer, and it isn’t long before Hounsdley starts to feel rather invisible.

The situation only gets worse when Houndsley invites Bert to come over for dinner. Wagster makes a dessert that Bert thinks is better than Houndsley’s key-lime pie. After dinner Wagster proves that he better at pingpong than Houndsley. He entertains everyone with card tricks, jokes and impersonations. In fact, it would appear that Wagster is “good at everything,” which makes Houndsley feel more invisible than ever.

Sometimes we encounter people who are larger than life. They are vibrant and colorful, talented and popular. And they make us feel very small indeed.

This delightful Houndsley and Catina book explores the idea that it is okay not to be the life of the party. You may be quiet and live a quiet life, but you are still a star, and you still have something to offer the world.