Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Houndsley and Catina and the birthday surprise

Houndsley and Catina and the birthday surprise

James Howe
Illustrator:   Marie-Louise Gay 
Fiction  Series
For ages 6 to 9
Candlewick Press, 2006   ISBN: 0763624055

One day Houndsley and Catina are at Houndsley’s house and Catina is worried about her doggy friend. Houndsley seems to be sad and Catina does not know why. So, being a good friend, she asks the dog what is making him unhappy. She determines that his unhappiness is not because of the rainy weather, or because his sweater has holes in it. What she finds out is that Houndsley is feeling glum because he does not know when his birthday is. Catina tries to cheer Houndsley up by telling him that she doesn’t know when her birthday is either but in fact the knowledge just ends up making her feel sad too.

Houndsley decides to make Catina a cake. He cannot stand seeing her look so unhappy and he feels he has to do something to help her. In the end he decides to throw her a surprise birthday party to go with the cake, even though it may not be her real birthday anytime soon.

At last the cake is finished and all Houndsley has to do it to clean up but then Catina calls him on the phone to ask him to help her with a domestic matter. Houndsley cannot say no so off he goes and when he gets to Catina’s house he discovers that a big surprise is waiting for him there.

This beautifully illustrated chapter book for young readers is a charming and heartwarming celebration of friendship. Children will see how close two friends can be and how true friends do what they can to cheer one another up in sad times. Marie-Louise Gay’s delightfully whimsical multimedia illustrations perfectly compliment this well written and engaging story.