Houndsley the dog and Catina the cat are best friends in this chapter book for early readers. Houndsley wants to go canoeing, but doesn't want to go with Catina because she talks constantly when they are canoeing. Houndsley likes to listen instead of talk. What Houndsley doesn't know is why Catina is talking so much during their canoe trips and this is what lies at the heart of these stories.
James Howe's stories teach students that part of friendship is having somebody to help us face our fears. He does this with a touch of sweetness and sly humor as opposed to pounding us over the head with a "message" and lots of syrup. K-2 students will be able to make a ton of connections with these stories. There are several opportunities to teach cause and effect and comparison with the characters of Houndsley and Catina. Marie-Louise Gay's colorful watercolor illustrations are just the right touch of summer, and she dresses these characters in some pretty happening clothes as well.