Poodle and Hound
Kathryn Lasky, author
Kathryn Lasky is the acclaimed author of dozens of books for young readers, including Tumble Bunnies (Candlewick), Hatchling (Scholastic), and Sugaring Time (Macmillan), a Newbery Honor Book. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Read more about Kathryn.
Mitch Vane, illustrator
Mitch Vane has been working as a freelance illustrator for the last 20 years. She has illustrated many children's books, including The Pig Circus and Maddy in the Middle, all published in her native Australia.
Read more about Mitch.
School Library Journal
This early chapter book consists of three stories. In the first, Poodle goes to the beauty salon to have her fur done and is pleased with the results. She does not think Hound will appreciate her beauty, so she has a lonely tea at the Ritz and waits to be admired. When she returns home, Hound does notice and wisely tells her, “Nothing is ever wasted on a friend.” Next, Hound is counting the stars and comparing the brightness of the planets when Poodle appears and distracts him. Finally, he puts aside his telescope and listens to her story of snakes and monsters on the moon. They spend the rest of the night “whispering of stars and moons and planets with strange rings.” In the final story, Hound is planting a vegetable garden. They learn about bugs from Poodle’s library book, and by planting flowers that attract the good ones, Hound has the best garden ever. If Poodle is bossy, often bored, and more than a little vain, Hound makes allowances. Illustrations in watercolor and pen show a feminine poufy white poodle and a “not exactly pretty” Hound going about their activities and clearly enjoying one another’s company. Reluctant readers will be part of the larger audience who will enjoy these adventures.
Friends Poodle and Hound learn to understand each other in three related short stories for new readers. At first, Poodle seems self-absorbed and overly concerned with her looks, but she ends up showing she's got a lot more on her mind . . . In the second, Hound loves to stargaze and wishes Poodle would stop distracting him from his calculations, but when she spins a fantastic tale about the moon and Saturn, Hound finds a new appreciation for her intelligence. In the last story Poodle proves herself again when Hound is planting a vegetable garden and is not interested in planting flowers. Poodle uses her wits to plan a surprise attack on bugs that might attack the veggies and ends up with what she wanted all along. Vane's humorous watercolors, especially Poodle's creative outfits, add some depth to these stories . . .
Although they’re best friends, Poodle and Hound are also very different. Poodle thinks Hound is more interested in reading newspapers than in admiring her fancy, beribboned new salon ’do. Studious Hound is annoyed when Poodle interrupts his stargazing. And neither agrees on what to plant in their new garden. In three scenarios, however, each friend discovers new things to appreciate about the other. The lively prose, in large, well-spaced print, provides an entertaining, accessible celebration of friendship. While illustrating how individual differences sometimes bring conflict, the stories ultimately show how sharing others’ interests can bring mutual enjoyment and enhance relationships. The colorful, watercolor-and-ink illustrations incorporate word balloons and amusing, whimsical details and show fluffy Poodle and longeared, bow-tied Hound in everyday activities, from eating cookies to planting a garden. A warm story for beginning chapter-book readers to tackle on their own, or for reading aloud with preschoolers.
Rountable Reviews for Kids
The three stories in this book address the vagaries of friendship. While Hound is loyal and dependable, his good friend Poodle is creative and rather impulsive. Perhaps this would not seem like a good combination but like other famous picture book combos (Elephant and Piggy, Frog and Toad, George and Martha), we know that opposites do indeed attract.
In the first story, Poodle goes to the beauty salon for a complete makeover. With her fur trimmed into pom-poms with a stunning fur ball on the very top of her head, Poodle feels a little self-conscious when she heads for home. When she walks through in the door, Hound immediately says, "You look lovely."
Poodle is shocked by the comment because she was sure he would not even notice her new look. As the two sit down to enjoy some tea and cookies Hound tells Poodle, "Nothing is ever wasted on a friend."
In "Starry Night", the second story, Hound is up on the roof gazing at the stars through his telescope. Poodle comes up to see what he is doing and quickly becomes bored with his celestial mapping. Although he is becoming exasperated by her continual interruptions, Hound puts up with his friend's commentary.
The fun begins, though, when Poodle starts making up outlandish stories about the stars. The one about how Saturn got its rings is a beauty, but I'll let you discover that for yourself.
Saving the best for last, the final story is about the summer garden Poodle and Hound create. Hound makes an elaborate and detailed plan, but it is Poodle who figures out they will need some protection from insects that will destroy their plants. Along with the Hound's veggies, Poodle plants marigolds, sunflowers, daisies and yarrow to attract the good bugs that keep the bad bugs away. This green approach means the two friends will have plenty of healthy vegetables to enjoy plus a few colorful blossoms for their table as well.
These stories underscore the fact that different individuals can not only get along but they can also complement and help one another. The narrative and vocabulary is manageable for young readers who are ready for something with a more extended story line.
Curled Up With A Good Kid's Book
Poodle is the cliché of femininity: she loves getting her fur and feet done at the beauty salon, enjoys pompoms in her hair, and likes having tea and cookies at the Ritz. Her good friend Hound, on the other hand, is “not exactly pretty” and is a somewhat gruff, serious sort of fellow.
Yet, in these three early-reader stories, Poodle and Hound manage to keep their friendship going strong and learn to enjoy their differences.
The plot line and characters feel somewhat dated and may well remind kids not so much of themselves but of their Grandma and Grandpa. Still, these gentle and sweet stories make a good point about the value of a friendship in which both people can truly be appreciated for being themselves. The amusing artwork by Mitch Vane adds a nice touch.
ISBN: 978-1-60734-144-4 PDF
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Page count: 48