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Friday, November 28, 2014

Gaston, written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Christian Robinson. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Simon & Schuster. 2014. $19.99 ages 4 and up

"Mrs. Poodle thought so, too.
The puppies grew
(as puppies do).
Three were no bigger
than teacups.
The fourth, however,
continued to grow.
And grow.
Until he was the size
of a teapot."

You know how much young children loves books about animals...and their enduring admiration for dogs! Gaston is a puppy to love, and not just because he's a French Bulldog. I will readily admit I am partial to Frenchies!

Gaston is a member of Mrs. Poodle's litter of new puppies. They are 'precious.' Although treated with the same attention and love that any mother could possibly give, Gaston displays a marked difference in size, manners, and temperament to his siblings. He is louder, more gregarious and a real delight. And, he is adored by his family!

When the poodle family visits the park one fine spring day, they meet another mother and her pack of puppies. She also has four of them. One is smaller, daintier, more delicate. The mothers notice immediately what has happened. Neither knows exactly what to do. They decide to leave it up to the pups themselves:

"Gaston walked with grace.
Antoinette raced.
Gaston yipped.
Antoinette yapped.
And when they finally
came to a stop...
the puppies
had traded places."

What will happen when they get home? You might be surprised!

Kelly DiPucchio hits all the right notes with her witty and winning text, while Christian Robinson adds delight when depicting the two families in bold, textured acrylic images. There is lots of energy in both aspects of the tale, and shows that a spot-on collaboration can make for a fun-filled and lighthearted reading experience. Encore!

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