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Dog vs. Cat

Chris Gall (Little, Brown)

What happens when cats and dogs stop being polite... and start getting real? Gall has a blast with the answer to that question, and kids will, too. After being (separately) acquired by their owners, Mr. and Mrs. Button, Cat and Dog aren’t just sharing a house—they’re going to be roommates. There’s a definite Oscar and Felix quality to the testy relationship that develops between persnickety Cat and anything-goes Dog, and as is often the case in this sort of story it takes the arrival of a third party to unite them (the enemy of my enemy, etc.). Frustrated siblings forced to share a room, you’re not alone.

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Gaston

Kelly DiPucchio, illus. by Christian Robinson (S&S/Atheneum)

Many can feel at odds with their families, but it isn’t usually a question of breed. Not so for Gaston, whose mother and siblings are poodles while he seems to have a bit more bulldog in his DNA. A poodle named Antoinette has the precisely opposite problem, but trading families isn’t much of a solution. Robinson’s naïf paintings are the source of tremendous delight in this story, as Gaston and Antoinette try hard to fit in with both their own and the other’s family. Best of all, and most reassuringly, DiPucchio leaves readers with the message that home is home, even when you don’t look like your brothers and sisters.

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My Teacher Is a Monster (No, I Am Not.)

Peter Brown (Little, Brown)

We’ve all been there: running into a teacher at the grocery store, the bowling alley, the park—anywhere that isn’t school. But guess what? As Brown makes clear, the experience can be just as unpleasant (or at least unexpected) for the teacher, too. For young Bobby, it’s even worse since the teacher in question is Ms. Kirby, with her olive green skin, reptilian claws, and ferocious fangs. Is Ms. Kirby really a monster? Readers will enjoy finding out and maybe develop just the teensiest bit of empathy for the Ms. Kirbys in their own lives—just in time for school to start up again.

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