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Summary: Curio is excited. Susan (his owner) is teaching him all about cats. When Curio tells Mr. Crow, he is not as excited: cats can mean trouble for crows. Still, Mr. Crow is excited about meeting Curio's friend Merula, who is coming to play in a few days. These are busy, interesting days. This is the third book in this series about Curio's life and friendships.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, family reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 6 to 10; read yourself: 9 to 12
Interest Level: 7 to 10
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: The idea of having a curious, talking dog (and crow) is great, but the story is moved forward almost exclusively through conversation. Trying to create an entire plot from conversation is tough, and the results are stilted, passages that don't sound natural. The level detail about the cat (who never materializes as a character) is hard to get through.
Pros: This is a story for those who have always wondered what it is that dogs think about.
Cons: This is, essentially, a 67-page conversation. There is little action that takes place beyond the dialogue exchanges with Curio and Susan, Mr. Crow, and Merula.
Borrow or Buy: Skip it. The story has good intentions; the volume of details, though, detract from a free-flowing story. There are other books that offer great factual information about animals and still tell a story.
Educational Themes: The story offers a lot of factual information about cats, dogs, and crows, allowing the reader to contrast/compare species. The events of the playdate also offer opportunities to talk about friendship, fear, change, and empathy.
Literary Categories: Fiction - animal fantasy, middle grade series