Dear Beast

This comical and surprisingly touching collection of letters between a snooty cat and an exuberant and oblivious dog introduces young readers to the richness awaiting them in early chapter books.

Simon is a pompous--though perhaps a bit insecure--black cat. He lives with his human, Andy, and Andy's mom. Ever since Andy's parents split up, Simon has managed just fine as his boy's singular pet (if you don't count the goldfish, which he doesn't). Learning that Andy's dad has adopted a dog is a serious blow. Simon is moved to pass along his concerns to the dog via "proper" letters with salutation, closing and signature on engraved stationery, delivered via snail (a nod to Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad, perhaps?). Unfortunately, the guileless dog (aka Beast, Baxter, Master Baxter Man) refuses to be intimidated. He continues the correspondence with warmth and enthusiasm, signing his misspelled missives "Luv and Liver Treets" and trying to convince uptight Simon that "there's more to life than book reeports."

Geisel Honoree and Edgar Award-winner Dori Hillestad Butler (King & Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats; Buddy Files: Case of the Lost Boy) and Kevan Atteberry (Ghost Cat; Puddles!!!) join forces for this first in a series featuring a most delightful odd couple. Atteberry's full-color comics-style illustrations capture in only a few deft strokes the personalities of each character: Baxter's joy is colossal while Simon's scheming nature comes across in the tilt of an eyebrow. Dear Beast is a beauty! --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

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