A bulldog and a poodle learn that family is about love, not appearances in this adorable doggy tale from New York Times bestselling author Kelly DiPucchio and illustrator Christian Robinson.
This is the story of four puppies: Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La, and Gaston. Gaston works the hardest at his lessons on how to be a proper pooch. He sips—never slobbers! He yips—never yaps! And he walks with grace—never races! Gaston fits right in with his poodle sisters.
But a chance encounter with a bulldog family in the park—Rocky, Ricky, Bruno, and Antoinette—reveals there’s been a mix-up, and so Gaston and Antoinette switch places. The new families look right…but they don’t feel right. Can these puppies follow their noses—and their hearts—to find where they belong?
Mrs. Poodle dotes on her four puppies, three "no bigger than teacups" and one Gaston "the size of a teapot." Although he strives to be dainty, Gaston stands out from his sisters. He learns why when he meets Mrs. Bulldog, herself the mother of four: three roundish bulldogs and Antoinette, a poodle. Gaston and Antoinette "could see that there had been a mix-up," so they trade places: "There. That looked right... it just didn't feel right." They longingly gaze back at their former families, and their adoptive mothers miss them. DiPucchio (Crafty Chloe) tells a poignant tale, despite implying that gendered behavior results from nurture: raised with feminine poodles, Gaston "did not like anything brutish or brawny" like his bulldog kin, and rough-and-tumble Antoinette "did not like anything proper or precious" like her fellow poodles. They grow up to marry and breed independent puppies. DiPucchio's narrative gets a brilliant boost from Robinson's (Rain!) savvy stencils and acrylics, which like Maira Kalman's designs simultaneously evoke fingerpaintings and elegant gallery work. Gaston's charm is a blend of sweetness and style. Ages 4 8.
I read this wonderful story to my youger sister. Not only was she captivated, but I was too! It was honestly enchanting.
This was a short but very cute book. Fun characters and illustrations. :)