Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary
Author: Lee Wardlaw
Illustrator: Eugene Yelchin
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Won Ton is a house cat who loves living the typical cat life and spending time with his master “Boy.” But one day everything changes when Boy brings home an unexpected and unpleasant surprise—a puppy named Chopstick! This adorable pup seems to steal everything that Won Ton loves: attention, food, and space. After several little cat-dog skirmishes, Won Ton and Chopstick get put together, and Won Ton comes to realize that his canine companion isn’t so detestable after all. In fact, they actually have some things in common! The story resolves to find Boy, Won Ton, and Chopstick finally together and in harmony.
This story is an appropriate sequel to Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku and humorously portrays the familiar rivalry between cats and dogs. The fact that it is told in haiku is both a plus and a minus. On the one hand, it makes the story sound more choppy than typical children’s books, but on the other hand, it can be used a great tool in helping children understand the poetic device of haiku. While most words are familiar and simple enough for many children to understand, there are also several which may present a challenge to young readers. Illustrations do well to represent and augment the message and emotions of the text. Also, parents and teachers can use the story as a springboard to discussing themes such as inclusiveness and working through differences.