(2) 1-3 Illustrated by Kevan Atteberry. Having two pets in two separate homes can spark a bit of territorialism, so when Andy announces he has a new dog at Dad's house, Simon, the cat who lives at Andy's mom's, takes immediate action: he writes a formal letter dispensing with the dog's services. The return correspondence, far less formal, introduces an eager, oblivious canine named Baxter, a perfect foil for Simon. Thus launches this epistolary early chapter book, with the letters sent back and forth via a goggle-eyed snail carrying a mailbag. Simon's letters, written on personal letterhead, ooze pretention and are signed "sincerely," while Baxer's torn-notepaper missives are littered with spelling errors, "YAY!"s, and signoffs such as "Luv and Liver Treets." Simon tries a variety of manipulative tactics to oust the newcomer, including debating, shaming, and enlisting the help of goldfish Bubbles and a neighborhood skunk named Stinky. Eventually Simon succeeds in getting rid of Baxter, but he immediately realizes his mistake and amps up his letter-writing efforts to get the dog back home. Beneath the humorous cat vs. dog banter, readers learn more about Andy's life and family through the creatures' doting observations. Full-color cartoony art on every page provides additional setting and characterization, while a "Doggy Dictionary" in the back addresses Baxter's many spelling errors.


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