Best of Enemies: Here Comes Trouble by Corinne Demas
EMMA'S DOG TOBY DOESN'T LIKE CATS.
Sure, Toby is a grown-up, sophisticated pooch. After all, he’s been schooled! He’s a certified obedience school graduate and knows the rules. But there was one elective he didn’t master–canine-feline relationships.
And when Emma’s family offers to take care of the neighbor’s cat Pandora while they’re on vacation, Toby is not on board with the mission. Pandora is everything he dislikes about her species.
PANDORA WAS... SLINKY AND SPUNKY
AND SNOOTY AND SNOBBY.
WORST OF ALL, SHE DIDN’T PAY ANY ATTENTION TO TOBY.
Not that Toby doesn’t try. Throwing all his education to the winds, Toby misbehaves, big time! He spreads the contents of the garbage can all around. He runs out to play in traffic. He even digs up the new daffodil blooms. But Pandora is underwhelmed.
Toby ups the ante. He laps from the toilet bowl. He chews up Pandora’s toy mouse right under her nose. Maddeningly, Pandora ignores him still.
Not that Pandora is all that well-behaved herself. Aptly named for that ordinary box capable of all kinds of mischief, this cat is trouble, as Toby soon learns.. But when she misbehaves, ripping the drapes and shredding the stuffing out of the sofa cushions, nobody seems to notice. Toby is outraged! And then, when Pandora snacks on the pink-iced layer cake in the kitchen and slinks off proudly pink-pawed with the evidence all over her whiskers, Toby just has to be proactive, hopping up on the counter to show Emma just what that furtive feline has been up to. But Emma concludes that Toby is the one to blame, and Pandora gets off scot free–again!
And then Pandora climbs a tree and can’t get down. And... only Toby notices. At first he’s happy to think of that troublesome cat cooling her paws in the treetop all night. But then... Toby’s good heartedness urges him to take some action, and young readers will love the clever way Toby puts his schooling to good use to call attention to Pandora's plight.
It’s another installment in the long-standing feud between felines and the canine world, in Corinne Demas’ latest, Here Comes Trouble! (Scholastic, 2013). As in her earlier Toby title, Always In Trouble, there’s a somewhat surprising ending to her well-told tale that will give kids a giggle and Pandora her well-deserved comeuppance. Noah Z. Jones’ comic illustrations, with their wiggly black-line outlines and flat color are just right for this piquant little story, and kids will be left looking forward to more Toby and Pandora tales.
And for more stories in the long-running cat vs. dog saga, pair this one with Mark Teague’s hilarious and excellent Dear Mrs. LaRue (Letters from Obedience School) and sequels.