Gordy, Jilly, and Zoie love to race, chase, and play pug-o-war. But most of all, they love snoozing in their big, cozy basket. Then one day just before their morning nap, the big bad cat decides to make himself at home in the pugs' beloved basket! Will they figure out how to keep him away before they get too sleepy?
12/18/2017 In her first solo outing, illustrator Crittenden (Chicken Lily) offers a decidedly benign riff on the famous tale of three wolf-defeating piglets. The humor of the story, set in a cozy home shared by three puppies and a large gray cat, derives from its very lack of dramatic tension. “Once upon a rug, there were three little pugs,” begins Crittenden, who “loved snoozing in their big, cozy basket.” One morning, the roly-poly puppies discover a “big bad cat” nestled in their wicker basket, peering out at them “with his big bad eyes.” In reality, the cat looks more startled than threatening, but the pugs set out to reclaim their bed, filling the basket with straws (of the drinking variety), sticks (pencils and crayons), and bricks (Lego-style blocks, a deck of cards, etc.). Not surprisingly, their mission backfires, leading to a feel-good ending that leaves all four pets “cuddled and snuggled” in the basket. Defined by swoopy black-brown lines, Crittenden’s pastel-hued cartoons create an air of innocent fun on every page, dovetailing with the wholesome tone of the retelling. Ages 4–8. Agent: Teresa Kietlinski, Bookmark Literary. (Mar.)