by Kelly DiPucchio

Ages: 0 – 6 years (approximately grades preschool – K)

Gaston lives with his three siblings, Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, and Ooh-La-La with their mother, Mrs. Poodle. As Mrs. Poodle’s puppies grow, they learn all the nuances of being as polite and poodle-like as possible. Gaston, though he tries, never manages to quite fit the mold. As hard as he practiced his manners, he still slobbers when he should sip, he “RUFF”s when he should “Yip!” Despite Mrs. Poodle was very pleased with all of her puppies all the same. On their first public stroll in the park, Mrs. Poodle and her pups come upon Mrs. Bulldog and her children, Rocky, Ricky, Bruno, and Antoinette. Seeing that there has been a horrible mix up (Gaston is a bulldog and Antoinette is a poodle!), the mothers let Gaston and Antoinette decide to trade places so they will fit in better with their new families. As you may have guessed, it seems another terrible mistake was made because “that looked right, it just didn’t feel right.” Upon their final switch, Gaston and Mrs. Poodle, as well as Antoinette and Mrs. Bulldog agree to meet regularly and teach each other their own specialties.

With playful illustrations reminiscent of simple marker or finger paint, Gaston is a bold story about standing out, fitting in, and being yourself. In the end, as Gaston and Antoinette have a family of their very own, the takeaway message is to be yourself, and let your children do the same, because those who matter most will love you anyway. Such a sweet message is not overdone, and the mixed poodle-and-bulldog pups (complete with brown splotched coats and pompadour poofs) articulate it to the non-readers perfectly. Gaston will be a hit for those who love puppies (French Bulldogs and Poodles in particular), those with an independent streak, and those who enjoyed A Ball for Daisy or the illustrations of Jon Klassen.

Find Gaston in our catalog.

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