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Gaston (Gaston and Friends) Hardcover – Picture Book, June 3, 2014

4.8 out of 5 stars 540 ratings
Book 1 of 2: Gaston and Friends

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2—Mrs. Poodle has new puppies, Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La, and Gaston, but one of them is not like the others. Next to his petite siblings, Gaston is stocky, ungainly, and goofy looking. One day, they encounter a rough-and-tumble bulldog family, and it's immediately clear that there has been a mix-up. Gaston's short legs and broad ears look just like those of the bulldogs', while the bulldog family includes a tiny poodle named Antoinette. What starts out as a typical "Ugly Duckling" plot becomes a tender exploration of nurture vs. nature. The pups go home with their "real" families, but everyone questions the decision. The mothers are shown gazing forlornly at family portraits, and poor Gaston has no interest in anything "brutish or brawny or brown," preferring the "proper or precious or pink" home that Antoinette scorns. The next day they joyfully switch back: "There. That looked right. And it felt right too." But the story doesn't end there. Both families continue to meet and teach each other about being tough and tender, and when Gaston and Antoinette eventually fall in love and have puppies of their own, they teach them to be whatever they want to be. Robinson's expressive acrylic paintings are bright and bold, yet simple, making masterly use of negative space and contrast. This heartwarming story of family will be a welcome addition to homes and libraries of all types.—Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN

From Booklist

Nature or nurture? Gaston, born into a family of fancy French poodles, looks and acts different. His coiffure, bark, and demeanor need work. His ears stick up, not down; he ruffs instead of yaps, slobbers instead of sips. Mrs. Poodle and her daughters Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, and Ooh-La-La love him just the same. Strolling in the park, the family meets a mostly bulldog clan: Rocky, Ricky, Bruno—and Antoinette. She has learned their ways, as she races, yaps, and abhors pink. The mothers decide to switch the two pooches, since each, obviously, belongs with the other clan, but in the end, no one is happy. Puppies are reexchanged, and all works out for the best, especially when Gaston and Antoinette marry. Though readers will probably want to know how the mistake happened (and a mix-up would have been easy to show on the title page), they will mostly adore this joyous tale. The pictures, rendered in simple shapes of warm acrylic colors, are a delight, celebrating each dog’s expressive personality. Kids who might feel the odd man out in their own families will take heart from this. Preschool-Grade 1. --Lolly Gepson

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Product details

  • Publisher : Atheneum Books for Young Readers (June 3, 2014)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1442451025
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1442451025
  • Reading age : 4 - 8 years
  • Lexile measure : AD500L
  • Grade level : Preschool - 3
  • Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
  • Dimensions : 9 x 0.5 x 11.25 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 540 ratings

Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
540 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on October 25, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on March 19, 2021
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4.0 out of 5 stars Such a cute book
By The Dickey's on March 19, 2021
We love this book. The story line is just cute and fun. The illustrations are beautiful. I would definitely recommend this book to others. My 6 and 2 year old love it.

The spin was a little damaged on arrival.
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Reviewed in the United States on January 5, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on November 15, 2017
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Top reviews from other countries

Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars I love the illustrations by Christian Robinson so buying this book ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 12, 2017
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Emily D
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 23, 2016
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Suzanne
5.0 out of 5 stars Whether birth or adoption it is love that makes a family........
Reviewed in Canada on September 1, 2018
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L. Caruso
5.0 out of 5 stars Gaston
Reviewed in Brazil on February 25, 2015
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bird
5.0 out of 5 stars nature vs nurture story
Reviewed in Canada on September 18, 2017
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