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Coco, a very smart poodle, and Cavendish, a very brave border collie, are circus stars–until the greedy owner of the circus replaces them with robot dogs. The two unemployed dogs set off to find a new job and have many funny and exciting adventures in this, the first of their Step into Reading books.
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Gr. 1-2. Coco the dog tells the reader that she and her best friend, Cavendish, are wonderful: "We can't help it. We are dogs." Moreover, they are circus dogs, a poodle and a border collie who wear diamond collars and eat T-bone steaks. Then Zelda, the circus owner, realizes that mechanical dogs can do the same job at less expense; Coco and Cavendish are out. Their job hunt is unsuccessful until they save a kitten from a fire, just the way they used to save the baby clown at the circus. Their fame makes Zelda want them back, but the duo winds up at the fire station with a new career. Fast-paced and funny, this entry in the Step into Reading series is also amusingly illustrated with full-color paintings that are a sedate version of Maira Kalman's style. The very short chapters will give new readers confidence about their skills. Ilene Cooper
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