Cover image for Widget
McFarland, Lyn Rossiter.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 2001.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 23 cm
A small stray dog is accepted into a household full of cats by learning to "fit in", but when his mistress is hurt, he demonstrates that being a dog is not all bad.
Reading Level:
BR Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 1.5 0.5 54455.

Reading Counts RC K-2 1.9 1 Quiz: 26343 Guided reading level: I.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



A stray dog pretends he's a cat in order to get a home

When Widget, a little stray dog, stumbles through a flap door into the home of Mrs. Diggs, he sees six cats, six bowls of food, and six warm beds. There's clearly only one thing to do. Confronted by the cats' intense scrutiny, Widget meows, purrs, plays with a toy mouse, and uses the litter box. Having eventually convinced his new family of his felinity, Widget is soon living so happily he sometimes forgets his true nature. But when Mrs. Diggs takes a fall and doesn't get up, it's up to Widget to save the day with a particularly canine solution.

A very simple text and droll pictures make Widget a book to read again and again.

Author Notes

Lyn Rossiter McFarland and Jim McFarland have collaborated on several children's books, including Widget & the Puppy and Mouse Went Out to Get a Snack . They live in Livingston, New York.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 3-6. Widget, a cold, hungry stray dog, ventures into Mrs. Diggs' house and hopes he's found a home. Unfortunately, as Mrs. Diggs says, "the girls just can't stand dogs." The girls, Mrs. Diggs' six cats, don't seem to like Widget at first sight. But when he meows, purrs, and uses the litter box, they start to accept him, and, after a few pages, he's having so much fun with the cats that he sometimes forgets he's a dog. One day, though, Mrs. Diggs falls and no amount of meowing and caterwauling can summon help. Widget begins to bark and the cats bark too, bringing the neighbors to help their friend. From the initially suspicious faces of the cats to later sights such as a cowering Widget and "the girls" treed by a Chihuahua, the ink-and-watercolor-wash illustrations bring out the book's humor. In an age of slick graphic sophistication, this is a fresh, unpretentious approach that speaks directly to children. With its short text, appealing art, and good old-fashioned story, this picture book will be a crowd pleaser in story times and a favorite of cat lovers and dog lovers alike. --Carolyn Phelan

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this when-in-Rome story, a stray dog alters his canine ways to appease half-a-dozen grouchy cats. Widget, a scruffy Westie, wanders into a farmhouse where he finds "six cats, six warm beds, and six bowls of hot food." The well-fed cats glare at him. "I wish you could stay," says the grandmotherly caretaker, Mrs. Diggs. "But I'm afraid the girls just can't stand dogs." Widget utters a hopeful "Meow?" Thereafter, he adopts feline ways, until the inevitable emergency ("Mrs. Diggs... fell down. She didn't move") compels him to bark and save the day. The McFarlands, who imagined a teddy bear mimicking a bird in The Pirate's Parrot, once again depict an adaptable outsider. Widget's name aptly suggests an unspecific, versatile object. In Jim McFarland's pen-and-ink and watercolor wash illustrations, the ingratiating dog appears the same size as his adoptive sisters, with pointed ears and a scruffy, upraised tail; he even casts a cat-shaped shadow. This story line offers no surprises, but it gives a fond account of cross-species conciliation, and, at their best, the pictures of the hero attempting to adapt to his housemates' behavior hint at the sly wit of James Stevenson's artwork. Ages 3-6. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Widget is a stray dog-homeless, cold, wet, and hungry. He finds his way to a warm, cozy home but then has to exercise all his ingenuity to convince the six female felines in residence to accept him. With a light and humorous touch, text and illustrations charm readers as Widget charms the cats by pretending to be one of them. The funniest spreads are of Widget and "the girls" facing off all puffed up, then hissing and spitting. The pup quickly realizes that purring, playing, and even using the litter box is the ticket into this household. In the end, the cats accept him on his own terms-as a dog-since it is barking, not meowing, that saves the day after a mishap suffered by their human guardian, Mrs. Diggs. Illustrations, apparently watercolors, are detailed and realistic with cartoon touches that add to the humor, as when six pairs of cats' eyes are all turned toward Widget, whose own wide eyes are trained in turn on them. This is a preschool crowd pleaser, just right for storytime.-Dorian Chong, School of Library and Information Science, San Jose State University, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.