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*Stick Dog Wants a Hot Dog* by Tom Watson - middle grades book review
Stick Dog Wants a Hot Dog
by Tom Watson
Ages 7-13 224 pages Harpercollins October 2013 Hardcover    

This second book in the Stick Dog series is narrated by a child who cannot draw--but he does illustrate his story in diary format with drawings of five stray stick dogs (Stick Dog, Poo-Poo, Karen, Mutt, and Stripes). Just like in book one, these dogs don’t trust people, but they need to get somewhat close to them if they are to attain their favorite thing: food!

As the narrator tells us about the dogs’ various plans to get a hot dog from Peter’s Frankfurter cart, he occasionally interrupts his story with side stories about UFOs versus pancakes, instructions for the game Bark, or the importance of neat handwriting. His story is also filled with the dogs’ silly observations about us (why do we drink with magical sticks, and are our cuckoo clock birds actually alive?)

The friends feel rushed to execute their plan because they think they have competition (a hungry hotdog-loving raccoon). Readers will laugh throughout the story because the dogs have crazy imaginations (Karen wants to pretend she’s the world’s biggest frankfurter), and they are not very good with names (they call Peter Prickle Pop, Patsy Puffenstuff, and Piddly-Pants).

The black-and-white line illustrations make the text even funnier. My favorites were seeing Karen dive into a basket of laundry, watching the giant man exercise/do his mating dance, and seeing the raccoon wearing a sign with his new “evil” name.

Just as all dogs are loyal, these friends prove their loyalty to one another when they decide to rescue Karen from the giant man who takes Karen into his house, and when they share their hotdogs with the raccoons.

The book also has a surprise ending that I did not see coming, and it involves a ghost. The book ends with a sneak peek of the third book in the series, Stick Dog Chases a Pizza.
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