Nothing’s better than a grilled burger on a hot summer day in Picasso Park, but how’s a pack of mutts going to get some?
Stick Dog (so named not because he loves sticks—though he does—but because narrator Tom can only draw him like a stick figure) lives in an empty pipe under Highway 16. He and his friends—Poo-Poo the poodle, Stripes the Dalmatian, Karen the dachshund and Mutt the…well, mutt—are all hungry, and they smell burgers on the grill in a nearby park. They race over…OK, their race is interrupted by Poo-Poo’s obsessive hatred of squirrels…and find a family grilling. Each pup puts forth a plan to nab the burgers. Biting ankles? No. Stealing their car? No. Cliff diving? Uh, no. Stick Dog has a brilliant burger-snitching plan, but things don’t go exactly as planned. Watson’s retelling and extension of his self-published Stick Dog adventure, re-illustrated by Long, is full of silly, slapstick doggy humor. Stick Dog is slightly smarter than his eminently distractible ADHD canine pals, and young readers or listeners will enjoy his repeated use of reverse psychology to get them where they need to be. Three to four sentences in large type on fake notebook paper with ample stick drawings make this an enticing package for those just starting chapter books.
A welcome canine entry in the metajournal genre. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 7-10)