Stick Dog
by Watson, Tom; Long, Ethan (ILT)

When Stick Dog's quest for hamburgers turns out to be more difficult than he could have ever imagined, he challenges his friends to come up with a master plan that includes unconventional solutions.

Stick Dog (so named for his rudimentary depiction by narrator Tom, who claims an inability to draw) and his doggy friends-Poo Poo, Karen, Mutt, and Stripes-are strays living in a suburban park. One day they detect "a pleasant aroma" (grilling hamburgers) and decide to satisfy their hunger at whatever cost. The chase that follows involves distractions (a squirrel in a tree), misunderstandings about the family that is grilling, and a series of ludicrous attack plans that surprisingly results in a tasty conclusion. Watson's humorous debut novel is reminiscent of Jeff Kinney's Wimpy Kid and Lincoln Peirce's Big Nate series. It features succinct text, oversize type, and frequent cartoon illustrations, all printed on what looks like notebook paper. The humor and format will attract readers, but the canine camaraderie, development of distinct characters, sprinkling of perceptive comments, and Stick Dog's quiet but effective leadership (in particular, his kind responses to his pals' ridiculous attack plans) will ensure devoted fans. Here's hoping more Stick Dog adventures are in the works. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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