Galactic Hot Dogs, Book 1: Cosmoe's Wiener Getaway

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Galactic Hot Dogs, Book 1: Cosmoe's Wiener Getaway Book Poster Image
Breathlessly busy space adventure is giddy fun.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Some good vocabulary words, such as "symbiotic," and subtle references to sci-fi icons including Star Wars and Arthur C. Clarke.

Positive Messages

It's never too late to try to be a better person. Friends help bring out the best in each other. If you know there's a chance something terrible is about to happen, you have a responsibility to try prevent it, if possible, and minimize the damage.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Cosmoe is resilient and determined, with a strong sense of responsibility. He looks for ways to make the universe a better place. He's a strong friend, assuring Princess Dagger that she's a good person. Princess Dagger rejects her family's evil values and wants to be good. She's a strong, independent-minded heroine who does the rescuing -- she's never a damsel in distress. Humphree is loyal and good-natured.

Violence & Scariness

Lots of cartoon violence primarily involving blasters and physical fighting with monsters, aliens, and robots. Characters are in near-constant peril from would-be rivals seeking treasure and an evil queen pursuing her runaway daughter.

Language

Coarse language and insults, including "butt," "jerk," "turd," "dung tongue." Made-up expressions stand in for curse words: "smudge," "frapping," "fuzz."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Cosmoe's Wiener Getaway is the first in the Galactic Hot Dogs series, a print edition of the web comic of the same name. Written by Max Brallier (A Christmas-tastic Carol), it's brought to frenzied life with boldly drawn illustrations by Rachel Maguire and Nichole Kelley. The story dodges and weaves through perilous encounters with thugs and monsters, so there's lots of comic violence. Expect plenty of potty humor, with "butts" used as a curse word and jokes about farts and using the toilet.

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What's the story?

COSMOE'S WIENER GETAWAY introduces Earth-born Cosmoe and his best friend, an ex-space pirate named Humphree, who like to spend their days slinging hot dogs from the flying food truck and playing video games. But the theft of their cook-off entry kick-starts a series of adventures involving an evil princess who wants to be good, her relentlessly evil mom, zombie space pirates, ruthless treasure hunters, enormous monsters, and a puzzle map that could unlock the ultimate evil in the universe. It's more adventure than Cosmoe bargained for, but he's up for the challenge -- with help from Goober, an elastic blob that lives on his wrist.

Is it any good?

This zany space adventure blasts off at high speed and doesn't let up, rocketing around a fantastical universe filled with space worms, zombie pirates, and malevolent bounty hunters. All that action can be a bit much, however, and some young readers will have a hard time getting their bearings as the story rushes along.

Despite being the first book in the Galactic Hot Dogs series, Cosmoe's Wiener Getaway skips any backstory -- there's no explanation for how Cosmoe came to have a gelatinous blob living on his arm or to pilot a hot dog truck, and neither of these quirky elements seems essential to Max Brallier's snappy story. Illustrators Rachel Maguire and Nichole Kelley bring the crackling energy of animation and video game design to the illustrations. Like the text, the visuals are so overstuffed they're sometimes confusing. Daffy humor and a great message about being a good person keep this from skidding into deep space.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of graphic novels such as Cosmoe's Wiener Getaway. Do you prefer ones that are text-driven or illustration-driven?

  • Cosmoe accidentally broadcasts something across space and gets ridiculed on social media. Have you ever had to deal with such a public mistake?

  • Princess Dagger is trying to become a nicer person, with help from Cosmoe. Have you ever tried to banish a bad habit or behavior? Were you successful?

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