A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Stick Dog is the first of a series about a group of canine friends that invites comparison to Big Nate and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: All feature line drawings on notebook-style paper, middle-grade humor, and comical adventures. In this story, the dogs scheme to steal hamburgers from a family at the park. Stick Dog, their leader, shoots down proposals to bite the humans' ankles or steal their car. The dogs' goal may not be admirable, but it makes sense: These dogs don't live with families and are fending for themselves. The silly humor is gentle and kind, making this a good choice for young children.
What's the story?
Stick Dog lives happily on his own in an empty pipe under a highway. One day the summer wind brings with it the intoxicating smell of hamburgers being grilled at a nearby park. Stick Dog leads his friends on a quest to get their paws on those burgers. Their adventure is interrupted by one thing after another: a pesky squirrel, a missing dog, a tasty appetizer, and the challenge of agreeing on a sound plan to swipe the burgers from an unsuspecting family.
Is it any good?
The visual and narrative style of STICK DOG is similar to those of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Big Nate series, but without their occasional bite. The canine companions -- Stick Dog, Karen, Mutt, a poodle named Poo-Poo, and a spotted dog named Stripes -- are sweet and loyal friends. The story is a silly romp that leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy.
Ethan Long's stick-figure illustrations are charming adaptations of original artwork by author Tom Watson. The publisher recommends this for ages 8 and up, but this is definitely skewed to a younger set just beginning chapter books. The goofy style and simple writing are ideally suited to young readers -- older children may find it a little too simplistic and rambling.
Talk to your kids about ...
- The dogs do a lot of brainstorming and work together in pursuit of burgers. Stick Dog is clearly in charge, but without being bossy. What makes him a good leader?
- Learn how to draw Stick Dog at the series website, which also offers pictures to download, a quiz, and free downloadable picture books by the author.
- Author: Tom Watson
- Illustrator: Ethan Long
- Genre: Humor
- Topics: Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date: January 8, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 189
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 20, 2019
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