Stick Dog Wants a Hot Dog



Same dogs, same tricks in goofy sequel.

What parents need to know

Educational value

This story's just for fun, not intended for learning.

Positive messages
The dogs stay together, putting friendship before satisfying their hunger. When Karen disappears, they set aside their quest and focus on rescuing her first.
Positive role models
Stick Dog is fairly patient with his friends, hearing them out even when they're headed off-track with absurd ideas. The dogs work together as a team. Stick Dog generously shares the hot dogs with the rival raccoons.
Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Stick Dog Wants a Hot Dog is about a group of stray dogs plotting to steal frankfurters from an unsuspecting vendor in the park. Unlike in the first book, Stick Dog -- wherein the dogs' intended targets freely gave the canines their food -- here the vendor ends up being tricked and the friends pull off the scheme. But Stick Dog shares the loot with hungry rivals. Baffled by the sight of a man exercising, some of the dogs assume he's doing a mating performance to get a girlfriend. When one of the dogs leaps out of an upper-story window, the narrator pauses the story to point out that kids should never try something similar. It's all silly fun, best for young kids and early and reluctant readers.

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What's the story?

Stick Dog and his hungry friends Karen, Stripes, Mutt, and Poo-Poo spot a man selling frankfurters in the park and decide they need to snatch some to eat. But a raccoon also has his eye on the hot dogs. Stick Dog and his daffy pals need a good plan to distract the vendor and swipe the goods before the raccoon. That’s no easy feat for this gang of easily distracted dogs. Things get even more complicated when Karen accidentally gets locked in the home of a very strange stranger. Now the dogs need to free their pal before pursuing the frankfurters -- and the rival raccoon has brought company.


Is it any good?

STICK DOG WANTS A HOT DOG reunites the five endearing pups from Stick Dog. Tom Watson follows the same formula: Hungry dogs seeking food come up with harebrained schemes to attain their goal, and Stick Dog affectionately leads them to success. The humor is a little more forced this second time around, and awkward, passive phrasing saps some of the energy. All in all, however, it's an entertaining caper enlivened by Ethan Long's stick-figure-style drawings. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the dogs' plot to steal from a hot dog vendor. Because they're strays, they need to find food on their own. Given their circumstances, is it OK for them to steal?
  • The narrator occasionally breaks into the story to speak directly to the reader. Do these asides enhance or interrupt the story? 
  • Stick Dog tries to be patient, but his friends become exasperated with him for shooting down their ideas. In what ways is he a good leader? Does being a leader interfere with his friendships?

Book details

Author:Tom Watson
Illustrator:Ethan Long
Topics:Cats, dogs, and mice, Friendship
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:October 8, 2013
Number of pages:224
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12
Read aloud:7 - 12
Read alone:7 - 12
Available on:Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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