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Stick Dog


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About the Author

Early in his career Tom worked in politics, including a stint as the Chief Scriptwriter for the Governor of Ohio. This experience helped him develop the unique, storytelling narrative style of the Stick Dog books. Tom finds it a lot more fun and rewarding writing stories for kids rather than writing speeches for grown-ups. He lives in Chicago with his wife, daughter, son and of course, his dog.


"I Can't Draw, Okay?" is the name of the first chapter of this heavily illustrated reader from Watson, who's previously published two e-books starring the eponymous dog. Watson illustrated those earlier tales, but Long (Pig Has a Plan) does the "bad" drawing in this iteration, contributing exuberant stick-figure cartoons that riff on and clean up Watson's earlier designs. It's a treat to see how Long transforms two rectangles, some googly eyes, and a few lines into spot-on evocations of endearingly goofy dog behavior. Unfortunately, the new images also throw light on the book's weaknesses: overworked prose, weak characterizations, forced jokes, and a woolly narrative about five stray dogs that catch the scent of a cookout and head off in search of its source. Watson tries to be ironic and irreverent in his humor, claiming his story will be "told in a way I like (but my English teacher doesn't)" and naming one of Stick Dog's canine friends Poo-Poo (he's a poodle). But readers may quickly start flipping ahead, looking for storytelling traction or differentiation among the characters. Ages 8-12. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Gr 3-6-The young narrator of this tale gets in trouble with his teachers for drawing stick figures and using improper sentence structure. However, that doesn't stop him from telling an amusing, heartwarming story with plenty of humorous asides about an intrepid canine. Stick Dog may be homeless, but he's resourceful enough to make a nice place for himself in an empty pipe, filled with a comfy cushion and lots of discarded toys. He's got a close-knit bunch of canine pals: Poo-poo, Karen, Stripes, and Mutt. The only thing he's missing is food, so when the buddies get a whiff of hamburgers from the nearby park, they take off. But levelheaded and kind Stick Dog can't quite get the mission going as he would like. First, Poo-poo is obsessed with an acorn-throwing squirrel along the way; then Stripes is convinced that the people barbecuing are "super-warrior humans" not to be fooled with when she sees the weaponlike barbecue fork; and finally, Karen disappears searching for potato-chip appetizers. Stick Dog handles everyone's distractions with grace, but he's bent on getting to those burgers. The ridiculous plans devised by each dog to actually get the food escalate the humor. Watson has created lovable characters whose faults make them even more endearing. The stick drawings are the perfect fit for this story.-Diane McCabe, John Muir Elementary, Santa Monica, CA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


"With hilarious illustrations and an adorable four-legged friend, the story of Stick Dog and his quest for a delicious dinner is destined to be top dog." - Liverpool Echo

"This story made us laugh hard enough to blow milk out of our noses!" - Jack, 7 and Freddy, 10

"Stick Dog you are really funny!" - Nicole, 10

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