Stick Dog Wants a Hot Dog

Stick Dog Wants a Hot DogStick Dog Wants a Hot Dog is the second book in the Stick Dog series. It’s useful but not necessary to read the first one before reading this one, but I’ll assume you read my review of the first one.

The tone and approach are similar, with the narrator asking the reader not to give him grief for things that don’t exactly make sense (like dogs being able to read).  Stick Dog and his friends are stalking a hot dog cart this time around, and this time they have competition—a treefull of raccoons with the same goal.

I didn’t like this one quite as much as the first one. There are tensions among the friends that didn’t seem to be in the first one, and people are shown in a more negative light, despite not interacting with the dogs.

SPOILER ALERT: Things you might want to know before suggesting this to your kids

Friends Are Annoying

Stick Dog’s friends continue to be less than rational, but his patience for this seems to have waned. Now instead of enjoying their quirkiness, he seems to be getting annoyed but keeping his mouth mostly shut about it. Some snark sneaks through, though, but it seems like his friends are too dim to really pick up on it.

Stripes is annoyed when she realizes that Stick Dog can’t pilot a helicopter, and she continues to point this out as an obvious personality flaw. Stick Dog understandably starts to be bothered by this, but he says nothing. If these dogs were real, a blow up fight would be brewing. This tension that goes nowhere bothered me, mostly because I enjoyed the lack of tension in the first book.

Humans Are Weird and Fat

The dogs spy on a man who is exercising. They’re confused by what he’s doing and think it must be a mating dance of some kind. While it’s funny to see things that we’re familiar with (putting in ear buds, for instance) through the eyes of those unfamiliar, there’s a certain amount of poking fun at a pudgy guy with a beard who’s trying to get in shape. It’s not a huge deal and he’s not really a buffoon or anything, but enough of the humor is aimed at the human and not just the situation that it bothered me a little.

When the hot dog vendor is scared and runs away from his cart, the narrator notes that you might expect him to be slow since he probably eats a lot of hot dogs. Again it’s not a huge deal, but combine it with the other scene and there’s a slight trend of making fun of out of shape guys. I’m not terribly fond of anything that makes that more acceptable.


Unlike the first book, where the dogs were fed through the generosity of humans, the hot dogs are acquired through stealing. They manage to inadvertently scare away the vendor and then the dogs steal all the hot dogs. Stick Dog, realizing that the raccoons are hungry just like he is, shares with them. But it’s worth noting that he’s sharing stuff that he’s stealing. The vendor is never set up as mean or evil—he’s just an obstacle to them stealing his stuff.


This book is still amusing. I enjoyed the direct addresses to the reader for the most part. But one thing I really liked about the first book—that the silliness didn’t come at the cost of the characters—changed in this book. My son noted that he was bothered by how stupid the other dogs are in comparison to Stick Dog. When I’d only read the first book, I thought their stupidity was kind of quirky. But I agree with my son after reading this one—the stupidity is a liability and it’s annoying to Stick Dog and therefore to the reader as well.

Nevertheless, it’s a cute book and just fine for most readers 8 and up.


Stick Dog Wants a Hot Dog by Tom Watson
Published in 2013 by HarperCollins Children’s Books
Sequel to Stick Dog, followed by the upcoming Stick Dog Chases a Pizza
Read my son’s copy

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