Stick Dog by Tom Watson

Stick Dog by Tom Watson

Look, not everyone can be a great artist, okay? The narrator of Stick Dog certainly isn’t, and he’s sick of hearing about it. So he’ll make you a deal. You don’t comment on the art, and in exchange you’ll get story about five rectangular canine friends on a quest for the Holy Grail of picnic foods: hamburgers.

Stick Dog—accompanied by his friends Mutt, Stripes, Poo-Poo, and Karen—is determined to get some of the delicious-smelling hamburgers being grilled in the park away from the picnickers and into empty doggy stomachs.

The path is fraught with danger. (Are the grillers really super-warrior humans?) Distractions abound. (Squirrels are Poo-Poo’s archenemies!) Stick Dog must navigate the emotional complexities of friendship. (How are you supposed to tell your friends their plans are terrible without hurting their feelings!?) Can our intrepid hero overcome and finally get a hamburger of his very own?

Tom Watson’s humorous text pairs straight-out silliness with just a touch of sophistication for a fun, easy-to-read story. The text itself is printed journal-style, with Ethan Long’s renditions of the narrator’s self-proclaimed “bad” illustrations scattered liberally throughout. The narrator’s voice, full of innocent rebellion against English teachers who demand stories be written a certain way, is endearing, and Long’s whimsical illustrations help give both the narrator and the characters distinct personalities.

Stick Dog is the first in a series that is perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. For other funny, notebook-style stories, look for Troy Cumming’s Notebook of Doom series, beginning with Rise of the Balloon Goons, and Stephen Pastis’s Timmy Failure series, starting with Mistakes Were Made.

Whether you’re a bad artist, a dog lover, or just a fan of a good hamburger, Stick Dog is a hilarious and heartwarming story that you won’t want to miss.