“Stick Dog” by Tom Watson

The Plot In Five Sentences Or Less:  Stick Dog lives in a pipe that runs under Highway 16.  His favorite pastime is playing with his four friends Karen, Stripes, Mutt, and Poo Poo.  One day when the dogs are out playing, they catch a whiff of hamburgers being grilled over in the park.  This starts an adventure in which the 5 friends try to find a way to snatch the tasty hamburgers from the humans.

My Take:  This is a funny book!  Tom Watson has a writing style that initially appears quite simple–and that mirrors the childish drawings–but that breaks out into elevated vocabulary at unexpected moments.  When one of the dogs–not one of which is known for being exceptionally smart by the way–tastes a new kind of potato chip, she describes it as a “powdery combination that is both enchanting and invigorating.”

Kids will appreciate the light hearted humor and relentlessly positive spirit of Stick Dog.  He is a character that suffers under the circumstances of fate and the dim wittedness of his good friends, while always looking to win the day.  Or, in this case, hamburgers!

One Interesting Note About the Author:  According to his website, Tom Watson once worked in politics for U.S. Senator John Glenn and the Governor of Ohio.

“Snoop Troop: It Came From Beneath The Playground” by Kirk Scroggs

The Plot In Five Sentences Or Less: Logan Lang is a 4th grader super sleuth at Murkee Elementary who loves solving crimes almost as much as she loves reading about them in the school library.  Gustavo Muchomacho is a fellow student who was raised on crime fighting TV shows and has a set of specialized disguise mustaches.  When the merry-go-round at nearby Hurling Rivers Amusement park disappears into the ground, Logan and Gustavo are on the case!  Events heat up when an army of moles begins demanding the lunch money from students at Murkee Elementary.  Will Logan and Gustavo crack the case before the students lose all of their money to the underground rodents?

My Take:  In line with his earlier book series “Wiley and Grampa’s Creature Features” and “Tales of a Sixth-Grade Muppet,” Kirk Scroggs blends outrageous humor with zany illustrations.  Never taking itself seriously, “It Came From Beneath the Playground” makes references to ancient custodial burial grounds and moustaches that sprout nostril lights.  Kids with shorter attentions spans will appreciate these funny, snappy books.  Ages 7+

One Interesting Note About the Author: Kirk Scroggs was born and raised in Austin, Texas and studied film at the University of Texas.