Like most dogs, Stick Dog loves sticks, but that is not where he gets his name. Stick Dog is named after the fact that the author doesn’t really know how to draw. So in the grand tradition of drawing stick people when you’re not sure how to draw real people, Stick Dog is born! Crafted expertly out of a rectangle for a body, sticks for legs, and some circles, triangles, and a square for the face, Stick Dog is essentially man’s next best friend.
"It’s not hard to believe that this is what dogs think about and how they plan together, and it really makes you want to take one home."
Despite his irregularly shaped body, Stick Dog is a dog nonetheless and tends to do dog things, like hang out with some of his good friends. There’s Poo Poo, the Poodle. The nickname Poo Poo comes from the word Poodle, not, you know, actual poo. Stripes is a Dalmatian, Karen is a dachshund, and Mutt is, you guessed it, a mutt. What happens when five rambunctious, poorly-drawn dogs get together? Chaos naturally ensues and usually revolves around something dogs can’t get enough of --- food! This time around it happens to be summer, and that means hamburgers are cooking on the grill and out in the open for little dogs to get their paws (or stick-drawn legs) on.
If you have dogs or have ever really watched dogs, then you know that when they put their minds to something, they inevitably get distracted by some of the silliest things. The same is true for dogs drawn from sticks. Before Stick Dog and his friends even make it to the outdoor picnic, a squirrel distracts Poo Poo. Now, there is a case to be made for dogs to go after squirrels, since squirrels do like to throw acorns and can be tricky, but the desire for a freshly cooked hamburger saves the day and Stick Dog and his friends decide to let the squirrel go free --- for the moment.
If you’ve been following along closely so far, you’re probably wondering how in the world a group of dogs, even if they are horribly drawn, will ever be able to get hamburgers away from humans. Lassie, the smartest dog there ever was, certainly didn’t get his own TV show just because he was cute. He was resourceful! Just wait until you see what Poo Poo, Karen, Stripes, Mutt and Stick Dog have planned in order to finally taste the juicy deliciousness of freshly-made hamburgers.
Author and illustrator Tom Watson got many things right. The illustrations will make you feel better about your drawing and may even make you look back fondly on some of your first artistic creations. Stick Dog and his friends could also be real. It’s not hard to believe that this is what dogs think about and how they plan together, and it really makes you want to take one home. Sigh, if only they were real. Who knows, you just might be inspired to draw and create some of your own adventures, perhaps based on your own dog.
Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on January 7, 2013