Scholastic. (Hotdog! Bk. 1). May 2020. 128p. pap. $5.99. ISBN 9781338587203.
Gr 1-4–Hotdog and his friends meet to fly a kite when a baby bird falls from its nest. Liz the lizard, Kevin the cat, and Hotdog (the barking kind not the yummy food) search for the bird’s mother. Hotdog, who has temporarily lost his sense of smell, and his pals are resourceful as they cross rivers and track down birds: Kev’s cow costume fills with air to make a great raft, and the kite is perfect for chasing seagulls. On their quest they confront a duck, a rooster, and a penguin to no avail. Where is birdie’s mom? Hotdog sneezes, and his sense of smell is restored—he is on the scent! Do’s goofy tale reads like P.D. Eastman’s Are You My Mother? crossed with Dav Pilkey’s “Captain Underpants.” The three friends’ determination to reunite baby and mother is altruistic, while the humor of the story is irreverent and scatalogical. Kev the cat won’t eat birdie; he’s more of a “pie and fries and donut kind of guy.” All three are appalled when the baby bird needs its diaper changed. Expressive black-and-white cartoon illustrations complement the fast-paced and lighthearted text. Key words and phrases are bolded in a handwritten print typeface. Word bubbles add to the accessibility of the narrative.
VERDICT A warmhearted story of friendship, with plenty of cheeky humor.

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