Review Detail

Kids Fiction 344
Stick Dog is on a Roll
(Updated: December 17, 2020)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
The dogs are hungry, but trying to distract themselves with naps. This doesn't work, and when Mutt shakes some out of his fur, the friends realize that they are TASTY sticks. While Karen and the others muse that there must be a tasty stick tree, Stick Dog realizes that some of the sticks are wrapped in a paper with a name on it. A mission across a park (where there is, of course, a run in with a squirrel) to find the origin of the sticks leads to a local lake, Washituba, where the restaurant is located. Stick Dog reconnoiters while his friends accidentally get on a small boat that floats out into the lake a bit too far. He determines that the food is sushi, and that it is fish based. After bringing them back, Stick Dog outlines a plan: the sushi is either in the restaurant, at the take out window, or in the car, and the best plan of attack it to get the food out of the car by creating a blockade. Since raccoons have been bedeviling the restaurant by getting into the garbage, the cans are securely shut, but the wily canines manage to create a roadblock. Will Stick Dog be able to retrieve the takeout order from the car and share it with his hungry friends? A warning about sharing sushi with dogs who don't live in a pipe and eat garbage is included.
Good Points
This was another delightful romp. For my part, it was more philosophical than previous entries, and for younger readers, it had delightful moments of absurdity. The brilliant thing is that these things occur simultaneously! I do so love the fact that Stick Dog is never mean or brusque with his friends; he understands their foibles and is always kind in his responses, even if it requires him to take deep breaths and meditate a bit more.

One of my favorite scenes was when the dogs have cornered a squirrel on the top of a swing set, and are trying to swing in order to reach the "bushy tailed threat". At one point, Stick Dog advises the dogs to close their eyes while they are swinging, like children do. In a brilliant series on one line paragraphs, Stick Dog is complicit in helping the squirrel escape. Other clever scenes included the boat rescue ("we'll just PRACTICE you throwing the rope to me..."), and the dogs defining "airport" and "blockade". Karen is, of course, my favorite character after Stick Dog. Her allegiance to her own truth is so steadfast and yet so overwhelmingly wrong!

Stick Dog is the panacea we need for 2020. He is a philosopher. When Karen can't sleep because Mutt's stomach is rumbling, Stick Dog tells her that while Mutt can't help it, she can control how she reacts to it. (Or, as Thomas Monson said "We can't direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.")He is also a comedian. So many of the dogs antics gave caused me to chuckle deeply, which is definitely the medicine we need for this challenging year.

While I was sad that Lucy was on vacation with her human and so her relationship with Stick Dog not build, it only made me look forward to book twelve with greater longing. While Stick Dog and his friends have survived admirably in the wild, I just want to give them all healthy food, warm and comfortable beds, and access to health care. It goes without saying that Stick Dog's care and management of his friends has earned tummy rubs for the rest of his life.
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