This book contains my very favorite scene-- Stick Dog trying to encourage his friends to get up a steep hill. He uses excellent management skills to cajole them to keep walking and to not give up. There needs to be a workshop on the Stick Dog Management Style. He is a master at working with people who are less intelligent than he is without making them feel bad.
There is a series of popular notebook novels that involve a young boy who is mean to everyone, including his best friend. I would much rather hand a reader this series, where kindness and invention always wins the day.