Review of Hot Dog

H Hot Dog Hot Dog
by Doug Salati; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Knopf    40 pp.    g
5/22    978-0-593-30843-1    $17.99
Library ed.  978-0-593-30844-8    $20.99
e-book ed.  978-0-593-30845-5    $10.99

It’s a hot time in the city. A small, low-slung pup greets the morning from the window of a narrow NYC ­brownstone. But as the dog’s day unfolds, it all becomes too much. “City summer /steamy sidewalks… / crowds close in… /too loud / too close / too much!” Fortunately, the dog’s devoted owner understands. She breaks off her round of errands mid-crosswalk, picks up her dog, and takes a taxi, then a train, and finally a ferry to an island, “wild and long and low,” where the pair enjoys an idyllic beach day. The dog runs and runs, chases waves, delivers shells and stones to its owner, digs holes; the woman relaxes under an umbrella. Restored, they return to the city in the evening, now able to cherish its many pleasures—­skateboarders in the park, street pretzels, a fruit stand. “What a day for a dog!” Minimal, impressionistic free-verse text beautifully sets scenes and conveys character and emotion, expertly matched by the illustrations. Claustrophobic vertical panels, angular lines, and hot oranges, reds, and yellows (of the city) give way to expansive, sometimes full-spread horizontal panels and cool blues and greens (of the island escape). In the end, back home in the woman’s small walk-up apartment, our doggo settles down for the night, “ready to leap / into a deep /ocean / sleep.” Entirely delightful; a breath of fresh air from start to finish.

From the November/December 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Martha V. Parravano
Martha V. Parravano
Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

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