Thursday, July 22, 2010

Book Review - Hot Diggity Dog: The History of the Hot Dog

Author: Adrienne Sylver
Illustrator: Elwood H. Smith
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers/Dutton (May 13, 2010)
Reading Level: Grades 3 to 6
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 Stars

Description from GoodReads:
We ate them on the way to the moon and served them to the king of England. We name a Hot Dog– Eating Champ! Garnished with hilarious illustrations and amazing “foodie” facts, this kid-friendly, globespanning history of our favorite fast-food meal offers unique insight into America’s multicultural heritage. From a hobo’s franks-and-beans to astronaut food, there’s more to the wiener—and what’s for dinner—than you think.

My new favorite thing is to look for non-fiction picture books that are informative and witty or humorous. It started at the beginning of the year and I seem to be on a quest to find the latest fun non-fiction picture book. Hot Diggity Dog: The History of the Hot Dog by Adrienne Sylver is my newest addition to my personal collection.

Did you know that Hot Dogs have been around for thousands of years? Or that they were referred to in the Odyssey? Or that July is National Hot Dog Month because Americans eat the most hot dogs in July?! These are just a few of the facts and tidbits of information located on the pages of Sylver's books. Actually, there is a lot on each of the pages. In addition to the text that tells about the history of the Hot Dog, the side bars/margins have trivia, riddles, fun facts about Hot Dogs. It really requires a couple of readings of the book in order to sufficiently catch all of the information stored on the pages.

Elwood H. Smith's retro-style cartoon-like illustrations are as energetic as the text and just as engaging. I also loved the randomly interspersed photographs of hot dogs throughout the book.

For teachers who are looking for ways to engage upper elementary students in non-fiction or trying to find a book for a reluctant reader who may have a penchant for non-fiction, I would suggest giving Hot Diggity Dog a chance. The only negative thing I might have to say about this book, which is why it didn't get a 5 star from me, is that the font-size on the side facts is very tiny which makes this a difficult book to read aloud with the pictures facing outward. Aside from that concern this is definitely a "keeper".

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I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~