Dear Hot Dog

Overview

Whether it’s slurping up spaghetti or catching some sun at the beach, the everyday wonders celebrated in this collection of poems will appeal to young readers.

Cleverly crafted by Mordicai Gerstein, Dear Hot Dog follows three friends from the time they wake up and brush their teeth to when they snuggle up for bed with their favorite stuffed animal. In between playing outside, making crafts, eating their favorite treats, and reading, together they delight in the adventure and ...

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Overview

Whether it’s slurping up spaghetti or catching some sun at the beach, the everyday wonders celebrated in this collection of poems will appeal to young readers.

Cleverly crafted by Mordicai Gerstein, Dear Hot Dog follows three friends from the time they wake up and brush their teeth to when they snuggle up for bed with their favorite stuffed animal. In between playing outside, making crafts, eating their favorite treats, and reading, together they delight in the adventure and magic that each day brings. Gerstein’s vibrant illustrations and lighthearted verse make Dear Hot Dog a great introduction to poetry for young readers.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Two-time Caldecott Medalist Gerstein praises life's simple joys and unsung objects in poems and loosely rendered acrylics, as the trio of speakers in his poems lovingly personify their subjects. In one, a girl looks sadly at her toes, lamenting: Toes:/ We've become strangers/ this winter./ I almost never/ see you." When the same child later licks a melting ice-cream cone, she announces, "I hold you high/ against the sky/ like Liberty's torch." Gerstein's keen observations and unrhymed phrases offer a window into a world in which autumn leaves fall "to the ground/ like a blanket of colorful,/ crispy cornflakes," and a toothbrush has a foamy, gargling life of its own. Ages 3–7. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Carlee Hallman
Unrhymed poetry and pictures celebrate various objects with which kids interact such as a toothbrush, toes, leaves, and a hot dog. Two boys and a girl are shown as friends. In "PANTS" it says in part, "I hear your buttons clicking in the dryer. You emerge, limp and lifeless, till I slip my legs inside you. You're alive again!" The picture shows an African American boy in blue jeans standing upside down on his hands. The poem "AIR" relates, "Wind is air that's going somewhere; it musses your hair, and whistles in your ears." The picture is of a red headed girl running with a fish kite flying in the air. In "SPAGHETTI" the three friends twirl spaghetti around forks. The verse states that, "Even though you look like worms you're nothing like them." The colored pictures and text are intertwined. Kids will enjoy the fanciful word pictures and colorful illustrations. Reviewer: Carlee Hallman
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—These poems look at everyday things like socks and leaves through the eyes of three youngsters. Both evocative and childlike, "Hot Dog" has a wonderful image of a frankfurter "snug as a puppy in your bready bun. I love you." "Ice-Cream Cone" explores the senses of touch and taste as a girl savors every last bit of the melting confection. In a final twist, she gives the cone to her little brother: "He likes them./I don't," making the verse seem to be the authentic voice of a child. The full-color and black-line illustrations on mostly white backgrounds are energetic and show children in poses that belong only to the young. They support the verses beautifully, although one slightly misses the mark. "Summer Sun" takes place at a pool, but the children appear to be seaside. As with many collections, not all of the poems are equally strong. Nevertheless, this book is lovely overall. Because the topics are concrete, it is a great tool for teaching poetry.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810997325
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/1/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 810,645
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Mordicai Gerstein

Mordicai Gerstein is the Caldecott Medal–winning illustrator of The Man Who Walked Between the Towers and The Mountains of Tibet, both of which he wrote. He lives in Westhampton, Massachusetts. Visit him online at MordicaiGerstein.com.

Biography

Mordicai Gerstein has always been an artist. As a child, he enjoyed painting and eventually graduated from art school in Los Angeles. He continued painting in New York City and supported himself and his family for 25 years by designing and directing animated television commercials. He says, "I had always loved cartoons, especially Bugs Bunny, and I found I enjoyed making animated films. Even a 30-second commercial involved drawing and painting, storytelling, not to mention actors, music, and sound effects."

During the 1960s, Gerstein made several films that received critical acclaim. In 1966, The Room won the Award of the Film Clubs of France at the International Festival for Experimental Film, and in 1968, The Magic Ring won a CINE Golden Eagle.

His career took a dramatic turn when he met children's author Elizabeth Levy in 1970. He has illustrated her Something Queer Is Going On chapter books ever since, and it was Levy and her editor who encouraged Gerstein to write a book on his own. His debut came in 1983 with Arnold of the Ducks, the story of a young boy who gets lost in the wild and is raised by ducks. The New York Times hailed Gerstein's freshman effort as one of the year's best children's books, and he went on to write two more volumes exploring the theme of feral childhood. In 1998 he released The Wild Boy, a picture book based on the true story of a young 18th-century French boy who was found living in the woods and was put on display as an oddity, only to escape and be captured again years later. That same year, Gerstein released Victor, a young adult novel about the same boy.

Gerstein tells the story is of a Tibetan woodcutter who is given a choice between reincarnation or heaven in The Mountains of Tibet, which received the distinction of being one of 1987's ten best illustrated books of the year, according to The New York Times. Although the book is written for kids around age seven, Gerstein approaches the subject of death with a bold, sensitive plot and elegant illustrations. Spirituality is a major theme in many of Gerstein's books. He has interpreted tales from the Bible in Jonah and the Two Great Fish (1997), Noah and the Great Flood (1999), and Queen Esther the Morning Star (2001). Other titles such as The Seal Mother (1986), The Story of May (1993), and The Shadow of a Flying Bird (1994) also express Gerstein's reverential awe for the world.

Young readers can also stretch their imaginations with Gerstein's more playful books. Vocabulary is fun in The Absolutely Awful Alphabet (1999), where the letter P is actually a particularly putrid predator! Bedtime Everybody! (1996) has a young girl's stuffed animals planning a bedtime picnic. Behind the Couch (1996) takes readers on an exciting caper into an unknown world of grazing dust balls, Lost Coin Hill and the Valley of the Stuffed Animals. In Stop Those Pants (1998), a boy is forced to play hide-and-seek with his clothes as he gets ready for the day. Gerstein pays tribute to American composer Charles Ives in What Charlie Heard (2002), the story of a boy's unique talent for interpreting all the sounds of daily life.

Another biographical picture book, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers (2003) tells the story of Philippe Petit, the daredevil who walked across a tightrope suspended between New York City's World Trade Center towers in 1974. The book won the Caldecott Medal in 2004, and parents have praised the book as an invaluable tool for talking to their children about the events of 9/11.

Many of Gerstein's children's books are destined to be classics. His style of writing and illustration brings each of his stories to life, shows a passion for adventure, and relishes the joy that comes from understanding the mysteries of the world.

Good To Know

Despite a successful career illustrating children's books, the first book Gerstein wrote, Arnold of the Ducks, was turned down by seven publishers. Eventually, The New York Times called it one of the best children's books of the year.

Gerstein was inspired to write The Mountains of Tibet after reading The Tibetan Book of the Dead.

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    1. Hometown:
      Northhampton, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 25, 1935
    2. Place of Birth:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Education:
      Chouinard Institute of Art
    2. Website:

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