Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Dear Hot Dog

Dear Hot Dog

Mordicai Gerstein
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2011   ISBN: 978-0810997325

Throughout the day, we have these little moments when we use or encounter everyday objects and things, and we don’t even think about the experience. When was the last time that you thought about your toothbrush and what it does for you? Have you ever considered how useful your cup is as it conveys your breakfast juice to your mouth? Have you ever contemplated the perfection of a hotdog in its bun, dressed with mustard, relish, and ketchup? Probably not.

In this book, you can follow three friends as they play, run, swim, and make their way through a day. You are there when they wake up, and you are there when they finally fall asleep. Best of all, you will connect with these children as they talk about some of the simple things that make their lives better. Their words come to us in the form of poems, each one being written as if the girl or one of the two boys is speaking to us.

The day begins with a little boy brushing his teeth. As he brushes, he ‘converses’ with his toothbrush. The boy talks about how he gives the toothbrush “toothpaste / for breakfast,” and how in turn, the toothbrush works hard “scouring and scrubbing” his teeth.

Next, we meet a little boy who loves his pants. After all, the little boy and his pants “go everywhere / together.” The pants carry the little boy’s “treasures” in pockets, and together they share all kinds of adventures. Of course, it is very hard for the pants to endure being washed, but as soon as the clean “limp and lifeless” garment is worn again, it comes back to life.

The poems that follow look at toes, socks, shoes, water, summer sun, rain, books, and many other things that we connect with and experience on a typical day. Each poem is rich with images that children will recognize and enjoy, and each one celebrates those simple yet precious everyday moments.

Paired with his delightful artwork, Mordecai Gerstein’s collection of poems is a treat to read and to look at, and children will enjoy dipping into the book to see what new treasures they can find.