Tuesday, November 2, 2010


OK, so I'm probably not supposed to admit this, but I really do like hot dogs. Especially cooked on the grill, until they are a little charred. Or at baseball games. Just the hot dog, and the bun, and mustard, and once in a while a little pickle relish. No catsup or weird stuff like sauerkraut or onions.

It was fun, then, to discover Adrienne Sylver's HOT DIGGITY DOG in my pile of CYBILS nominees this week. Sylver became interested in hot dogs after hearing a show on NPR one July weekend. Did you know that Americans eat two billion hot dogs every July? Or that if you lined them up end to end, they would stretch 190,00o miles.

After hearing the NPR show, Sylver began researching the history of the hot dog. Each two page spread is a kind of "mini-chapter" e.g. "In the Beginning," "Welcome to the USA," "The Hot Dog Farm," and "Extreme Eating." There's a paragraph or two about the topic, then a side bar with three or four related facts. Did you know, for instance, that you can order a Salmon Dog, topped with avocados and carrots at Franktitude in Miami, Florida? Or that Babe Ruth loved hot dogs so much that he would often eat more than a dozen in one sitting? The illustrations are mostly cartoon, but occasionally a photograph of a hot dog sneaks its way in.

Appendixes include two hot dog recipes, some interesting food-related websites and books, and a bibliography.


Ms. Yingling said...

I wish this one were just a little longer. It seems to young for my middle school students, but they would probably love it!

Carol said...

Hmmm. I hadn't thought about it as a middle school read aloud, but I really think it might work. First, it's interesting and a little gross (read the first two page spread on how hot dogs were invented or the one on how hots are made, to hook kids in from the get-go). Also the fun facts are interesting and will grab kids' attention. The illustrations are kind of comic strip-ish so I don't think older kids would think they were babyish. Also the chapters are short- two pages each, which would address the middle school concern about time- you could read one or two sections a day and still finish the book in a week.

Carol said...

Whoops, meant to say how hot dogs are made.
The book also has a really inviting, friendly voice.
Another plus for middle schoolers- the last chapter invites kids to write their own food-related books, which might lead to some great writing from kids.

Tamara said...

I must have this book ASAP! I am in love. I'm thinking Arlene Sardine by Chris Raschka may be a cousin text?!

Carol said...

I kind of forgot about ARLENE, but yes, I definitely think it could be a cousin text. HOT DIGGITY DOG is a little more detailed and includes more information…Great idea!