Hot Dog

by Doug Salati (Author)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

From a critically acclaimed creator comes this summery picture book featuring an overheated--and overwhelmed--pup who finds his calm with some sea, sand, and fresh air.

"An utter joy from beginning to end!" --Sophie Blackall, two-time Caldecott Medal winner

It's summer in the city, and this hot dog has had enough! Enough of sizzling sidewalks, enough of wailing sirens, enough of people's feet right in his face. When he plops down in the middle of a crosswalk, his owner endeavors to get him the breath of fresh air he needs. She hails a taxi, hops a train, and ferries out to the beach. Here, a pup can run!

With fluid art and lyrical text that have the soothing effect of waves on sand, Doug Salati shows us how to find calm and carry it back with us so we can appreciate the small joys in a day.

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Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Set on one sizzling summer day, this remarkable slice-of-life story, a solo debut, stars a copper-hued, city-dwelling dachshund--the titular hot dog. In pencil, gouache, and digital spreads that have a candid feel, Salati (Lawrence in the Fall) captures the city's crush, and the dog's plunking down in the center of a crosswalk, refusing to move. But the hound's human--a white-skinned individual who wears glasses and a fanny pack--knows just what they need. The two grab a cab, then board a train and a ferry. As the images transition from warm to cool colors, and the text moves from vertically set staccato lines to horizontal fare, the duo arrive at "an island... wild and long and low," where, at last, "a pup can run." Full spreads open out onto luxurious stretches of ocean, sand, and reeds, where the two share a blissful afternoon. As the dog scavenges and the human rests, vignettes capture the joy of companions who are utterly relaxed in the other's presence. And when the setting sun precipitates a return home, the gentle introduction of urban blues and greens suggest a better balance as "everyone/ cools/ down." Employing snapshots of city life that create a strong sense of place, Salati makes smart use of the picture book format to craft a calming portrait of escape and renewal. Ages 4-8. Agent: Erica Rand Silverman, Stimola Literary. (Apr.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Doug Salati
Doug Salati is the illustrator of Tomie dePaola's In a Small Kingdom, as well as Matthew Farina's Lawrence in the Fall, an Ezra Jack Keats Honor Book, which the Wall Street Journal described as a handsome excursion. Doug graduated from the Illustration as Visual Essay masters program at the School of Visual Arts in 2014 and was a 2015 Sendak Fellow. His illustration work has been recognized by 3x3 Illustration, American Illustration, and the Society of Illustrators. He lives and works in New York City.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication date
April 20, 2022
BISAC categories
JUV039050 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Emotions & Feelings
JUV002190 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Pets
JUV002070 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Dogs
Library of Congress categories
Senses and sensation

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