Today, Kid Lit Reviews went venturing to a star’s home. Not sure where to go, or who would oblige, I found myself outside a large pipe under Highway 16, trying to make good use of a Map to the Homes of Kidlit Stars.
It cost me 5 bucks and I was beginning to think I’d been scammed. Really, who would map out the homes of famous kidlit stars? Well, a strange-looking guy with purple hair and purple crayons sticking out of his pockets did, that’s who.
I stared at that multicolored map for a long time, trying to just get my bearings. It had taken me to Highway 16, but there is nothing, absolutely nothing, but a highway and cars traveling here and there.
“Woolf!” said a mutt by my ankles.
Whoa, now I love dogs and help with rescue dogs nearly every day, but this dog was scary, really scary. Not in a doggy way, he is a little short on muscles. But its “wolf” did not sound doggish. There is an undercurrent of human voices. Or maybe those where simply the other dogs also standing there, eyeing me with suspicion. Human voices? And what are five dogs, obviously strays, doing under a major highway? No collars for identification. I wolfed back to the barking dog, “Hey!”
“Do I know you,” said the lead dog, obviously the alpha dog.
“I don’t think so. Should I know you?”
“Yeah! I’m Stick Dog and these are my pals. I live right here.”
Here, under the busy highway?
“Yep. Who are you,” he asked. I told him my name and where I came from and the next thing he did was invite me into his home. The other dogs stayed outside. Guards? Here is what happened, I swear it really happened just like this. I taped every word.
Stick Dog. Star of author and illustrator Tom Watson’s Stick Dog middle grade novels. We are in Stick Dog’s home with all his pals for a little chit-chat.
Hi, Stick Dog. Thanks for agreeing to this interview.
“No problem. My friends and I just found some leftover hot dogs and buns at Picasso Park so everybody’s stomach is full. So I have plenty of time right now. And I’m glad you could find your way to my pipe for this. You didn’t get lost in the woods?”
No. The Map to the Homes of Kidlit Stars was very clear. Can you tell me about this place?
“Well, we’re in a pipe obviously. Highway 16 runs way up on the top of this hill and this pipe runs underneath it. It stays nice and dry and protects me from the wind in the winter, which is nice. As you can see, I have some old couch cushions that I found by a dumpster. I sleep on those. Have a seat.”
Thank you. Umm, wait. A dumpster? Ow! What’s under here? It’s kind of lumpy.
“Oh, there are some old tennis balls and a Frisbee under there. I forgot about those. Just fling them out onto the floor. I try to hide that stuff from Mutt. He usually ends up eating them if he finds them. Is that more comfortable now?”
Yes. [flick slobbery tennis balls to the side] Thank you.
Speaking of Mutt, I’d like to hear about the four friends who go on adventures with you. Let’s go ahead and start with Mutt.
“Okay. Well, Mutt is a, umm, mutt. He’s the most sensitive of the group. He likes to hide and store things in his fur. Sometimes we use those things as tools to snatch food from humans. We’re all strays, so we need to find food every day. Mutt will eat anything. I mean, anything.”
Are you reading from a Stick Dog book? Stick?
Okay. Moving on. What about Karen? What is she like?
“Karen is a dachshund. Let’s see, how can I put this? Karen is a little on the spastic side. One time she drank a giant cup of coffee. Karen and coffee are a really bad combination. I think Tom wrote about that for an upcoming book. I told him about it – and he thought it was really funny.”
Are you reading Stick Dog Dreams of Ice Cream?
“No. Poo-Poo is a poodle—“
Aw, I get it. Poo-Poo is a Poo(py) Poodle. Ah, alliteration.
“Poo-Poo is a poodle. He was not named after, you know, going to the bathroom. There are two super-important things to know about Poo-Poo. First, he really dislikes squirrels. Second, he likes to hit his head into things on purpose. Seriously.”
Last, but not least, the spotted Stripes. What’s her story?
“She’s a Dalmatian. I met her behind the shopping mall on Highway 16. She used to be a guard dog there. But she lost her job after the Nacho Cheese Grande Incident. She’s never revealed what actually happened that day.”
The Nacho Cheese Grande Incident?
“Can’t say. I don’t know. Best not to ask.”
Not in the book? The one in your hand?
Never mind. Tell me about Stick Dog?
“I guess. I’m not really sure what breed I am. I’ve never really thought about it. It’s my job to make sure that all my friends get enough to eat every day. It’s not always easy, umm, managing around their peculiar ways. But I find it totally rewarding when our missions succeed and we all get something tasty to eat.”
So, you’re the Alpha Dog.
“No, my name is Stick, not Alpha. Didn’t you read at least one of my books?”
Yes, I did. Tomorrow I am posting the review of Stick Dog Dreams of Ice Cream.
“Did you read it?”
Of course I read it. I’m wondering what you think of Tom Watson’s drawings. Is this what you really look like? I think Tom makes good representations of how you look?
“Umm, I’m trying to think of how I can put this politely. Let’s see. I guess I’ll just put it this way: I am WAY better looking than that.”
Of all the Stick Dog Adventures, which is your favorite and why?
“I probably liked the pizza adventure the best. We had to work really hard to get those five pizzas out of the delivery car. But the reward was so worth it. That mozzarella cheese was so warm and chewy. And the tomato sauce was perfectly spiced – a little oregano, a bit of garlic.”
Poo-Poo is drooling on my shoe.
“Sorry about that.”
“Don’t you ever drool?”
Umm, no. Maybe in my sleep
Maybe. Let’s get back to the pizza. What kind of toppings did it have?
“Toppings? What are ‘toppings?’ The pizza we had just had cheese and tomato sauce. What are toppings?”
What you ate are called ‘plain pizzas’ or just ‘cheese pizzas’. Toppings are the things that go on top of the cheese and tomato sauce.
“You’re joking, right?”
Nope, it’s true.
“Could you give me some examples of these so-called toppings?”
Sure. There are lots of veggie toppings. Green peppers, onions, broccoli, mushrooms.
And there are meat toppings too.
“Did you say ‘meat’?!”
Are you okay? You’re shaking.
“What kind of meat?”
Pepperoni, sausage, and hamburger. Those kinds of things.
“Hamburger? Are you serious?! You’re not messing with me are you?”
Not messing. It’s true.
“Humans combine hamburger and pizza into one food?! A pizza COVERED in hamburger! Is that what you’re saying?!”
That’s what I’m saying.
We have to pause here for a second or two. Stick Dog, would you please pass me that box?
“Why? What are those? What are you doing?”
They’re tissues. You’re drooling quite a lot – and we’re sitting close together. I’m just going to wipe off my wet shoes a bit.
“Sorry about that. It’s just the whole pizza-hamburger combination thing. I couldn’t help myself.”
It’s no problem at all. I totally understand. Pizza makes me salivate too. I just keep my mouth closed.
“But it doesn’t spill out of your mouth?”
I guess that’s one way to describe it, yes.
“Humans really are intriguing. But it’s nice to know that the thought of pizza makes you drool too.”
You’re right. It’s nice that we can share that.
What kind of what?
“Pizza. The one that makes you drool?”
Oh, Deep dish.
“‘Deep Dish?’ What’s deep dish pizza? Does it have hamburgers on it?”
I suppose it could. Hold on a sec. I need to get something.
“What do you need to get?”
“Where is she going?”
I need tissues. Lots of tissues.
While I step out, let me tell you about Stick Dog Dreams of Ice Cream. This is the stray’s fourth story. Ironically, every edition is about food. Hm. I will reveal what I think about this new story tomorrow. You can read the review here.
I want to thank author/illustrator Tom Watson. Tom took my questions and re-worded them for your enjoyment. He did a great job and still answered my questions. Maybe one day he’ll try to get into the minds of feral cats.
If you would like to get to know Tom Watson, and I think you will like him, try him finding him here:
Website – http://stickdogbooks.com/
Goodreads – Goodreads-TomWatson
Stick Dog’s Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/stickdog.says
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/stickdog.says
Tom also has 4 books you can download free. Interested? Go here – http://stickdogbooks.com/index.php/the_books
See you tomorrow for the book review of STICK DOG DREAMS OF ICE CREAM. (go here after 12-1-15)