CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 22 . . . . June 22, 2007
Before I begin, I will answer the burning question, Do I need to read “Hot Dog and Bob Adventures #1 and #2" in order to enjoy “Hot Dog and Bob Adventure #3? Rest assured, I think you will be able to wrap your head around the series simply by glancing at the cover.
Sarcasm aside, Hot Dog and Bob and the Dangerously Dizzy Attack of the Hypno Hamsters seems to have all the ingredients of a successful early chapter book (lengthy, alliterate title included). Bob and his friend, Clementine, regularly fight aliens with the help of Hot Dog, a superhero wiener from planet Dogzalot. In this installment, Hot Dog comes to the rescue when Bob and Clementine's classmates are hypnotized into hamsters by the evil space rodent, Hypnodini. In a clever twist that Al Gore would applaud, Hypnodini endorses a new, revolutionary power source fueled by giant hamster wheels and hypnotized children.
However, despite this innovative plot and eye-catching title, Hot Dog and Bob and the Dangerously Dizzy Attack of the Hypno Hamsters is a soggy bun of a book. The language feels forced and imitative, almost as if the author consulted a manual on the gross-out tendencies of eight-year-old boys. Insert odd-ball name here. Add explosion of evil villain. Don't forget to add nonsense words like "quadrillion," "dummy heads," and "psycho zombie hamster mob." Furthermore, the resolutions in this book are unsatisfying and annoyingly quick. When Hot Dog finds a jammed button on his top-secret bun-button control panel, the button becomes un-stuck in a few sentences, and the villain is thwarted. Youngsters will probably feel unsatisfied with these tidy, uninspired resolutions.
What Hot Dog and Bob and the Dangerously Dizzy Attack of the Hypno Hamsters lacks in authenticity and suspense, it makes up for in excellent presentation. Dave Whamond, a Calgary resident, draws with impressive flair and polish. His bug-eyed characters always wear gigantic expressions, and Hot Dog proudly bears a squiggle of mustard across his chest. The black and white cartoons appear on almost every page and replicate the constant movement and vitality of Saturday morning entertainment. The chapters are short and snappy, and the text constantly changes position on the page. On presentation alone, you will have no trouble convincing children to pick up Hot Dog and Bob and the Dangerously Dizzy Attack of the Hypno Hamsters.
Consequently, teachers and librarians barraged by Spongebob and Captain Underpants fans would probably have great success with this series. Without a doubt, Hot Dog definitely caters to burgeoning readers hoping to find a Nickelodeon cartoon between the pages of a book. However, I doubt this series could stand alone on a bookshelf without the support of these veterans of zaniness. This hot dog could definitely use more ketchup.
Shannon Ozirny is a student in the Master of Arts in Children's Literature Program at UBC, and the Coordinator for the Vancouver Public Library's 2007 Canadian Book Camp. She enjoys hot dogs, chili dogs, corn dogs, and veggie dogs.
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