Hot Dog! Celebrate National Hot Dog Day with Picture Books

I love only two things in this world: books and hot dogs (and cults and cats and caftans and my friends and family, but who’s counting?). National Hot Dog Day provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate both. The noble tube steak is given its due in the following children’s books, linked to their excerpted Booklist reviews. One last thing: don’t you dare use ketchup, you savage.

 

Hello, Hot Dogby Lily Murray, illustrated by Jarvis

It isn’t easy being a hot dog, and Hot Dog, the cylindrical star of this riotous picture book can prove it: he’s “about to be LUNCH!” The first sign of danger? Condiments. As Hot Dog lounges in his cozy bun, a ketchup bottle looms ever closer. Soon, flecks of ketchup and mustard dribble down his beefy torso. Next, a hulking, shadowy hand approaches the plate. Lucky for Hot Dog—and the reader—the narrator blurts out advice (“Run, Hot Dog, run!”) from the sidelines. While Hot Dog may not have any legs, he does have a trick or two up his casing.

 

Hot Diggity Dog: The History of the Hot Dog, by Adrienne Sylver, illustrated by Elwood H. Smith

The fact that there is so much argument about who made the first hot dog says a lot about its appeal. (If you say “frank,” you’re siding with the Frankfurt, Germany, contingent; if you say “wiener,” you’re making the folks in Vienna, Austria, happy.) This zany picture book takes eaters—that is, readers—through the snack’s journey from Roman pig-intestine delicacy to its modern ubiquity at ball parks, cookouts, and dinner tables.

 

Hot Dog! Eleanor Roosevelt Throws a Picnic, by Leslie Kimmelman, illustrated by Victor Juhasz

Eleanor Roosevelt was known for lots of things, but her love of hot dogs probably isn’t one of them. This book remedies that by taking a little-known incident from history and turning it into a delightful picture book. When King George and Queen Elizabeth decided to visit the U.S.—the first time a British monarch had set foot on U.S. shores—Mrs. Roosevelt decided that, among other entertainments, a picnic in Hyde Park was in order. But when she said that she wanted to serve that quintessential American food, hot dogs, her menu choice became a subject of national discussion

The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog, by Mo Willems

The wheedling pigeon with the short fuse meets his match. “Oooooh! A hot dog!” he cries, as he zooms in for a landing on the first page. Before he can enjoy his scavenged treat, though, a little duckling scuttles over and begins asking numerous questions: “Is that a ‘hot dog’?” “What do they taste like?” The pigeon loses his temper in a wing-flapping rant before the duckling innocently suggests that they share the dog, thus sparing the pigeon the frustration of having to explain the taste. Share it they do, but the pigeon knows he’s been had.

 

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About the Author:

Eugenia Williamson is the former Associate Editor of Digital Products at Booklist.

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