Dear Hot Dog
written and illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein
2011 (Abrams Books)
Source: Orange County Public Library
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You gurgle happily
as I pour in milk
and introduce my spoon.
Dear Hot Dog is a series of poems that express the joy children find in everyday things. Rain brings a child time to be lost in books. The sun is like a brother that chases you around a pool and can play too rough with sunburn. Pillows think that they are clouds while we are away and then take us to dreams when we are together. A stuffed bear can be a best friend. The narrator in each poem talks to the subject as if it is alive which makes these poems perfect for lessons on personification. Mordicai Gerstein shows us that in a child's eyes, every day is special and anything is possible. The poems do not rhyme which I think is great since many young children have the misconception that poems have to rhyme. As a young writer, it makes writing poetry much easier if you are not struggling to find a rhyming word. I also like the connections I make to my childhood when reading these poems. I remember sunburns and dripping ice cream cones.
In writer's workshop, we've been working on making observations of the world around us and writing what those observations make us think. Dear Hot Dog would be a terrific accompaniment to these lessons. Individual poems could be copied onto chart paper and used for shared reading time. Older students could create a class booklet with each student writing a poem based on an everyday object.