cover image This is a Great Place for a Hot Dog Stand

This is a Great Place for a Hot Dog Stand

Barney Saltzberg. Hyperion Books, $14.45 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0070-4

The only thing certain about Izzy-a pastel-blue, bipedal thingamajig with a light-yellow horn on his snout-is that he loves hot dogs. Quitting his factory job, he builds a hot dog cart and, after searching for the ideal locale, sets up shop in a vacant lot. But the lot's owner, Madame Moola Moo, announces plans to bid a mall on that very site, and a compromise is reached only when Moola samples ``a tofu dog with sauerkraut, mustard, and grilled onions.'' In creating this non-human cast, pals, Saltzberg (Show-and-Tell) makes a sort of anti-discrimination statement-as Izzy implores Moola, ``[My stand] is a place where it doesn't matter if you have scales or fur; if you're green, purple, or blue; if you like knockwurst or kosher.'' Yet an awkward vagueness clouds this enterprise. Madame Moola Moo, for instance, hails from Heifersville, but looks nothing like a cow. The only clear message is that malls are bad and small businesses good. This underdone offering may leave some readers wondering where's the beef. Ages 5-8. (Apr.)