by Dav Pilkey
Oscar morphs from hot dog to top dog in this fun Halloween tail, er, tale. The hero is a Dachshund, “half-a-dog tall and one-and-a-half dogs long.” All of the other furry creatures make fun of him (“Wiener Dog! Wiener Dog!” they shout). Unwittingly, his mother makes things worse when she sees him off to school, calling out, “Farewell, my little Vienna sausage!” But today, Oscar will not be rattled. It’s Halloween, and the night is made for trick-or-treating and scary disguises. There’s just one problem: His mother, meaning well, surprises Oscar with a hot dog bun costume (with mustard, no less) that seals his fate as the butt of the joke and impedes his progress as he attempts to make the rounds from door to door. The gentle puns (“Oscar showed up, looking quite frank”) and illustrations of the inhibited pooch, slowly making his way to each neighbor, trick-or-treat bag hooked on his tail, keep the story more comic than cruel. When his fellow canines get bullied by a “ghastly monster” in the graveyard, Oscar’s unique vantage point works to his advantage, and he saves the day. This book’s gentle message about the strength that stems from being true to oneself is relevant not just at Halloween but all year long.