Stick Dog, by Tom Watson (HarperCollins, January 2013) . I pretty much promise they will pick it up, attracted by the very funny cover and premise--dogs (drawn stick dog style) on an epic fantasy quest for...hamburgers.
When my review copy of this arrived home, it was pounced on by both my nephew and
my son, who both read it in a single sitting with great enjoyment. My
son then pressed me to read it--"tell me when you get to the funny
bits," he said.
And there were many funny bits, too many to
list, of the sort that a young reader who likes silly fun will enjoy lots. More than just the adventures of Stick Dog and his friends, it's a conversation between the author/illustrator and his reader, and I think that many kids appreciate this sort of acknowledgement of their existence, and the sense of being in on the joke, lots!
In short, fun for its intended audience, and a good one to offer the hesitant reader, what with its friendly inclusion of lots of drawings and its easy to read story.
(I myself don't care for intrusive narrators, nor am I an eight year old. And also, not being a dog person I would have preferred Stick Cat. This is, of course, totally irrelevant).
The story of how Stick Dog came to be a book is one that gives hope to everyone who writes a book for their kids, self-publishes it, and then signs on with a major publisher, because this is what Tom Watson did. You can read more about it in this interview at The BookBaby Blog--the BookBaby being the digital distributor who first sent Stick Dog into the world.
(disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher)