A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dog Man kicks off a new comic novel series by Dav Pilkey, creator of the popular Captain Underpants series. It's presented as a comic by George and Harold, fourth-grade characters from the Captain Underpants books. The first chapter details how Dog Man was surgically created after a dim-witted police officer and his dog were injured trying to defuse a bomb. There are some misspellings and poor grammar and a lot of juvenile humor involving bodily functions, explosions, and a drawing of a bare bottom. Pilkey shares how illustrated books and humor helped him work through early reading struggles due to dyslexia and led him to become a writer, and he lends cheerful support to kids who might feel out of step with teachers' expectations.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
DOG MAN revisits the goofy comics created by Harold and George in the Captain Underpants series. This collection of four short stories begins by explaining how Dog Man was surgically created after a police officer and his canine companion were badly injured in an explosion. Subsequent chapters pit Dog Man against his nemesis, Petey the cat, as Petey participates in a nefarious plot to replace the police chief with a robot who'll follow the mayor's every command; erases all the world's books and makes everyone insufferably dumb; and tries to destroy all dogs while triggering the creation of an army of animated hot dogs. In each story, Dog Man's cleverness helps him cuff the cat.
Is it any good?
The always cheeky Dav Pilkey stays true to form with this unapologetically giddy comic series start featuring a clever dog-hearted cop devoted to his job -- and his boss. Dog Man features typical bathroom humor (readers will solve the mystery of who pooped in the police chief's office long before the chief does), but it also has an unabashed sweet streak. When the chief feels he hasn't a friend in the world, Dog Man stays by his side, despite a history of being scolded by his boss.
The graphic novel is supposed to look as if it were drawn by fourth-graders for fourth-graders, and some parents will recognize their own children's sense of humor in this. Pilkey pokes fun at those who clutch their pearls over gross, goofy books, inserting a scolding letter from George's teacher denouncing his disruptive "comix" and urging his parents to consider "some kind of behavior modification drug to cure his 'creative streak.'"
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about empathy in Dog Man. How does the police chief's relationship with Dog Man change, and why?
What makes stories with poop jokes and gross humor so appealing?
Pilkey's books are often challenged by parents and educators. Are you more interested in books adults find distasteful? Or do you think the critics have a point?
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