A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Author's note encourages readers (and reassures adults) by relating how humor motivated him to work through challenges of dyslexia. Extols the value of reading and education through a story about people becoming "supa dumb" when their books are destroyed. Dog behavior and traits (such as limited color perception) are woven into story. Some great vocabulary words ("obsequious"!), but also some intentional poor grammar and misspellings. End pages show how to draw key characters.
Dog Man's relationship with the police chief demonstrates kindness, loyalty, patience, and forgiveness. When all seems lost, creative thinking can point to a solution. Actions have consequences you can't always control. Strong support for kids who may not feel like they're a good fit for the classroom.
Positive Role Models
Dog Man repeatedly saves the day with creative problem-solving. He's devoted to the irascible police chief, who's infuriated by everything about Dog Man: licks, affectionate jumps, dog hair, sleeping on the couch, peeing on the floor. But Dog Man's persistent affection and empathy win the chief over, and he finally returns Dog Man's affection. The police officers are considerate of their boss and feel bad when things don't go his way.
Violence & Scariness
Cartoon violence including surgical creation of Dog Man after an officer and his dog are blown up, more explosions, slapstick accidents on a playground, and a battle involving a hot dog army getting eaten alive. A supervisor tends to yell at his employees.
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Some potty humor involving "pee" and "poop."
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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.
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.'"
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.