Dog Man: Dog Man, Book 1

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Dog Man: Dog Man, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Riotous, silly fun with soft touch by Underpants creator.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 26 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

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.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.


Some potty humor involving "pee" and "poop."

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byJackie F. May 30, 2018


As you will see, this comic book contains multiple references to human and animal feces. It also contains a very questionable scene of disregard for homeless/hu... Continue reading
Adult Written bydulahdaglace January 30, 2020

Useful to get them reading

I have several struggling readers, despite working hard with them. The other kids at school loved these and so they anxiously dove in to join the conversation.... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byWiseTeen February 5, 2020

Really great book about friendships and stuff

THIS book is great for people who want to make comix, i have read this book 30 TIMES yep you heard me 30 TIMES, for the parents who have been hating on this, yo... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 31, 2019

Better than Captain Underpants, but not as good as Ook and Gluk

Dog Man is very, very good. It has lots of potty humor that is not that funny, but your kids will say some stuff after, in less your kid(s) is mature.

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?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love graphic novels and humor

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