A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Incorporates canine behavior (licking bones, fondness for playing with balls) into plot. Includes some challenging vocabulary ("expositional monologue"). Flip-o-rama spreads demonstrate basics of animation and flip books. Incorporates references to The Wizard of Oz, A Tale of Two Cities, and more. Includes step-by-step instructions for drawing major characters.
Making use of your natural talents will help you succeed. Changing your perspective can help you overcome fear. Laughter can help undo a bad situation. Demonstrates teamwork. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
Positive Role Models
Dog Man is an eager helper, though sometimes his enthusiasm and distractibility make him careless. Police officers are thoughtful and kind -- one is heartbroken when he thinks a criminal in his care has died, and the entire office pulls together to celebrate the chief's birthday. Two shop owners, annoyed by Dog Man's bad behavior in their store, intentionally sell him an evil pet.
Violence & Scariness
Character gets bonked on the head. One character robs a store, and another uses a "love ray" gun to get people to give him their valuables. An inmate fakes his death to escape.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Potty humor (dog sniffs another's butt appreciatively).
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dog Man Unleashed is the second book in the lighthearted, goofy Dog Man series by Dav Pilkey, creator of the popular Captain Underpants series. The book is meant to look like it was made by and for fourth-graders, complete with grammatical errors and scribbles. This is an exercise in zaniness: The main characters are affectionate and demonstrate teamwork, but Pilkey prefers to offer silly fun for the sheer joy of it. Drawing lessons tucked inside may inspire young artists. The final pages promote a related app and Pilkey's other books. Dog Man Unleashed is a great choice for reluctant readers and comic book fans.
Is It Any Good?
The second book in Dav Pilkey's freewheeling series about a half-man, half-dog police officer remains true to form: It's ridiculous, pure fun for reluctant readers and comic book fans alike. The plot in Dog Man Unleashed is more sprawling than the one in the first book, which presented Dog Man's origin story and a few short stories.
The appeal of Dog Man lies in his undeniable canine tendencies: He's always distracted by a ball, he licks bones, and his coworkers rev him up for an assignment the way you'd talk to a dog about to go for a walk. Pilkey -- best known for his Captain Underpants series, a kid favorite often criticized by grown-ups -- cheerfully ends the book by celebrating the "mindless action" and lack of life lessons. Kids will enjoy the silly puns (which/witch doctor, tax/tacks) and goofy plot devices. Pilkey is always on the side of his young readers, and his books are a gift for kids who love reading graphic novels and comics.
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.