Dog Man Unleashed: Dog Man, Book 2

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Dog Man Unleashed: Dog Man, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Half-man, half-dog, all-heart hero delights in silly sequel.

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 9 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

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.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.


Potty humor (dog sniffs another's butt appreciatively).

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6-year-old Written byLisaM 21 July 5, 2018

Slapstick comedy, easy to read

My kindergartener absolutely ate this book up. He begged to read it in the first second of downtime and he loved that he was able to read it generally independe... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old May 16, 2020

Dog Man!!

I think i need to read 1 more time! Because this book is fun comic !
i recomend and i think this book because i think child really liked
Kid, 8 years old March 28, 2020


It's a little weird that the pet store owners gave Dog Man a evil fish for free. I like how Petey starts thinking that jail is the only place he's s... Continue reading

What's the story?

DOG MAN UNLEASHED starts with the police department planning a birthday surprise for the chief. The officers decide to give him "Brain Dots" (to make him smarter) and a new pet. The half-dog, half-human Dog Man unknowingly returns from the pet shop with an evil fish. When the fish eats the Brain Dots, it unleashes a series of disastrous events. A new thief in town starts stealing tiny treasure chests. Petey the Cat thinks the thief is copying him, so he makes a fake "Flat Petey" so he can escape from jail to confront the impostor. Then Flat Petey takes a witch doctor's "living spray" and "obey spray" and gets into mischief of his own. It's up to Dog Man, of course, to save the day.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the artwork in Dog Man Unleashed. Does it look like something you could draw? How is it different?

  • How does the artwork in a good graphic novel help the story? Would stories like this work without the pictures?

  • Kids can try creating their own flip-o-rama or full comic.

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love graphic novels and humor

Themes & Topics

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