Scholastic, 2016 231 pgs
George and Harold, our heroes from the popular Captain Underpants series, find some comics they created in their early days. The boys take the rough manuscripts and clean them up, presenting four separate comics or chapters featuring the new/old hero Dog Man. The first comic presents Dog Man's back story. He began as a team of two: a human police man who was strong, yet stupid and his canine companion who was physically week, yet smart. After a tragic accident the doctors sewed the dog's head, complete with his superior brain, onto the human police body and a new super hero is born! The next comics/chapters feature separate conflicts with evil nemesis, Petey the cat, a cunning and resourceful villain. In every instance craziness and mayhem ensues with Dog Man always coming out of top. Robots, evil hot dogs, a giant Philly cheese steak, and plenty of Pilkey's characteristic irreverent humor is all part of the fun. Pilkey includes his classic flip-o-ramas, this time in triplet, and offers a how-to drawing section in the back of the book. A preview of the next installment will have readers clamoring for its release, which is scheduled for the new year.
Is it wrong that I'm a huge Dav Pilkey fan? I know parents are against him for his potty humor and lack of educational and moral content in his work, but he is just so darn funny. Pilkey works on many levels. On the surface he adds cheap jokes, underwear, and slapstick humor to keep his young audience giggling. Below the surface are witty puns and subtle social commentary. I have yet to get through any title by Pilkey from his picture books to his chapter books without laughing out loud. Dog Man started out with a joke about Tony Orlando and Dawn that made me laugh so loud in the library staff room that I got a dirty look from the reference librarian. Closer to Super Diaper Baby in style and format, Dog man is a graphic novel and not a chapter book. The hero is fresh, funny, and lovable. the triple flip-o-ramas are impossible to resist and feel like magic. Dog Man is deceptively simple. Pilkey conveys emotion and plot within his child-like cartoons and messages about government corruption, the rigidity of the educational system, and, my personal favorite, the power of books, are hidden within the madcap stories. The action never stops, the humor never flags, and readers will eat this book right up. Even the most reluctant reader will enjoy it and can easily be coaxed into reading. I bought four copies for my library and have such a long wait-list that I ordered two more. Lets hope Pilkey never fully grows up and keeps the zaniness going for a good long time!