Dav Pilkey is notorious for books that young boys adore, and with “Dog Man,” he cements his place of honor as the author who can lure even kids who don’t like to read and get them to read. In fact, they will devour “Dog Man” in one sitting. Really.
One seven-year-old boy who would rather play video games than read was hooked by this book after this reviewer read the first part to him out loud. He read the whole book by the next afternoon and is excited about the sequel. This book is guaranteed to get the attention of even the most reluctant reader.
“Dog Man” is based on a very simple — and silly — premise. A cop and his dog partner were severely injured by the evil cat. Officer Knight’s head was dying and his dog Greg’s body was dying. So the genius nurse suggested that they sew the smart dog’s head on the body of the not-so-smart cop. And thus Dog Man was created.
The adventures are just as silly and ridiculous as one might expect from the author of “Captain Underpants.” The evil cat Petey is featured in all of them. In one episode, Petey discovers that reading makes Dog Man smarter. So he invents a “Word-B-Gone 2000” that erases all the words in books. Everyone becomes stupid. Another episode has Petey spraying a hot dog with “Living Spray: Brings Stuff to Life.” After the hot dog gets Petey the keys to escape from jail, Petey traps all the dogs, including Dog Man, in a cage trap. Meanwhile, the living hot dog sprays lots of other hot dogs to amass an army of hot dogs. Hilarity ensues with a giant gyro man coming alive who is named Philly and is a cheese steak mascot. Showing his clever ability to appeal to the adults who are reading this book, Pilkey has the restaurant owner call out, “Philly, don’t be a gyro! Don’t be a fool with your life!” No seven-year-old alive, of course, would recognize that reference. Don’t even try, kids.
At the end, there are How 2 Draw lessons for how to draw Dog Man, Petey the cat, and even Philly the gyro. There is also a shameless plug for the next book in the series, “Dog Man Unleashed” which is coming in January, 2017. Stay tuned.
Please note: This review is based on the advanced reader’s copy provided by Graphix (Scholastic), the publisher, for review purposes.