Written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic)
This series about a half man/half-dog super hero called Dog Man is a popular kids comic series for children age 7+.
Who is Dog Man?
When Greg the police dog and his cop companion are blown up by a bomb, a life-saving surgery saves the day, and Dog Man, the unlikely superhero is born. With the head of a dog and the body of a human, this heroic hound digs into deception, claws after crooks, rolls over robbers, and scampers after squirrels. Will he be able to resist the call of the wild to answer the call of duty?
A Captain Underpants Spin-off
Dog Man is a spinoff of Pilkey’s acclaimed children’s series Captain Underpants. Readers are told that the Dog Man comics are creations of Pilkey’s fictional authors George Beard and Harold Hutchins, best friends in fourth grade who love making up stories. To make it look like the creation of children, Pilkey draws in a crude, simplistic style and the text is in a hand-written font. Throughout Dog Man, George and Harold directly address the reader and discuss the process of making their comics. They also include extra materials, such as flip-books, drawing tips, and notes from their unimpressed teachers.
Reluctant readers love it
Let’s be upfront, while the book series is wildly popular, many adults find it encourages cheeky behaviour not to mention their concerns with the intentionally bad grammar and spelling. Children don’t care about all of that though and they love being entertained, which they will be. This is not meant to be your kind of humour. It’s not mine. But if you balance this with your own good parenting, and a good selection of other books, it’s not a problem. Because the truth is kids LOVE the series. It gets even the most reluctant of readers reading. Similar to Captain Underpants, the simplistic, slapstick, silly potty humour get kids in fits of laughter. And woven into the humour are some universal values such as empathy, kindness, persistence, and the importance of being true to one’s self.
At the time of writing, there are 11 Dog Man books in the series, with the latest, due in March 2023. The first book is an anthology of loosly connected stories while the rest follow a unifying plot.