Books for Kids · Reading

“Dogman” Review

“One time, George met Harold in kindergarten.”

So begins Dogman by Dav Pilkey. This is a juvenile (in more ways than one) graphic novel that my son loves. Actually, he loves the whole series and told me that this first installment was his least favorite, but I figured if I was going to do a review, I’d better focus on the series opener. So even though I had scanned several of these books before, I decided to read this first one cover-to-cover to get the full experience.

It’s an experience.

In brief, this is the story of a cop and his police dog who are blown up (accidentally) and sewn back together (purposefully) to create Dogman, a dog-headed, human-bodied “crime-fighting sensation.” Through four short stories, Dogman battles his arch-nemisis Petey the cat, the evil mayor, and an army of living hotdogs, all without speaking a word. Despite his annoying doglike habits, not only does our hero save the day, but he even wins the appreciation and acceptance of the heretofore antagonistic Police Chief.

This is…*sigh*…the kind of book that can easily lead to comments that might put me in the category of cranky, “get off my lawn,” old men. There’s nothing recommending the art. Or the story. Or the writing (you certainly don’t want your kiddo learning their English grammar here). It has too much crude humor for my taste (nothing sexual; just the sorts of things you find in your bathroom) and wasn’t really even that funny.

In short, this is nothing but shallow fluff.

Unfortunately, I find myself in the position that my son loves the series and its harm – while not inconsequential – does not rise to the level that I feel compelled to forbid it. Its greatest cost, I think, has been its influence on goofy, overly-silly behavior. So we’ll live with it…but we’ll also make sure we’re reading other things too. Things with, I don’t know…plot. And character development. And examples of virtuous behavior. And….

Content Notes

Violence1Lots of cartoonish fighting.
Sex/Romantic Themes0None.
MiscellaneousTake note of the bathroom humor in this one. While not over-the-top, it’s certainly not subtle.

NOTE: For a full explanation of my Content Notes and the scale, click here

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