In Review: Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties

Fetch a copy of this book for your favorite little ones and watch them howl in glee.

Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties by Dav Pilkey

Published by Scholastic Books, August 29, 2017. Hardcover of 256 pages at $9.99. Intended for ages 7 and up, grades 2 and up.

The cover: Dog Man smiles at his audience, striking a confident pose with his fists closed in anticipation of adventure. Little does the hero know that right behind him Petey is chasing after Li’l Petey, with the youngster having the biggest smile on his faces as his “father” pursues him. Good cover from creator Dav Pilkey that shows the three main characters of the story, with each showing their personalities. The bright reds also make this a stand out cover. Overall grade: A

The premise: From the back cover: “It’s double trouble for Dog Man! He was the best of dogs…He was the worst of dogs. It was the age of invention…it was the season of surprise.” Accompanying this text is Dog Man being petted by the Chief, then the Chief angry Dog Man took a bite of his pants. Petey has a “U Clone’em” machine, which results in him having a cute as a button miniaturized minion. I’ve enjoyed the previous two books for being silly fun and I’m hoping for more of the same. Overall grade: A+

The characters: Dog Man continues to do what’s right in the name of the justice, he just happens to occasionally roll around on the ground and jump all over and lick the Chief. The big change for Dog Man in this book is that Li’l Petey is kicked out by Petey, so the canine cop adopts the tyke. It’s the cutest thing in the world! Petey breakes out of prison and after seeing how messy his secret lab is, he clones himself a minion. However, Li’l Petey isn’t what he expected, so he gives him away…He is, after all, just a kitten. No one wants the itty bitty kitty, so Li’l Petey pushes his adoption box around town until Dog Man picks him up. Realizing his error, Petey begins to look for his lost son. Complicating things is the return of Flippy the Psychokinetic Fish, whose return to life is a warning to all humanity. This may sound very dramatic, and it is, definitely inspired by the drama of Charles Dickens, but there are tons of laughs along the way. Overall grade: A+

The settings: The police station, Dog Man’s house, Petey’s Secret Lab, the city streets, the Supra Awesome Science Center, and the Living Spray Factory are all the locations the story visits. Dog Man’s house was much more spacious than I expected, and though made for a dog, Dog Man does all that he can to make Li’l Petey comfortable there. There’s quite a bit of action on the city streets, as well as some heavy drama when the little cat can’t find anyone to take him in. The Supra Awesome Science Center is the best name for a laboratory, plus the name of the head scientist there is a good chuckler. The Living Spray Factory left me gasping, since one would think it closed after the previous disasters of the last book. All settings continue to make Dog Man and his adventures come to life. Overall grade: A+

The action: With the story split among three plot threads, there’s never a dull moment in this book. If the interplay gets to be too mushy for action oriented readers, the return of Flippy puts some needed punch into the proceedings. However, the drama and comedy that come from it makes it just as riveting a read as the fury of the fish. Overall grade: A+

The conclusion: It’s a perfect ending, sweet and funny, with the promise of another book, this time with definite super hero overtones. Overall grade: A+

The art: Dav Pilkey continues to have me howling in joy at his illustrations. His visuals capture the fun of two “very mature” fifth graders who create the adventures of Dog Man. The joy this pair has that Pilkey endows them with is infectious and the perfect way to open the book. Dog Man is the perfect pooch, always helping, but he gets some terrific emotion as he cares for and shows concern for the fate of Li’l Petey. It’s this newest character, though, that steals the book. Cute is not big enough a word for the kitten, who can melt any heart with a smile or frown. Pages 71 – 74 are sweet and sad beyond belief. Coming in toward the latter portion of the book is Flippy, whose maniacal grin and fiendish creations always created a deviant smile on my face. Who would have thought a fish could be this evil? Young and old readers will be absorbed by every panel of this book. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Jose Garibaldi does an equally impressive job on the colors. For example, look at the backgrounds at the police station on Page 15; three very different colors are used in three panels, but they emphasize and increase the emotion of each. The night skies are also beautiful, with Pages 108 – 112 looking gorgeous. When the action begins with Flippy’s plans in action, the colors go big and bold, instantly recalling the classic colors of comic books. Overall grade: A+

The activity pages: Flip-O-Rama returns in this book and it’s an incredibly fun way to get young readers to see Dog Man and his friends in action. There are six pages where a reader is instructed to flip two pages back and forth furiously to see the book come alive. It’s funny and it works! How 2 Draw pages are also included for Li’l Petey, 80HD, a Beastly building, Petey, and Dog Man. After reading a book, I always wanted to draw the characters. It’s good to see Pilkey encouraging his audience to do so. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Fetch a copy of this book for your favorite little ones and watch them howl in glee. This is a book that anyone can enjoy. Absolutely recommended. Overall grade: A+

To order a print copy of this book go to https://shop.scholastic.com/parent-ecommerce/books/dog-man-a-tale-of-two-kitties-dog-man-3-9780545935210.html

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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