WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
Dogman Unleashed by Dav Pilkey
Type: Graphic Novel, Superhero
Basic Plot: Dogman must again save his city from a variety of scheming, greedy characters.
Plot: 3½/5 Above Average: The story improved from the last’s books in about two ways. First, the book had one story rather than several small ones. This led to more room to a suspenseful story. The story was also more creative and clever, especially in its humor. Unlike the first book, only one instance of potty humor (which includes only a toilet,) and a several clever and witty scenes.
Again, the characters are cliché, but that is one of the reasons the series can be fun, as well as typical of children’s books.
Graphics: 3/5 Average: Although still childish in form, the graphics are usually neat and attractive. Though it is believable a child could have drawn them, they are not as childish and purposefully sloppy as the first’s books.
Moral: 1½/5 A Hard to Read Moral: Again, the only moral that can be seen in Dogman is the triumph of good over evil, and that’s only if you’re grasping at straws. The negative moral of ignoring authority to do your own thing is not mentioned in this book, taking away the negative aspects of the first.
Overall: 3/5 Average: As harsh as I was with the original Dogman book, I will say that the sequel is much better. The art is more relaxing on the eyes and the story witty, entertaining, and laced with intelligent humor. There is much less potty humor (which I am very thankful for) and the rebellion against authority is cooled down. I would have to say that I recommend this book, mainly for boys six to ten.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 1/5 Some Light Suggestive Themes: Dogman sniffs dog’s behinds three times, one dog being a girl he has fallen in love with. A cat makes a bunch of people (both men and women of various ages) fall in love with him by using a love ray, who then beg to kiss and marry him, though he has no interest in either. Though the scene is done completely for humor’s sake, some of the flirtatious comments given by Petey’s admires may not be in agreement with parents, including “Hubba-hubba!”, “Give me some sugar, baby!”, and “Granny needs some tender vittles!” A couple of times, Dogman wiggles his butt like a dog would when he gets excited. There is a reference to the song, “I Like Big Butts,” by a pair of scissors that says “I like big cuts and I cannot lie,” while trying to cut a characters behind.
The only possible potty humor in this book is when a character overflows the toilet to help him escape prison.
Violence: 2/5 Some Light Violence: Several objects are thrown at a piece of machinery. Characters fall off of things, are thrown through buildings, fall head first on the ground, jump on each other, and hit others on the heads with a rock, usually only once each. A character kicks a criminal, and a dog bites a criminal. A character runs a car over. A character says he was crushed by a billboard, though it’s really a piece of flat paper; a character believes this and begs him not to die as well as calls the ambulance. “Kung-Fu Kicking Feet” and “Supa-Punching Fist” are some of the mentioned abilities a man has.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Slight Misuse: “Gee” is used once.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1/5 Slight Disturbing Content: Dead fish bodies are shown, and a dog likes to roll in dead fish as well as once wants to buy one. A man and dog are injured by a bomb, and almost die. They are saved by combining the head of the dog and the body of the man. Throughout the book, one can see the stitches on Dogman’s neck. A character’s arm gets hurt after trying to yank out ball caught in Dogman’s mouth. A character threatens to hurt another with a rock if he misbehaves, though the threat doesn’t go through. A T-Rex skeleton chases Dogman through the town. The previews show characters getting chased by a flying fish and an airplane. A character cries when he believes another character has been crushed flat, and the supposed injured character cries a little, although this is all done completely for humor.
Religious Issues: 1½/5 Some Mention: A character reads a book about body snatching; he exits his body, but fails to get inside anyone else’s (as far as we know.) A character tries uses his mind to move things, calling it “telekinetic.”
Magic: 2/5 Some Magic: Some characters bring another character to a witch doctor, who looks like a wizard. He has both “Living Spray” and “Obey Spray,” which are used on various characters. When a character dies, he says what the wicked witch of the west (from The Wizard of Oz) says when she dies.
Others: A male cat causes both men and women humans to fall in love with him. They beg to kiss and marry him, which he refuses. This is completely done for humor, and was most likely not done to promote anything sinful (though that could be speculated.) There are a few references to pop culture things through puns, such as “Jurassic Bark.”
Overall: 1½/5 Almost All Ages Appropriate: A majority of the content that could be considered questionable (such as a dead fish obsession or a male cat making humans of genders fall in love with him) are all done for the purpose of humor, and have little, if any, inappropriate or disturbing features about them. There is also much less potty humor in this book. I would recommend it for children six and older, when it comes to morals.