Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Great Dog Man---ummm--Discussion

Hey there, all you rockin' and readin' guys everywhere, April has been a busy month at the library and the Iron Guy just realized that a) the month is almost over and b) he hasn't posted anything since before spring break! Well, I'm reading some good stuff now but am not finished and I hate to go so long without talking to you, so I thought I'd do something I haven't done for a long time and stir up some possible controversy! Or not. Here's what I mean.

The Iron Guy, MANLY MAN that he is, doesn't mind expressing his opinions now and then, even though everyone may not agree. Therefore, a few years ago I brought up The Great Harry Potter Controversy. Some time after that I started The Great Greg Heffley Debate and once even started a Great Dan Gutman Question but answered it right away. Today I want to tread on some potentially dangerous ground because I want to discuss a set of books by an author that all boys everywhere not only love but can't get enough of.

That guy is, of course, Dav Pilkey.

And the books are the Dog Man series.

Now every reader guy in the whole country gets excited over Dav Pilkey's books. And with good reason. They have all the goofball humor that guys love. I recommended his Ricky Ricotta series a while back. I want to read his Ook and Glook series one day. (actually, he didn't write those; he illustrated them) And, of course, there's Captain Underpants. I don't care for them much mainly because George and Harold are disrespectful and not in a good way but boys love those books. Anyway, Dav Pilkey is always a hit with guys (and girls too) and his books are great fun and they're perfect to hand out to what the grownups call "reluctant readers" (I've always said that boys aren't reluctant to read; many of them just haven't found the right things yet), so when this new series came out I snapped them up right away.

Now, the premise of these books is that George and Harold made their own comics when they were in first grade and found them several years later. The comics were about a policeman and a dog who got caught by a bomb when it exploded. The solution was to graft the dog's head onto the policeman's body---that's how we got Dog Man. He can think and act like a policeman but still behave like a dog sometimes. A weird but funny idea and full of lots of comic possibilities. Some grownups think so too. Here's what the School Library Journal said about the third book in the series:

Madcap action and general silliness abound on every page. The book is filled with laugh-out-loud situations, puns, delightful Flip-o-Rama animations, and a lot of licking and chewing on furniture-enough to keep even the most jaded young reader enthralled. VERDICT Pilkey has done it again. This latest installment is just as "supa" funny and irreverent as the first two volumes in the series. Sure to be popular, it's a great choice for elementary school graphic novel collections and of particular interest to reluctant readers and fans of the series.

What did I think?


I'ts not because the stories aren't funny; it's because of that six-year-old artwork. Remember, George and Harold wrote and illustrated these comics when they were in the first grade--when they were six. What were your pictures like when you were six? Yep, really, really simple. Now, it's cute when a six-year-old draws a picture. People love them and grownups put them on refrigerator doors. So, one six-year-old picture is nice but a whole graphic novel full of them? It gets old really fast. I enjoyed the first half of the first Dog Man graphic novel but had had to make myself read the second half. I couldn't finish the second Dog man gn. Now if Mr. Pilkey had done these gn's in his usual artwork, I would have have enjoyed them a lot more.

Of course, that's how I see it but the big question is--what do YOU think? Do you like these? A lot?  Or do you, like me, find them boring? But listen up--this is the point at which I'd normally challenge all those who disagree with me to defend their positions. This was usually because I held an idea different from what most people think. Like with Harry Potter or Greg Heffley. (though I'm changing my mind on HP) But you know what? I haven't met anyone who held a strong opinion about the Dog Man series. So I guess can't stir up a Controversy or a Debate but maybe I could spark a Discussion. So what do you think? The DOG MAN graphic novels--are they great? Terrible? Somewhere in between? Put your thoughts in the Comments section below and I'll post them. Come on, everyone, and join in the Great Dog Man Discussion!

(btw, wasn't there a Captain Underpants movie last year? Did anyone actually see that movie?)


Greg Pattridge said...

I've never been a big fan of graphic novels, but this series is wildly popular with kids.I don't think they mind the artwork with the fun scenarios being portrayed.If it gets them reading so be it.

Iron Guy Carl said...

Oh, I agree--if a boy likes something, let hem read it! Even if it's not my cup of tea (like Dog Man), I'm thrilled if he will read it.

cleemckenzie said...

I used to be a comic book addict--I was eight at the time and have since moved on. I've enjoyed a few graphic novels, but the art work is such a huge part of those that I can't imagine stick figures all the way through, and I can't imagine kids being gripped by those either.

I've never had a reluctant reader. My boys dove into books like they did swimming pools. I agree that all boys need is the right story to grab their attention and keep them reading. If it's Dog Man, so be it.

cleemckenzie said...

Tried leaving a long and absolutely brilliant comment, but it vanished. At least, it appears so. In essence it was about reluctant boy readers. Here's to Dog Man's success. It may be that kids will be more tolerant of sixth-grade drawings.

Iron Guy Carl said...

No, your comment made it, as you can see. And it was brilliant! Yes, here's to the success of any books that get boys to read!

Anonymous said...

So, my seven-year-old daughter loves these books. I really don't get it. I won't let my kids read Captain Underpants for the reasons you mentioned, and when she first picked this up, I didn't notice it was the same author. It's not as bad from the messaging standpoint, but they still aren't my favorite. Anyway, they definitely don't just appeal to boys. Interestingly, my ten-year-old son doesn't like them, and he does generally like graphic novels. So take that for what you will.

Iron Guy Carl said...

Thanks, Michelle, and you just never know what some kids will like and what others won't. And I apologize if I sounded like these books would appeal only to boys. I started this blog to help connect boys to books, since they often, for a variety of reason, have trouble finding things they like. But I've found that most books I recommend appeal to all kids and will often say so or mention that girls would like those books as well. I'm sorry I didn't say that here and will go back and fix it.

Patricia T. said...

Not a fan of graphic novels, and can't imagine a book in six-year-old art. But, what is important is the kids like them. And, if it gets kids reading, I'm all for it.

Anonymous said...

Carl, I didn't take it at all to mean that girls wouldn't also enjoy them. I was just pointing out my own kids' tastes, which I thought stood out in this case. I think the focus of your blog is fantastic!

Iron Guy Carl said...

I'm all for it, too. I didn't like these but that's me and I'm a Boring Old Grownup. I'm thrilled to see kids check out these books and any others that they enjoy.
I think I see a theme here. Here's to kids checking out what they like! You don't have to agree with me. That's a great benefit of holding a Great Dog Man Discussion!

Iron Guy Carl said...

Well, thank you, Michele. I agree that your kids' tastes stand out. I just wanted to be sure that I was being considerate and not treading on the feelings of others. After all, considerateness is a quality of all truly MANLY MEN!