About Dog Man
Meet Dog Man, the crime-biting canine who is part dog, part man, and ALL HERO!
George and Harold have created a new hero who digs into deception, claws after crooks, and rolls over robbers. When Greg the police dog and his cop companion are injured on the job, a life-saving surgery changes the course of history, and Dog Man is born. With the head of a dog and the body of a human, this heroic hound has a real nose for justice. But can he resist the call of the wild to answer the call of duty?
The full-color Dog Man Discussion Guide printable includes a word search, a drawing lesson, and a classroom poster.
A Letter to Readers
When I was a kid, I had a difficult time with reading because of dyslexia. The embarrassment of not being able to keep up with my classmates, combined with the challenge of finding books that interested me, almost turned me off reading altogether. Fortunately, my parents encouraged me to read whatever I wanted, and I always chose books that made me laugh. Humor had a way of making me forget my struggles — it motivated me to continue turning those pages, eagerly anticipating my next chuckle. If it weren’t for silly books, I probably wouldn’t be a reader today, and I certainly wouldn’t be a writer.
Illustrations were also very important to me as a young reader. The more, the better. The pictures helped me with my comprehension by giving me contextual clues to the words and their meanings.
That’s why I’m so excited to introduce my new graphic novel series, Dog Man. Like Captain Underpants, Dog Man is based on a character I created back in second grade. I gave the illustrations a playful look so that the story feels like it was created for children by children — by George and Harold, the fourth-grade stars of the Captain Underpants books, in fact. (They’ve finally perfected their spelling!) I hope this book will motivate kids to use their imaginations and create their own stories. And if I can get just one kid to associate reading with fun, I will feel like I’ve done my job.
— Dav Pilkey
Teaching With Dog Man: Thinking Through the Format
When considering a graphic novel in a classroom or educational setting, it’s important to encourage readers to look at all of the elements that make up a graphic novel. Here are discussion prompts and visual examples to get discussions started.
Description and Word Balloons
Think about how the dialogue appears. Are any words different colors? Written with thicker or thinner lines? How would that sound? How about the silence when no one is speaking? Is there any narration or description (words in boxes, but not spoken)? How is that important to how the story unfolds?
Sound Effects and Motion Lines
Sounds set the scene, signal something that’s happening elsewhere, and add another layer to each story. Motion lines indicate how characters or objects are moving. What sounds do you see? How is each of the sounds written? Does the way it’s written reflect what it actually sounds like? What gestures and motions do you see?
Every creator has their own style. Look at Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man. Is the art realistic? Cartoony? What can you tell from the expressions on faces? The gestures and movement of characters? The background and its details? How does the use of color change over the course of a page? Each chapter?
Highlight the Visuals
Hand out examples of Dog Man comic sequences with the text removed and have students fill in what they think the characters might be saying. See what they can gather from the visual context, and finally reveal the actual panels with text to see how everyone’s brainstormed ideas compare to what the author intended.
Mix It Up
Give each student, or group of students, a selection of panels featuring around ten different scenes or images, each on their own sheet of paper. Have each group move the images around, like tiles in a word game, to create a story out of six of the given panels. Once they’ve recorded their created story, ask them to swap out one image with one not yet used. What is the story now? How did the new panel change the story?
Take a closer look at the heroes and villains in Dog Man. Discuss the trademarks of how each character is designed: their body type, their expressions, their clothing, and the colors used in each illustration. Investigate if students can tell who is a hero and who is a villain from only visual clues.
Other Graphic Novels by Dav Pilkey
- The Captain Underpants Series
- The Ricky Ricotta Series
- The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Kung-Fu Cavemen From the Future
- The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby
- Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers