Monday 10 July 2023

DogMan: Twenty Thousand Fleas Under the Sea

DogMan: Twenty Thousand Fleas Under the Sea by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic) HB RRP $14.99 ISBN: 9781338801910

Reviewed by Kellie Nissen

Dav Pilkey and DogMan strike again with the eleventh book in the DogMan series, Twenty Thousand Fleas Under the Sea.

Featuring Pilkey’s signature Flip-o-Rama (a rustic DIY ‘animation’), step-by-step instructions on how to draw two favourite sidekicks and a page of notes and fun facts, this book is another light-hearted, playful, and fun read for young and old readers alike.

For those not yet in the know, DogMan is part dog, part man (read Book 1 to discover how that came about) and, in his role as a canine police detective, he’s 100% hero. Petey the Cat, Lil Petey, Molly, Chief and Nurse Lady are all back and ready to help DogMan fight crime and make the world a happier place.

The story opens with DogMan chaperoning a nervous Chief on his first date with the equally nervous Nurse Lady. While things don’t quite go to plan during their dinner, more worrisome evil happenings are afoot as Piggy works on a way to escape from Mini Jail and join his crew, the Fuzzy Little Evil Animal Squad (the FLEAS) as they enact their plan to destroy the city.

Naturally, the media hears about this and manages to ‘mix up’ the facts and blow everything out of proportion in the pursuit of a good story. This throws everyone into a panic as the read about the ‘twenty thousand fleas which  are emerging from under the sea’, making ready to invade … and that’s just the first half of the book. Phew!

The DogMan series was a spin-off from Dav Pilkey’s popular Captain Underpants series, and followed by the Cat Kid Comic Club series. While many may not class these books as ‘quality literature’, Pilkey, writing and illustrating the books as ‘George and Harold’, two Year 4 boys who are obsessed with comics, has managed to tap right into what kids love to read about, in a style that keeps them engaged and coming back for more. And, often, that’s what developing a love of reading is all about.

Designed for newly emerging, independent readers, aged 6–8, DogMan: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is full of puns, wordplay, action, and enough quirky and upbeat humour with something to tickle everyone’s fancy.

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