Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild by Dav Pilkey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Half humanoid, half canine guardian of justice and humanity in league of his unforgettably formidable allies saves the city from evil villains set out to plague it in as much annoying way as fleas on a poor dog’s body. Hip, Hip, Hooray for Dog Man, our unlikely but likable hero that deserves of our heartfelt hoot and hollow. To contradict the usual glorification of hero-worshiping façade, Dog Man is none of your familiar super heroes in Marvel Comic Strips, nor is he like Batman, Superman, or even Iron man who seems to possess vulnerable human traits, and yet is equipped with wondrously technological gizmos or alien superpower. Contrariwise, Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man wonderfully embodies all things related to our unfavorable human tendencies that cloud our wondrous potential abilities – insecurity, disappointment, loneliness, and diffidence as deeply felt by Pilkey himself as a child diagnosed with Dyslexia and ADHD at school.
Pace the generalization of the book as being intent for children, this book is inclusive of literature, philosophy, and sociology contextualized in the story and delineated in the characters without gravitas of the academia. Take Dog Man, who finds himself estranged from his colleagues at his police station except his boss, Chief. Dog Man cannot talk for the reason because he’s a dog with a human body used to belong to his K-9 policeman killed in action. As the title “The Brawl of the Wild” adumbrates, Dog Man is in a way reminiscent of Buck, the sled dog in Jack London’s classic The Call of the Wild that comes to term with his fate and even reconciliation with a treacherous human in the person of Thornton. Then there are Petey, who is supposedly a sinister jailbird, but in fact softy inside, his cute young son Li’l Petey, who never gives up on his jail- bound father Petey in his joint collaboration with Dog Man in rescue operation of the city, and stern but benevolent Chief, who seems to defend Dog Man against unjust and unfair treatments from his fellow policeman/policewomen and the pompous judge. Wisecraking and heartwarming, hilarious and sentimental, intelligent and vivacious, each of the chapters is smoothly linked to the next one with amusing in-between intermissions that deserves of the separate theaters of appreciation.
The book is an enjoyable parade of laugh and compassion wrapped up in delightful amusement of vivid colors and elegantly profound dialogues, which can be made possible by an insightful and observant author who stands with the reader and sees hope and goodness mired in the despair of hopelessness and wickedness at the heart of humanity. I recommend this book to all who want to spend their time reading something jovial and funny after a long hard day or just to fill their minds and hearts with a fresh breath of air. This is a scintillating read that evokes a wide arc of thoughtfulness and imagination in the minds of readers both young and old, and the young at heart.