WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
Lord of the Fleas by Dav Pilkey
Type: Children’s, Comic
Basic Plot: Petey is out of prison again to fetch his son, but not for the usual reason this time. This time there is new villain out to get revenge.
Plot: 3½/5 Average: While keeping and expanding on the same themes, this book stirs up new content by adding new characters and ideas that will hopefully make more appearances in the future. This book also focuses on backstory and on the “whys” of villains and change as opposed to just the “whats.”
Graphics: 3½/5 Average: While still having their juvenile charm, the graphics are smooth and well colored, with fun tutorials in the back.
Moral: 4/5 A Great Moral: The moral of the story was a dual moral. First, no matter how hard and unrewarding it may be. Petey the cat decides for once to do what’s right but finds at the end that he still has to go to prison for his past crimes, which is something I liked, as to often people who do wrong are unconditionally forgiven because they do a little thing right. His son encourages him though that regardless of the consequences, one must continue to do the right thing, saying in response to his father’s statement that the world is “cruel” that “that’s why we need to be good. Alone this is a great moral, but it is also laid along side with the recurring theme that a person who is bad can change to do good, a bad past being no true excuse to do wrong.
Overall: 3/5 Average: The Dogman series has really grown on me. It is admittedly repetitive and juvenile, but it also has surprisingly inspiring themes and character development, as well as unexpected and relatable humor. I would recommend this to children between the ages of six and twelve, especially little boys.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: ½/5 Light Potty Humor: A boy keeps making knock-knock jokes about things pooping and eventually writes a book about them.
Violence: 1/5 Cartoon Violence: Characters bite, kick, bang each others heads, and hit people with books. A robot uses a laser beam on another robot and crushes it. Dogman playfully jumps on a character.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Slight Mention: “Gee” is said once.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2½/5 Cartoon Drama and Discussion of Death: Characters think they will die and briefly discuss their thoughts and feelings on death, accepting it with a smile. A man mistakenly believes a character was swallowed. In what is later to be a child’s imagination, children are backed up by savage children and over an ocean of sharks. Sharks bite someones glasses. The intro explains where Dogman came from, showing that an explosion resulted in a dying man’s head being sewn onto a dying dog’s body. The stitches are shown on the dog throughout. A boy draws a scar on his face. Characters cry from happiness and fear of Dogman dying.
Religious Issues: ½/5 Brief Mention: “Luck” is briefly mentioned.
Magic: 0/5 None
Others: The title is based off of The Lord of the Flies, the book is mentioned by name, and some things from that book are mentioned or paralleled. Besides this Lord of the Rings is mentioned (and the quote “My precious” is said), and Mark Twain and Mother Teresa are quoted. A reference is made to the Batman movie The Dark Knight by calling Dogman The Bark Knight. “Weird Al Music” is mentioned.
Overall: 2/5 Child Appropriate: The book is fairly appropriate, especially for children six to eight and older, despite cartoon violence.