Dog Man is one of those series, that once you start actually reading with your kid, you don’t really understand how talented Dav Pilkey is. He takes some of the most famous books and transforms their story lines into these ridiculous but wonderful stories for kids. If you haven’t read “Mothering Heights” with your son and accidentally found yourself crying when you get to the part of Petey’s back story and his mother….well, you just have to. And you’ll quickly realize, that even though the books use lots of potty language, the books are so well done.
If you have a young child, chances are they have discovered the Dog Man series at their library or at school. And they love it. Both of my sons love the series and laugh out loud constantly while reading. I find them reading it alone as much as we read them as a group. My older son (8 at the time of writing this) has moved on from Dog Man, but when he was in the thick of loving the series, I found myself googling “books like Dog Man” because I wanted to keep his love of reading going!
And….to be honest, I was always disappointed in the lists that I would find. Dog Man is not like Bad Guys. It is not like Big Nate. It’s not like Captain Underpants even. All great series on their own – but while they are graphic novels with inappropriate jokes and hilarious and strange characters, they aren’t on the same level.
My youngest son (4.5 at the time of writing this) loves Dog Man. Like I said, he will “read” it alone (and by “read” I mean flip thru the book page by page and look at the pictures and enjoy the story). Bad Guys and Big Nate are more like actual chapter books – and not in color! And Captain Underpants has slightly more elevated themes that he’s not ready for.
So when I was looking for “books similar to Dog Man” – what I want, it turns out, is pretty specific!
- Hard cover
- Color images
- Funny and captivating stories
- Younger themes
- A book my kids can enjoy flipping thru on their own before they know how to read, the images tell a story
So after years of reading these type of books and some bit hits and some big misses – here is a list of graphic novels that your child will enjoy if they like Dog Man:
Quick note: for my family – these books were most enjoyed and consumed from the ages of 4-7. (check out my other post “so your kid has moved on from Dog Man, what’s next?” – this is a slightly older age range of awesome graphic novels):
Investigators – at the time of writing this there are 7 books in this series, and each of them is a wild, bizarre, silly ride. This book has more dialogue and text than the Dog Man series, but it has all the things that we were looking for. The two main characters are partners in this S.U.I.T organization (think Agents of SUIT but make it crocodiles) and they travel in toilets to get where they need to go – very silly. Their protagonist is a massive “Waffledile” (a waffle and crocodile combined, get it?!) and other bizarre characters. Kids will enjoy this series! These are a hit – but please note: since there is more dialogue, plan to read a few less pages/chapters than you do with the Dog Man or Cat Kid series.
Cat Kid Comic Books – Absolutely love this series. Dav Pilkey does it again. Every book is so well done, the comics by the little frogs are each so unique and teach your kids while they laugh. Little Petey and his friend Molly hold a comic club for their friends, little frogs. The frogs join up and each do a different style of comic — some are haikus with photography, others are claymation, others are pencil sketches, etc. It’s just fantastic the amount of variety it exposes your child to and there are lessons woven in that are heartwarming (and hysterically funny). Your child will love this series. Note: Read it together to help the younger kids understand that there different “books” are embedded in the larger story.
Cat Ninja – Who doesn’t love a crime fighting kitten, right!? My son first discovered these books on epic, a online learning platform that their school used in 1st grade. The books were read online only, but then a friend bought the books for him (note: these only come in soft cover – but they are full color), and it’s been great to have on our bookshelf. Fun adventures, easy to understand story lines, and fun pictures.
Kitten Construction Company – the same author and illustrator for Investigators created another fantastic series. This series follows a group of kittens, who manage to be wonderful at building. Who knew!? They interact in the real-world and humans don’t understand cat language – but instead think they are adorable little kittens who just happen to be around a lot of amazing construction projects that happen – ha! The characters are funny (you can give funny voices to the different construction cats — some of them are very New Jersey in my imagination) – and it’s an easy, fun read.
Max Meow, Cat Crusader – It has a super hero’s, fun stories, colorful graphics and multiple books in the series. This story is not as funny and ridiculous as Dog Man – but it’s still a pretty fun series for your child to enjoy. I did find the story line lackluster compared to the others on the list – so this was one series that was a library borrow only – not a purchase. Enjoyable – but for us, not an all-time favorite.
I hope you and your young readers find this list helpful. I went through a lot of trail and error with my sons to find books that really connect with them. Finding books that they love and enjoy will lead to a lifelong love of reading. And that makes me very happy!