“Dog Man” book release to be celebrated in Danville with several events

Published 4:15 pm Thursday, March 14, 2024

Plaid Elephant Books has organized several community events on Tuesday, March 19 to celebrate the newest “Dog Man” book.

What would happen if you surgically combined a heroic cop and his loyal canine companion? You’d get a juggernaut graphic novel series beloved by millions of tweens around the world, apparently!

“Dog Man” by Dav Pilkey was published in 2016. If the author’s name sounds familiar, he is also the creative genius behind the “Captain Underpants” series of highly illustrated – and deeply silly – novels that are wildly popular with young readers. Throughout the Dog Man books, our canine cop hero fights assorted bad guys, chases squirrels, and works to bring peace and justice to his city.

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The 12th book in the series – “Dog Man: The Scarlet Shedder” – is set to release on Tuesday, March 19. Local independent bookstore Plaid Elephant Books has organized several events to celebrate the new book.

“It’s hard to overstate how popular this series is,” Plaid Elephant Owner Kate Snyder said.

There are over 60 million copies of the books in print, available in 45 languages. There is a stage adaptation, and a movie is in the works with a release date in 2025. In 2021, Pilkey’s “Dog Man: Mothering Heights” was the best-selling print book of the year.

“And that’s not just within kids books,” Snyder said.

“Mothering Heights” was the top seller of any printed book in 2021. When it came to kids books, Pilkey had 5 in the top 25 that year.

Plaid Elephant Books is partnering with Toliver Intermediate School and Junction City Elementary School to host book release parties for students on March 19. Families can pre-order the book via the Plaid Elephant Books website, allowing their students to pick up their copies at the parties, which will feature Dog Man trivia, games, and prizes. Plaid Elephant Books will donate 20% of the value of the books sold to the school libraries, helping them to expand their own collections.

The bookstore, located in downtown Danville, is also hosting a public event on March 19 at 4:30 p.m. The store event will feature an appearance by Dog Man himself, as Plaid Elephant Books was one of a handful of stores nationwide picked by the book’s publisher, Scholastic, to use the Dog Man mascot costume for their events.

“Getting that recognition from Scholastic was really affirming,” Snyder said. “Seeing that they were aware of our store and the work we’re doing in the community is awesome!”

While kids are all-in on the Dog Man phenomenon, Snyder acknowledges that parents sometimes take some convincing.

“There is still some hesitation by adult readers about the place of graphic novels in youth literacy,” Snyder said. “Some people are still not sure that graphic novels, with their highly visual content and sequential storytelling, ‘count’ as ‘real books.’ But that resistance is diminishing as parents and educators alike see and embrace the benefits of graphic novels, which tend to appeal to reluctant readers and can be a great springboard for children to develop a love of reading.”

“The content of many graphic novels is really complex,” Snyder added, noting that several graphic novels have even won prestigious Newbery Medals.

In a statement, author Dav Pilkey said: “Dog Man started out as a character I created when I was in second grade, but the series has evolved into a love letter to my parents. Looking back as a kid growing up with dyslexia and ADHD, my parents, who were my best advocates, let me choose whatever books I wanted to read—with no judgment. Their support and love was life-changing and helped me to become the reader, author, and illustrator that I am today.”

Snyder said she hopes that today’s young readers will be similarly inspired by the Dog Man series. “Kids are excited about this series, and I love anything that makes kids get excited about reading,” she said.


Event Details:

School events are being held at Toliver Intermediate School and Junction City Elementary School on Tuesday, March 19. Families can pre-order the book via the Plaid Elephant Books website at www.plaidelephantbooks.com/dogman. Families with students at John W. Bate Middle School can also pre-order books, which will be delivered to students at school on release day.

The public event will take place at 4:30pm at Plaid Elephant Books, located at 116 N. 3rd Street in downtown Danville. Families may also pre-order their books for that event, ensuring that they will receive indie-exclusive “extras” like a Dav Pilkey mini-comic and Dog Man temporary tattoos.