When Dav Pilkey was a kid, he was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. Dav was so disruptive in class that his teachers made him sit out in the hallway every day. Luckily, Dav loved to draw and make up stories. He spent his time in the hallway creating his own original comic books--the very first adventures of Dog Man and Captain Underpants. In college, Dav met a teacher who encouraged him to illustrate and write. He won a national competition in 1986 and the prize was the publication of his first book, World War Won. He made many other books before being awarded the 1998 California Young Reader Medal for Dog Breath, which was published in 1994, and in 1997 he won the Caldecott Honor for The Paperboy. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, published in 2002, was the first complete graphic novel spin-off from the Captain Underpants series and appeared at #6 on the USA Today bestseller list for all books, both adult and children's, and was also a New York Times bestseller. It was followed by The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung Fu Cavemen from the Future and Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers, both USA Today bestsellers. The unconventional style of these graphic novels is intended to encourage uninhibited creativity in kids. His stories are semi-autobiographical and explore universal themes that celebrate friendship, tolerance, and the triumph of the good-hearted. Dav loves to kayak in the Pacific Northwest with his wife.
It could be said that Pilkey (Kat Kong; the Dragon books) never let a good story go unPUNished. From its open-mouthed mutt to its put-upon family to its climactic burglary scene, this latest entry might have been modeled on Susan Meddaugh's Martha Speaks. But Pilkey's silly tales forage unabashedly for lowbrow laughs, and his aim is usually accurate, even if adults more than kids will catch these halitosis jokes. Here, ``a dog named Hally, who lived with the Tosis family,'' emits green puffs of breath so toxic they knock Grandma Tosis out of her chair. When the Tosis parents put their putrid pet up for adoption, the Tosis kids try to save Hally: they bring her to a site with a ``breathtaking view''; to a movie (starring ``Perry O'Donnel and Giner Vitus'') said to leave audiences ``breathless''; and to a roller coaster so fast it makes riders lose their breath-to no avail. Yet a glimpse of a headline on a newspaper (called The Daily Foreshadow) and a wanted poster showing two robbers presage a happy ending: the villains visit the Tosis home and suffer the odiferous consequences. Pilkey's punchy art, characterized by heavy black outlines and bold colors, matches the clowning quality of the text (the copyright page, tellingly, lists Pilkey's preferred media as ``acrylics, watercolors, pencils, magic markers, and Dijon mustard''). Guaranteed to ward off smellancholy. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
PreS-Gr 2‘Corny jokes, plays on words, and garishly colored illustrations are Pilkey's stock-in-trade. This outrageous book continues the tradition. Hally is a fine, loving dog with horrible breath. Even skunks avoid her. When Mr. and Mrs. Tosis decide to give her away, their children try to cure the problem, but nothing works. Her days as the family pet are numbered‘until she licks the faces of two burglars. They pass out cold on the living-room floor, and Hally becomes a heroine. With clothespins on their noses, the family concludes that ``...life without Hally Tosis wouldn't make any scents.'' Two levels of humor coexist in this book, neither of them subtle. Children will laugh at pictures of people reeling from Hally's breath, while adults will groan over some of the more sophisticated puns. The simplified cartoon drawings in comic-book colors will attract many browsers. While this is a one-joke story, many children should find it funny.‘Nancy Seiner, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh