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MOTHERING HEIGHTS by Dav Pilkey Kirkus Star


From the Dog Man series, volume 10

by Dav Pilkey ; illustrated by Dav Pilkey

Pub Date: March 23rd, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-338-68045-4
Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

"Love is something eternal. It may change in aspect, but not in essence." Quoting Vincent Van Gogh in its epigraph, this latest adventure in the Dog Man saga ramps the previous installment’s love theme up to 11. From the nascent romance of Chief and Nurse Lady through the ever evolving familial bond between Petey and Li’l Petey to some begrudgingly partnered cats in crime, the story doles out the sap more gleefully than a maple tree in spring—but never at the expense of the action-packed shenanigans so characteristic of the series. The villains of the hour (a pair of evil, sentient, mobile sippy cups) are realized with gusto and panache, with almost a third of the book and a great deal of ensemble help devoted to the epic battle. Indeed, the series seems en route to becoming more of an ensemble affair as it progresses, an unexpected but not unwelcome development. True to form, Petey’s arc metes out a dose of sobering reality; the overbearing societal forces keeping him chained to the life of a criminal are played dramatically against the redemptive power of forgiveness and love. Striking color, interactive pages, drawing tutorials, and a plethora of laugh-out-loud moments all work to keep readers’ attention on a tight leash. Of especial note is the liberal use of increasingly bizarre onomatopoeia, several instances of which contain amusing pop-culture references. Human characters are diverse. Reaches great heights of humor—of course.  (Graphic adventure. 7-18)