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By David Walliams
Reviewed by Margarite Igras
The author of such popular books as Spaceboy, World’s Worst Monsters and Bad Dad, David Williams has come up with another adventure-packed comic tale, humorously illustrated by Adam Stower, with a noisy overlay of sounds, exaggerated text and a variety of fonts.
The city of Bedlam is a bleak place with lots of scattered trash, rats, smog, and some of the dastardliest criminals the world has ever known, particularly Hammerhands and Mighty Mind. Oh, and of course, Velma, the evillest cat in the world. The police chief is at her wits end. Something needs to be done. Maybe a Police Dog School would stem the crime rate? At the fiasco of the first passing-out parade it is clear the dogs are not ready. In desperation she asks her wife, the boffin Professor, to create a super dog to replace the troublesome police dogs and take on the city supervillains. So Robodog is born (or made). His job is to become the future of crime fighting, maybe.
The 320p book is a romp into the comic world of good and evil, robots, mechanical creatures, and the world of dogs with their varied, and at times uncouth, but nevertheless lovable, behaviour. The three members of the Lost Patrol highlight how hopeless the dog recruits can be. The evil mechanical characters are breathtakingly nasty in action deed and illustration, as are the cats, capably lead by Velma.
The text presented in a lively variety of fonts combined with the illustrations, and the liberal use of onomatopoeia makes reading this book  fun and a treat to read out loud. The short chapters or episodes allow the reader to take a breath before continuing in this cartoon world of combat and action.
I love the double page dedication called Thank-yous, listing several dog-tags with the names of people to thank, from editor to art director and head of marketing.
For all the 8–11-year-olds who love books about villains and supervillains, humorously illustrated, with a carnival of fonts and sounds that jump from the pages and cannot prevent the reader from sniggering, smiling and even laughing out loud.
Harper Collins 2023
1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

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