Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Today's read... DnDoggos: Get the Party Started by Scout Underhill

 I'm just going to stay in the flow of dogs and humorous graphic novels and dive into today's read with a first in a brand new series for middle graders. This one heads into a roll-playing game plot (think Dungeons & Dragons) but should center around playing the game in reality as friends, too...and no, I'm not sure how that will work, but I'm definitely curious. The cover already gives the impression of energy and light-heartedness. So, let's see how it goes!

DnDoggos #1
by Scout Underhill
Illustrated by Liana Sposto
Feiwel & Friends
Middle Grade Animal Adventure  /  Graphic Novel 
272 pages
ages 8 to 12

FEBRUARY 27th!!!

Four adorable dogs are tail-waggingly excited to play their favorite role-playing game in Get the Party Started , the middle grade graphic novel debut from online comic creator Scout Underhill.

They've picked their characters and favorite dice, and are ready to set off on the adventure their game master Magnus has created for them.

Pickles, a rough and tumble fighter; Tonka, a playful and fun-loving bard; and Zoey, a wise and caring cleric, are given a quest to fetch a magical dog collar from a nearby swamp. But when they triumphantly return, they soon find that the collar isn't the only thing that has gone missing from Tail's Bend. All the squeaky toys in town have disappeared and Squish, the mayor's young son, has set off on his own to find them.

It's up to the Doggos to rescue Squish, track down the missing toys, and save the day!



Role-playing games get a new direction with plenty of snacks and doggy fun.

Four friends are ready to enter the adventure and show what they have: Pickles as the fighter, Tonka as the bard, Zoey as the cleric, and Magnus as the game master. With the proper dice in hand and Magnus' notes holding the dangers they'll face, they embark to complete their quests. But no quest is perfect without fitting snacks, surprise parties, and more than a little banter between friends. Still, they can't forget what's at stake, especially when every squeaky toy in town has disappeared...right along with a friend, who might be part of the imagination but that doesn't make the adventure less fun.

Fans of role-playing games will quickly recognize what's happening and easily sink into the situations and predicaments. Those, who aren't so familiar with Dungeons and Dragons and such, won't find themselves left too far behind. With a quick introduction of each of the four dogs and their roles, the story pulls right in with the first quest against a bog monster. Imagination and action hit but only for a few moments at a time. With surprising smoothness, the story flips back and forth between the imaginative game and the real-life (well, in so far that talking dogs sitting at a table playing a game can be considered real) as Magnus reads and explains what's happening, while the other three roll their dice or declare what actions they are about to take. At first, I thought this might be a bit jolting, but it not only works but makes it that much easier to like each of the friends, since their personalities really shine from several directions.

While the tale goes through adventures, action, silly moments, and more, tips to game play (explanations of dice, numbers, etc.) slide naturally into the flow, making the entire roll-play gaming thing a bit more understandable and accessible. There are also subtle messages surrounding sportsmanship as the four don't always agree on everything. Then, there's the addition of snacks...which probably doesn't hold an important message or point, but food is always a plus and adds a smile. 

The graphics bring both sides of the adventure to life and allow the interaction of the friends to come across nicely. There's a good balance between text and imagery, and each carries its part in the plot. The changes between tension and humor added change-up to keep things interesting, although one or two banters did stretch (maybe) a little long.

It's a fun beginning to a new series, and thanks to the imaginative end of the plot, leaves many doors wide open for the adventures to come. Plus, these four dogs are very fun and cute.

All about Scout...

Scout Underhill started DnDoggos as a webcomic in 2017 when they caught their dogs playing tabletop roleplaying games. Using their newly found internet celebrity status, Magnus and Pickles "encouraged" (demanded) Scout to make this book. Scout lives in the woods of Nashville, Tennessee with their dogs and found family. DnDoggos: Get The Party Started is their debut graphic novel.

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