Dog Man (Dog Man #1)
George and Harold have created a new hero who digs into deception, claws after crooks, and rolls over robbers. When Greg the police dog and his cop companion are injured on the job, a life-saving surgery changes the course of history, and Dog Man is born. With the head of a dog and the body of a human, this heroic hound has a real nose for justice. But can he resist the call of the wild to answer the call of duty?
While there isn't a whole lot of character development, there are sentient hot dogs. Can't have everything!
I need to contact Mr. Pilkey and ask if I may use his name in my term "The Pilkey Line". This term is useful when determining what books will be successful at the middle school level (like The Origami Yoda, which includes more awareness of social interaction, romance, and slightly more mature humor), and which will be more successful at the elementary level (Books like Spaceheadz, which are goofier, have more potty humor, and may not have as much of a coherent plot). The reason I use Pilkey's name in vain is that EVERYONE, regardless of age, likes his books, so he is the constant in the center; everything else falls on either a younger or older side of that line.
If you have a 4-14 year old boy for whom you need a gift, this is the go-to author. Buy it, and don't think about it too very hard! (And buy a paper copy-- Flip-o-Rama is not satisfactory in an e book version!)