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One of the best jokes on last night’s Girls involved Hannah’s therapist, played by guest star Bob Balaban, mentioning he had written a bestselling series of children’s books about a bionic dog.

Except it wasn’t a joke.

Balaban is best known as a character actor whose lengthy list of credits includes Catch-22, Altered States, Bob Roberts, Seinfeld, and several Christopher Guest movies. But Balaban has indeed also penned a wildly successful series of books about a pooch named McGrowl who is “bionic to the bone.” That series, which is published by Scholastic, includes 2002’s Beware of the Dog, the following year’s Every Dog Has His Day, and 2005’s Puppy Tales.

“I was attempting to develop a movie about a little girl and her bionic dog,” Balaban told Publishers Weekly last year. “I sent a treatment to Scholastic, because they had a media division. They told me they didn’t want to do a movie, but thought my idea would make a great book series. They asked me to change the girl to a boy and to make the dog a Golden Retriever. I did, and wrote six books in the McGrowl series, which sold about two million copies.”

Have you read any of Bob Balaban’s McGrowl books? Let us know.

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