Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Don't be Afraid of... The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey, A Review

"Look up in the sky... It's a bird... It's a plane... It's a egg-salad sandwich." NO! It's just Captain Underpants on one of his amazing adventures courtesy of the mind of Dav Pilkey!

I read the first book in The Adventures of Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey for Banned Book Week. Yes, Captain Underpants has been challenged and Banned, even more so than Fifty Shades of Grey. Why? Well, probably for the same reasons young boys love reading this series. It's silly and fun, sprinkled with pranks by two young boys, George Beard and Harold Hutchins, and "the bad guy" is the adult, who actually becomes Captain Underpants with the help of a 3-D Hypno-Ring. Wow, did I just fit all that in one sentence?!

First off, why has this book geared towards 9 - 12 year olds been challenged? Offensive language? Well, the principal is called "that old guy" and "mean", but that's about the gist of it. And he is the bad guy after all. Violent? Well, the boys do defeat a couple of bad guy robots, with the appropriate warning before reading the chapter: "Warning: The following chapter contains graphic scenes showing two boys beating the tar out of a couple of robots.!" Lighten up book burners, this is just plain silly and a lot of fun. Not to mention that the two boys, one is black and one is white, show a positive inter-racial friendship.

What about the story? George and Harold are fourth graders who are kings of the practical joke. They sprinkle pepper in cheerleader pom-poms, pour bubble bath in the marching bands instruments, and they love switching the letters around on the Jerome Horwitz Elementary School sign to say silly things. They also are the creators of a comic book called The Adventures of Captain Underpants that they share with all their friends. Why Captain Underpants? Well don't most superheroes look like they're in their underpants?! Principal Krupp hated the boys for all their pranks and silliness, but could never catch them in the act... until one day... With the evidence in hand, Mr. Krupp blackmails the boys to be his slaves (I don't want to ruin the story and tell you what they did and how they were caught), and to be the best students in school. Growing tired of all that, the boys devise a plan to get the evidence back. It involves th 3-D Hypno-Ring, which inadvertently turns mean old Mr. Krupp into, yup you guessed it, the real Captain Underpants! That's where the adventure starts and has bad guys, robots, a machine to end the world and fake dog doo doo. There's even "flip book" pages to create live action pages. All just a bunch of fun.

I've read a lot of positive reviews on this one, and seems safe to say, it's a winner. Do we want to encourage young boys to be pranksters? No. Do we want them to disrespect our Principals? No. We want young boys to read, and that's what The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey is all about- reading! The Captain Underpants books are chapter books with great illustrations, and each book is a separate adventure.

No kids here, but I enjoyed this chapter book all the same. I might even read a few more of them, there are 9 more Captain Underpants adventures to enjoy after all!

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