Pilkey plays with words and pictures, providing great entertainment. The story is immediately engaging – two fourth-grade boys who write comic books and love to pull pranks find themselves in big trouble. Mean Mr. Krupp, their principal, videotapes George and Harold setting up their stunts and threatens to expose them. The boys’ luck changes when they send for a 3-D Hypno-Ring and hypnotize Krupp, turning him into Captain Underpants, their own superhero creation. Later, Pilkey includes several pages of flip-o-ramas that animate the action. The simple black-and-white illustrations on every page furnish comic-strip appeal. The cover features Captain Underpants, resplendent in white briefs, on top of a tall building. This book will fly off the shelves.
My daughter’s school had a Scholastic book fair, so I took my 4 year old son with me to look at books. He came running to me with a book and said, “Look mom, he’s wearing chonies (underwear) outside.” I asked if he wanted that book and of course, he said yes.
There are no higher moral values in this book. There is no educational value in the story. But it certainly is funny. And it got my reluctant reader so excited about reading that I purchased several more in the series along with the first in a couple of the other series.
My son’s favorite part of Captain Underpants was the comic strip. However, the book itself is not a comic strip or graphic novel. So I did a little research and found out that two of Pilkey’s other series are graphic novel-like- Super Diaper Baby and Ook and Gluk.
I heard that several people wanted Pilkey’s books removed from the school library due to the ‘potty’ nature of the book. Indeed the bad guy, an adult, wears a diaper. To a kid, that’s funny. To an adult, we’re probably thinking fetish. Okay, maybe it’s just me, but I can understand why some adults have a problem with this book. The kids disobey the principal, break all kinds of rules, hypnotize the principal who then believes he is Captain Underpants, etc. So there is a lot of bad behavior on the boys’ part. On the other hand, it’s fiction… at least we hope so. Anyway, I’m not too concerned about that. I did a lot of “Oh no, they’re not following the rules. Are they supposed to be breaking the rules?” and “Uh oh, that wasn’t a very nice thing to do. Are you supposed to do that?” If you’re reading it aloud with your child, I don’t really see the harm.
Bottom line, I thought the book was entertaining, and most importantly, so did my son. I definitely recommend The Adventures of Captain Underpants.
Reviewed by Christina
December 2, 2013