Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Adventures of Captain Underpants

1997, possibly first edition, from Scholastic
Dav Pilkey
The Adventures of Captain Underpants
Original price $4.99, purchase price unknown
Very, very worn paperback

The first in the still ongoing series, this introduces not only the title character but his mentors/nemeses 4th-graders George and Harold.  (Kudos for Pilkey in making George black, but describing him as "the kid...with the tie and the flat-top.")  They are good-natured trouble-makers who, in addition to all their pranks, self-publish a comic book about the captain.  With a 3-D Hypno-Ring, they hypnotize their cruel school principal into thinking he's the captain, and yes, he strips down to his underpants.  Perhaps it's not surprising that this series was still among the most challenged/banned books in 2012.

Pilkey anticipates the controversy with his "Extremely Graphic Violence Chapter," an example of how, despite the "dumb humor," there's some cleverness.  (My favorite was all the spins on the "four-to-six-weeks" it takes for the ring to arrive.)  I wouldn't say this is a great children's book, and I probably most enjoyed Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants, mostly because that's the one with the "Name Change-o-Chart."  But this is certainly a book that's better than its title might suggest.

No comments:

Post a Comment