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11) The Adventures of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey
12) Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets, by Dav Pilkey
13) Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space (and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds), by Dav Pilkey
14) Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants, by Dav Pilkey
15) Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman, by Dav Pilkey
16) Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 1: The Night of the Naughty Nostril Nuggets, by Dav Pilkey
17) Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 2: The Revenge of the Ridiculous Robo-Boogers, by Dav Pilkey
18) Captain Underpants and the Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People, by Dav Pilkey

Young F is a big fan of this series of books, so I worked through them myself over the course of this week. It did not take me long; none of the lavishly illustrated books is even 180 large type pages in length.

Our protagonists, George and Harold, accidentally transform their school's principal, Mr Krupp, into superhero Captain Underpants. This is fortunate, as their Ohio town is a bit of a focal point for invading aliens and deranged scientists, who tend to have a fixation with toilets and/or underwear and/or body fluids. George and Harold, and Captain Underpants, save the day, though the latest books end on cliff-hangers to lead into the next story.

The books are all pretty similar but quite funny, and I can see why F likes them. I wondered whether the time-travelling portable toilet in the last two books drew some inspiration from Doctor Who? More likely that it's second-hand inspiration via Bill and Ted, I suppose. Note on the Bechdel test, though: almost no female characters apart from members of the psychotic school staff and the odd - very odd - parent.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 14th, 2008 07:17 am (UTC)
My kids love these. I have never felt it necessary to read them. I have been helped in this regard by M's considerable facility for reading out loud -- she read many of them to J, saving me the trouble.
Nov. 14th, 2008 08:12 am (UTC)
I've been somewhat wary of Captain Underpants at first glance - perhaps I should read one, though, as this doesn't sound as bad as I feared. smallclanger is a great one for series where possible, and I think we're about to run out of Horrid Henrys...
Nov. 14th, 2008 08:24 am (UTC)
My son's a big fan too
"George and Harold were usually responsible boys. Whenever there was trouble, they were usually responsible..."
Nov. 14th, 2008 08:30 am (UTC)
Re: My son's a big fan too
Heh. Will it give a five year old too many 'creative' ideas? We're already having to explain some of his weirder behaviour at school... ;-)
Nov. 14th, 2008 10:26 am (UTC)
Re: My son's a big fan too
I think you're okay - unless your five year old can get his hands on a Hypno Ring. In which case, prepare for a lot of "Oh no!", "Here we go agaaaaaiiin!"

(There's a website here http://www.pilkey.com/ which will give you a flavour of the books)
Nov. 14th, 2008 08:44 am (UTC)
Slight correction:

George and Harold write a comic book in which they transform their school's principal etc.

The books are really quite complex in structure. Once they stopped wincing, my students got quite enthusiastic. One student handed them to her "not on any circumstances will I read" seven year old boy, and finally had to peel them away to get him to take some fresh air.
Nov. 14th, 2008 09:47 am (UTC)
You raise a good question about whether the action is "really" happening or whether it is all in the minds of George and Harold! I read it as the comic book (which they write) eerily presaging key aspects of the main action, which I interpret as taking place in the "reality" of Picqua, Ohio. But I think it is a matter for reasonable debate!
Nov. 14th, 2008 11:07 pm (UTC)
I'm with Nicholas on this; G&H write a comic book, which their principal confiscates and subsequently reads. They then hypnotise him into believing he is the protagonist of said comic, whereat he behaves accordingly. I haven't finished the series yet, but so far I haven't seen any suggestion that this is all in the minds of G&H. It is indeed a good question, but here's another: wouldn't that spoil it?

I read the first book to my group of 6-year-olds today; a big success with them, but I got a bit of a sore throat attempting Dr. Nappy's maniacal laugh.
Nov. 14th, 2008 04:22 pm (UTC)
The Captain Underpants series was very popular in our house too.
Nov. 14th, 2008 09:10 pm (UTC)
There is also a very strong strain of anti-authoritarianism in these texts that are delightful-- and a call to kids to do what they want to express themselves -- make their own comic books and such.

I love these books, and I love Dav Pilkey.

The books are specifically for boys (specifically for hyperactive boys). I don't find it odd that it's nearly all male characters.
Nov. 14th, 2008 09:36 pm (UTC)
I actually adore those books myself. I bought them for Connor when he was about seven, and we read them together. Of course, he thinks they're hilarious (and still re-reads them from time to time). The thing that surprised me, though, is that I, also, think they're completely hilarious. Then again, Connor and I laugh a lot at fart jokes, too. Which might explain it. :D

Dav Pilkey has some other great books, too, including "Kat Kong" and "Dogzilla," which star household pets (and mice) as the main characters.
Nov. 16th, 2008 08:12 pm (UTC)
If you're looking for books for a similar age range WHo novelist Stephen Cole has some young and new reader "SF" stories: Astrosaurs and Astrosaurs Academy (the dinosaurs weren't wiped out by a meteor, the clever ones built spaceships and left earth and their ancestors now live in a part of the Universe where herbivores and carnivores live in two sectors, the herbivore sector protected by the Astrosuars in the Dinosaur Space Service); and the time travelling Cows in Action series (Cows in Action, the CIA) where the cows design a time machine and travel through time to various crucial historical events. Laden with bad puns, and both having familiar and staple Sf plots - a nice introduction for young readers.

Some of the books are available now with CDs of Cole reading the stories. Having seen him in the summer with my son (who adores Astrosaurs and can't wait for the January release of the next in the series), he's an enthusiastic reader of his own stuff.

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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