By Dav Pilkey
Scholastic, $9.99, 136 pages
Parents can tell that a book is a real hit when their kids actually put down their phones and video game controllers and read a story cover to cover. Here’s a tip: let elementary school-aged kids near a Captain Underpants book and you can be sure you’ll hear sounds of laughter and glee rather than electronic sounds made from techno gadgets.
If you are already familiar with the wacky work of Dav Pilkey, Caldecott Honor artist and creator of the beloved children’s book character Captain Underpants, then you know just how hilarious the series is and how much kids enjoy reading about his adventures. Sure, we’re talking about a superhero that wears underpants, but sometimes in order to pry reluctant readers away from those oh-so-tempting video games and convince them to crack open a book, it’s necessary to up the gross-out factor and increase the harmless, age-appropriate bathroom humor. Adults – don’t be surprised if you find yourself chuckling too!
Originally published in 1997, Pilkey’s first Captain Underpants book is new and improved – The Adventures of Captain Underpants: Now In Full Color. Meet George and Harold, fourth grade best pals with an attraction to trouble. When they’re not playing pranks and acting silly, the boys love to drawn their own comic books. Their all time greatest superhero creation is…The Amazing Captain Underpants! While other superheroes just look like they’re flying around in their underwear, their guy actually is!
Pilkey’s writing style is extremely reader friendly. Short chapters on brilliantly colored and illustrated pages mixed with a comic book style are a winning combination. The book features Flip-O-Rama! – a cheesy (but fun!) animation technique that allows anyone holding the book to animate the action. Find out about the true origins of Captain Underpants in this new edition. How and when did author and illustrator Dav Pilkey create such a wacky character? The truth may blow your underpants…I mean socks off.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin