REVIEW of Pilkey, Dav. The Adventures of Captain Underpants. Scholastic, 1997. 120 p. $5.99 Paperback. 978-0-590-84628-8.
[VOYA codes:] 3Q 4P M
Middle-schoolers who want silly, laugh-out-loud reading choices will find what they’re looking for in Dav Pilkey’s first Captain Underpants title, and there are over a dozen more related Captain Underpants stories already published. They will find it almost impossible to stop reading this story about buddies George and Harold, their sassy pranks, slapstick wit, and the baldy briefs-clad superhero they create by hypnotizing their meanie school principal.
The mischievous, giggly reading fun is supported by short chapters, cartoony illustrations, ‘easy-to-get’ comedy, and a storyline that bounces through quick adventures with bank robbers, bad-guy robots, good-guy cops, and a victorious superhero who just might be getting out of control. Most readers will dash back to the library to borrow another Captain Underpants title to see what happens next.
There was some disappointment with the newsprint paper used to construct the paperback review copy; the fragility of the pages in the “Flip-O-Rama” sections made it difficult to grab and flip pages as directed for some “cheesy animation” fun. Also, some readers and adults in their lives might not be comfortable with the talk of “poop” and the like in this title, but the vocabulary used is not unheard of among young students.
This title demonstrates the power of humor and imaginative stories to entertain and to keep readers reading. It will engage almost any middle-schooler, even those struggling or reluctant to pick up a book. Class clowns will love it, and shy or reserved students may appreciate the chance to lighten up and have fun with literature.