Welcome to our Banned Books feature where this month Beth and I have read The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey. This month marks the 2 year anniversary of this feature! How exciting!
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.
The Adventures Of Captain Underpants (Captain Underpants #1) by Dav Pilkey
First published: 2000
In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2013 (source)
Reasons: offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?
BETH: No way! In no shape or form! Not only because of the relatively recent publishing date (2000) but because of the frankly stupid reasons that are given for it being challenged. I’ve just finished this entertaining book for younger readers and am struggling to remember where exactly the offensive language was and as for the “violence,” it’s all portrayed in the best possible way, in the form of a superhero who fights back against the bad guys. For goodness sake, kids see worse than that in children’s television cartoons!
CHRISSI: Not at all. Yes there’s some fighting but it’s no worse to what children see on TV, As for offensive language? Really??? I was trying to think of what I wouldn’t feel comfortable reading to my class and there was absolutely nothing that I could see. Roald Dahl used ruder sayings than Dav Pilkey and I’ve used his work all year. It’s absolutely ridiculous!
How about now?
BETH: Again, see previous answer! This is a really fun read that had me chuckling at many points and is a book that I think children will just love. Amongst the text are some great illustrations and I really enjoyed the parts near the end where by swiping back and forward on my Kindle I could make a cartoon come almost to life. I took a picture of the page just before the book begins – perhaps this is the reason why it may be challenged? 😊
CHRISSI: I really don’t get why this book was banned. Perhaps someone can enlighten me? I know I’d read it to children. They’d love it. I honestly can’t think of a single reason why it would be banned.
What did you think of this book?:
BETH: It was great! The humour throughout is fantastic and I loved the characters of Harold and George, two small boys who love playing pranks and designing their own superhero in the form of Captain Underpants. It had everything going for it including an exciting plot with some very mild peril and a very happy ending. Brilliant children’s book!
CHRISSI: It was so much fun. It didn’t take me long to read at all and it had me smiling throughout. I loved our main characters and the trouble they got up to. I’d love to read it to my class.
Would you recommend it?:
BETH: But of course!
CHRISSI: Of course!