Captain Underpants…(it had to happen eventually)

Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets

Author:  Dav Pilkey

My big take-away:

“‘Never underestimate the power of underwear!” cried Captain Underpants, as he stretched and shot underwear into the waiting mouths of the talking toilets. (p. 75)

I read a lot of blogs that wax poetic about every book they review–that’s not my thing.  And I really have never been interested in reading any of the Captain Underpants books.  But my nephew left this book at my house, and I decided it was time to suck it up and read.  I was surprised, because it was pretty good.  George and Harold are properly mischevious, causing chaos at school that can (of course) only be solved by their own wacky ingenuity and their principal’s alter ego, Captain Underpants.  In this case, the kids implode the school’s “invention convention” and then bring about an army of talking toilets with one of the inventions.  Dav Pilkey makes all of the adults properly idiotic and draws a fantastic evil talking toilet.  The plot is solid, the characters are consistent (if flat), and the illustrations are often hilarious (my favorite is on page 72, but I won’t give spoilers).  My classroom library now has several volumes from this series, and I’m sure they’ll be read to the point of disintegration by third and fourth grade readers.  It comes in at a mid-4th grade reading level, but the illustrations give the story lots of support.

From the start of the story, Dav Pilkey makes it clear that he does not like teachers.  Not in the Roald Dahl-esque way–the dude clearly had bad school experiences, and he is advertising.  When I surfed through his website bio, more of the same.  Poor Dav was misunderstood and treated terribly by, apparently, every school employee he encountered K-12.  While I tend to look askance at this perspective, I can’t argue with the results of his life experiences, because his books are good.

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