2001's Buckeye Children's Book Award winner for grades 3-5 was The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey. While I have never read the Captain Underpants books before, I am well versed in Pilkey's picture books -- Dogzilla, Kat Kong, and Dragon were favorites of mine growing up.
The Adventures of Captain Underpants follows two 4th grade boys, George and Harold, as they prank everyone they know. But their best prank yet? Hypnotizing their principal into thinking he's a superhero named Captain Underpants! Things get a little tricky when Captain Underpants takes his job seriously and starts chasing after the bad guys -- and George and Harold know it's up to them to save him.
Just as you might think from reading the title, this book is full of potty humor. Many might look down upon this as unsophisticated, but remember who this is targeted for -- kids! Particularly boys, who tend to find potty humor hilarious at any age. I found myself laughing along several times (mostly at Dr. Diaper -- how can you not laugh at a villain with a name like that?) at how goofy the plot was. Pilkey's humor has always been a highlight in his books, and he didn't disappoint with this book.
I appreciated George and Harold's creativity as well, and I've seen many kids inspired to try creating their own comic books thanks to the trouble making duo's own comics in the book. The pair also has a really great friendship which added some unexpected heart to the story (although it was minimal).
I'm a huge fan of color pictures in chapter books, especially books geared toward elementary aged readers, so I'm very pleased to see these books reprinted in color recently.
My next book is another in the Captain Underpants series, so I'll be interested to see how things change for George and Harold and their unlucky principal! Jill, you have your own trouble maker to read about coming up...I'll enjoy comparing the humor of Captain Underpants with the humor of David Goes to School! Let the laugh fest begin!
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