August 05, 2003

Ricky Ricotta and his Mighty Robot, by Dav Pilkey

This is the first book in another series by Pilkey, who's also the author of the "Captain Underpants" series. While that series undeniably exploits underpants, diapers, and related matters for cheap laughs, it's also undeniably clever. The books aren't deep, but I didn't mind reading them to David.

This book is something else again. All it shares with the "Captain Underpants" is the cheap paper on which it's printed and the ridiculous Flip-O-Rama action pages. Each Flip-O-Rama chapter consists of four or five pairs of pages; each pair is supposed to be a cheesy kind of flipbook. That's right--a flip book which contains just two pages.

Here's the complete plot: Ricky Ricotta gets picked on by bullies. A mad scientist creates a giant robot, and sends it to destroy Mouseville. The robot balks, and runs away. Ricky meets the robot, which follows him home. His parents agree that the robot can stay, after the robot does some chores around the house. The next morning, the robot goes to school with Ricky, and scares the bullies into subservience. The mad scientist tries again to destroy the robot, but the robot wins. The end.

No doubt I'll be asked to read the further adventures of Ricky Ricotta, but I'm not looking forward to it. This book lacks the humor and cleverness I've come to expect from Pilkey, and the book seems to be written for a much lower reading level than the "Captain Underpants" books.

Posted by Will Duquette at August 5, 2003 06:57 PM