April 23, 2003

Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets, by Dav Pilkey

This book, being "The Second Epic Novel" about Captain Underpants, arrived in my home, along with four or five others, whilst I was in Australia. I want this to be perfectly clear--my sister is responsible, not me. Jane read "The First Epic Novel", The Adventures of Captain Underpants, to David while I was gone; I got to read him the concluding chapters of the second volume on my return.

The series is really about two boys who can't sit still in class--the kind who are clever, easily bored, and always able to make their own fun. In the first book, so I gather, they write a comic book about a character named Captain Underpants--the first superhero to wear jockey shorts instead of longjohns. He has "wedgie power". Along the way, they hypnotize the school principle, Mr. Krupp, into thinking that he's Captain Underpants. When anyone snaps their fingers, Mr. Krupp will divest himself of his outer clothes and his hair piece, and rush off to fight evil wearing only his underpants and a cape.

In this volume, our heroes use an old copier revamped as a Science Fair exhibit to try to make copies of their latest comic book. To their dismay, the evil beings therein (the Talking Toilets) come to life and ravage the school, eating all of the students and faculty (including the delightfully named Miss Anthrope, Ms. Ribble, and Mr. Meaner). They save the day by feeding the toilets the food from the school cafeteria.

The book is clear aimed at the beginning reader. Above all, it's short. The book is short, the chapters are short, and the pages are short. The writing is breezy and fast-paced, and Dav Pilkey undeniably has a lock on what small boys find amusing, and he manages to (mildly) entertain the adult reader as well.

Which is just as well, as I've got several more of these in my future--both David and James were in stitches.

Posted by Will Duquette at April 23, 2003 04:47 PM